Soul Saving Yard Sale
From January 2007 to December 2011 there were more than four million completed foreclosures and more than 8.2 million foreclosure starts*
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 11.8 million Americans are currently unemployed — and of those counted as unemployed, 4.3 million were long-term unemployed (they were jobless for longer than 6 months) —- meaning that, according to the BLS, the great majority of the unemployed in the U-3 rate (the balance of 7.5 million out of 11.8 million) had lost their jobs only recently in 2013.**
These statistics, I promise are not meant to scare anyone, they’re meant to give context, show none of us are alone and hopefully if you are in a similar situation (like me, where both statistics are applicable), it will help you to find a way to release the fear (with the help of a professional), strap on a cape, and be your own hero in your story.
When I was in surgical device sales, I’m not sure that friends and family outside the industry really knew what I did. They would joke I was ridiculously well paid and envious I got to wear PJ’s (scrubs to work).
One of my very good friends (reason, season or lifetime (she’s a lifetimer) was kind enough (again) to get me a free room for a trip to Vegas (I swear not all my stories involve Vegas-but go with it for a minute on this one). This was a trip where I was merging two worlds, the guys I worked with, who were like brothers, and some of my good girlfriends.
I was checking into Caesar’s Palace with the girls, the guys were arriving later. I negotiated our free standard room up to the Rain Man Suite (two deluxe suites on the top floor, another room on the bottom, with a kitchen area and a butler, Frank), all for $100 a night.
My girlfriends were amazed, and asked how I did it. I was confused, then it hit me, they had no idea that I negotiated…for a living. When I break it down it will seem far less impressive. I took into account, it was January (slow time after New Year’s), asked what capacity the hotel was at (only 30%), when the registration clerk offered a free upgrade, I knew if we kicked in more we would get an outstanding upgrade. Knowing the right questions to ask and applying that information to any situation makes a good negotiator.
I told the guys I got our room upgraded but didn’t specify how upgraded. Ryan was the first to arrive, and was silent for what seemed like twenty minutes. Without a word, he walked through the double doors and saw floor to ceiling 20 feet windows that exposed the entire Vegas Strip and walked the marble stair case that led to the second floor, (Ryan was known for his long pensive phone pauses-which often caused people to hang up because they thought they were disconnected), but this was different. He finally broke the silence and said I was the only one he knew who could negotiate this well. It was flattering but it was false.
It apparently impressed my friends, which I guess was nice, but I was slightly disappointed they didn’t know me very well. At work, again in a male dominated field it was important for me to try and establish some level of respect, and I didn’t achieve that until I bought a Maserati. That certainly quieted the doubters. I definitely noticed a pattern during this time, the more things I bought, either to try and gain respect or did impress, the less fulfilled I felt. These things weren’t helping people understand who I was.
After my public beheading (termination), thankfully, I was still able to work with an amazing therapist to help me process what I had been through and what I was about to go through. There is no pity for me on the next part. Remember the statistics above, many people lost their jobs and their homes, and I am just one story out of millions.
It wasn’t until I lost my second job (to supposed down-sizing, yet almost everyone let go was brought back with the exception of myself). Recruiters who had called me for ten years were no longer calling. During this soul searching work with a therapist, I began to realize that I didn’t want to be at the mercy of my paycheck and dependent upon the whim of a corrupt company or corrupt management.
256 hours of therapy (so not a light decision), I discovered, I wanted to write a book about trying to fix a corrupt industry (and my former industry was ripe with case studies), create my own ethical company around a new business model and teach other companies how to be profitable and ethical, it did not have to be a choice.
My career, conservatively was worth over $10 million and I have systematically given up or sold anything of value over the last three years sustain to life (lemons) and make this dream and passion become a reality (lemon-aide). Go with me on this next part (remember no pity or disdain just context).
Goodbye Maserati (and I worked Bitch)-Please note the 117 in the picture is the temperature and not the time. And the date is 6.27.2012
Goodbye beautiful home I was leasing in a guard gated community, I’m typing this from my parent’s guest bedroom, about to turn 42 in two weeks,not exactly a fairy tale. (My parents are amazing and I know life would be nothing without their love and support).
Breitling watch, 4 Chanel handbags, Hermes purse, Two pairs of diamond earrings, diamond pendant (I bought myself when I graduated college) well over $400,000 of designer clothing and shoes (which sold for pennies on the dollar-the same for a house full of custom furniture).***
Let’s reserve judgment for just a minute, yes, I liked to spend and on things maybe you would not, this I recognize; but, let’s keep in mind I earned every penny I spent. Will I do things differently in the future? Yes, and here’s why.
With each thing I sold I felt my soul coming back, it was supposed to feel sad (from what everyone was telling me) but, all of these things were used to prove something to someone else, to try and gain respect; and, not until I got rid of everything others ‘respected’ did I begin to truly respect myself. For so long in my industry I was belittled, berated, made to feel less, threatened, and eventually terminated for standing up for what I knew I always believed in, the truth and myself. They did a good job of trying to make me forget that, and I’m not sure I would have remembered or have found the strength without the love of my parents/family and the knowledge of a professional therapist.
This isn’t to say I won’t have nice things or dress well in the future, but I will be doing it for me, and not to prove anything to anyone else. I was successful before and will be again. Working with a professional therapist allowed me to see the thing I feared the most (the loss of stuff) was really what was holding me back. I no longer have fear, of anything. For me, I was pushed from a very high place, fell ungracefully and hit the bottom with a resounding thud! If you’ve ever been unemployed, wrongfully terminated, worked for an organization or boss with sociopathic tendencies, regardless of socioeconomic demographics and political affiliation, these events very uniquely bonds of us all and it becomes ‘our’ story and not just my story. Refusing to be viewed as victims or martyrs we should see ourselves as survivors. Grab your cape, we’re about to get started!