April's "new" office, with green wallsI’m sitting in my freshly painted and de-cluttered office, after spending the last two days in home-improvement-frenzy mode. And you know what? It feels like freedom.

Let me explain.

If you know me in real life, you probably know that I was recently laid off from a company where I worked for 10 years. I know, I know… 10 years is a long time. But—here’s the important part—I was still having fun (and getting results). I rewrote my job description several times over the years. Internal communication? Market research? Digital marketing? I can do that. And that. And that.

But sometimes, even reinventing your position and honing your skills to stay relevant isn’t enough. Nor is doing more “more” with less than anyone should expect. It’s not you (or me, in this case). It’s just business.

The day I received my notice, a couple thousand of my colleagues in the company’s federal business unit did too. (Thank you sequestration.) Someone I’ve never met called me to break the news; I was chosen because my department was what an outside consulting firm considered to be extra overhead. (Yet another reason you should make communicating your value a priority in a one-person shop, but even that won’t protect you from the Bobs.)

Of course, I was disappointed that I didn’t leave on my terms, but I’m choosing to view this as an opportunity to figure out my next adventure. Several months earlier, I realized that though I was having fun and dearly loved my job and coworkers, it was time to move on. Which, of course, is easier said than done … particularly if you don’t quite know what’s next.

Most days I wish I had nine lives, so I could choose a new adventure each time. Maybe next time I’d be a nutritionist. Geologist. Chef. Novelist. Ancient astronaut theorist. (OK, maybe not that last one … but the show is entertaining.) For now, I’m looking for a way to combine things I’m passionate about—healthy food, wellness, fitness, public health, business writing that sounds human—with the skills I’ve built in my 15+ years in communications.

Maybe that’s creating my own path as a contract worker, or maybe it’s with a great organization that’s already doing those things. I’m optimistic that my next grand adventure is just around the corner. For today, I’m going to go make it happen.

p.s. At every life science networking event I’ve been to, nearly everyone I talk to says, “Oh, that happened to me,” and some more than once—it’s a fact of life in corporate America and start-ups alike. These are smart people in the prime of their careers, and most have moved on to better things. Have you? I’d love to hear your story.

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