There is a lie that everything in life for professionals is perpetually peachy. The truth is that sometimes events befall us unexpectedly. Not events like getting drunk and waking up on the train at the wrong station in the middle of the night. I mean proper sit up and smell the coffee moments.
Most recently, being made redundant from my role as marketing director of a huge brand has been an earth-shaking moment for me and my family.
In 25 years, I have never not had a day of paid work. As a marketing director I lived permanently in the eye of the storm dealing with crises and eye-watering commercial challenges daily.
Boom. It’s gone.
Like an astronaut stranded in space, cut off from my spaceship, now there is only silence; a huge void that used to be filled with team meetings, performance reviews, creative appraisals, development conversations and strategy refreshes.
I miss people standing at my door asking my advice, valuing my opinion and seeking my experience.
The Greek philosopher Epictetus wrote: “Who then is invincible?” His answer is apt: “The one who cannot be upset by anything outside their reasoned choice.”
Despite the emotional rollercoaster of the past few weeks, I remain proud of how I handled the meeting where I learned my job had gone to Covid.
The meeting itself was dull, a bit insensitive and awkward. Raging inside, I could have let rip. But I found in myself a sense of invincibility. While I could not be in control of the events and short-sighted decisions being made by the fearful few, I could control my own mind and how I acted. Something to draw strength from.
Should you find yourself in a similar situation in the coming weeks and months, try not to despair. All we can do when facing a personal crisis is use our ‘reasoned choice’ before we act. Maintaining our poise, humour and dignity demonstrates the loss the organisation will have when we leave.