Happy January 13th! Guess what’s special about today?

Today, three years ago, was the last day at the company that laid me off.  It was Friday the 13th, 2006.

I found out on Monday that I was going to be terminated.  I got a severance, nothing near what many get but the company thought it was pretty generous.

I was asked to stay on during the week to transition the new guy in, who I had actually replaced just 18 months earlier.  It’s an awkward experience to transition somebody in, especially if they already know pretty much everything about the products, clients, finances, etc.  The guy was a 40% owner, and had been very actively involved even after he left the company 18 months earlier.

Mostly I spent the first two or three days looking for my last resume, which was about six years old.  It was nowhere to be found, so I went online and downloaded a few templates to use.  Finally I decided to use my dad’s resume which he had paid to have done.  It was fancy with a lot of impressive words on it (this proved to be a mistake in an interview I had later).

I also called to find out about unemployment, which I learned I should apply for right away, but it wouldn’t pay out until my severance ran out.  I was sure I’d have another job by then.  I half-heartedly applied for unemployment.  Yeah, it was a humiliating thing to do.  I had spent too much time and money building my resume to have to go to the government for piddly help.

I spent time calling my university to find out the exact dates I graduated (I have an undergrad and a graduate degree from the same school), and what the exact names of the degrees where.  I didn’t want to get in trouble for resume fraud, which was a hot topic in the news at the time.

I was anxious to get my resume polished so I could do the most effective thing possible: post it on job boards.  I was sure once it went on job boards the calls would come in.  This would be my (failed) silver-bullet strategy.

I was scared, relieved, excited, embarrassed, hopeful and anxious.  Probably a few more emotions, too.

Looking back now, I should have been grateful for getting laid-off.  Even now, three years later, I’m not quite ready to go back and thank the people who kicked me in the teeth, er, laid me off.

Maybe next year.

15 thoughts on “Happy January 13th! Guess what’s special about today?”

  1. Jason, I’ve said it before that my life changed due to being let go in 1987 and I would never go back. No matter whether you are in the corporate world or choose to take your chances on being an entrepreneur, if you stay open to new opportunities and challenges, a lay off can be a blessing in disguise! What you have done in three years is nothing short of amazing! Author, speaker, blogger, instructor, encourager of multitudes, and developer of JibberJobber just off the top of my head. Your lay off was YOUR blessing in disguise!

  2. Getting fired in 2001 was the best thing that happened to me. It took me years to fully accept it, mostly I think due to all the awkwardness that comes with it. When it happened again last year, I was prepared and well-armed thanks to all of the excellent career management advice in this blog.

    Congratulations on your success.

  3. Jason,
    Isn’t it funny how even the bad things that happen to us are as much – or even more – responsible for the good things that come after. Happy anniversary!

  4. Congratulations. You’ve done something very unusual and commendable; as an added feature, as people pointed out above, you’ve created something that benefits others, something I know you must be very proud and happy with. By definition, only a small fraction of people create a whole new option as you have, but you’ve certainly shown that it can be done.

    Incidentally, no one should feel ashamed of signing up for unemployment benefits; this is something you’ve actually already paid for as a worker, like health coverage or a retirement plan. It’s a benefit. Seize it! 🙂

  5. The older I get, the more I understand, we’re doing exactly what we’re supposed to be doing, to learn what we’ll need to know, so we can go on to the next big thing. It’s difficult to remember that you’re in the midst of turmoil, but look what you’ve done in three short years. In your wildest dreams did you see this level of entrepreneural success on the day they walked you to the door?

    Leave the “kickin'” to Karma. Your energies are better spent like they have been — helping others get through what you survived. “Everything happens for a reason” is sooooo cliche, but everything does happen for a reason. The thousands and thousands of professionals you’ve helped along the way are grateful for that unexpected bump in your career path.

    As Julie said, if we stay open to opportunity, difficult things can really be a blessing in disguise.

    Congratulations Jason! On both the layoff that drove JibberJobber’s launch and your success with it.

  6. Jason, I just started reading your blog today. Thanks for all the great tips. I’m in the process of getting let go myself and after some initial anxiety I’m actually getting excited for the prospects that lie ahead. I’m starting to realize that “what am I going to do now?” is a phrase full of opportunity.

    I’m looking forward to reading more from you and celebrating my anniversary next year!

  7. Your friends and family are celebrating the number of years Jibber Jobber has existed and been proven to help you and others to grow! We also celebrate the success that you have had with your books, speaking engagements, news articles and other networking opportunities. Thanks for paving the way. You are one of the original YES I CAN people who says AND YOU CAN TOO. So I won’t celebrate this anniversary as much as the other ones that came from it. 🙂

  8. Jan. 13, 1942: Ejection Seat Works, Pilot Elated
    from Wired Top Stories by Tony Long

    1942: At the height of World War II, German test pilot Helmut Schenck becomes the first person known to use an ejection seat to successfully exit his aircraft in an emergency situation.

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