When Life Takes a Whole New Turn

Written by Mary Sukalich

As a recent college graduate, I felt a little lost and confused as to what I wanted to do with my life. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to work, or even what I wanted to do. After applying for jobs for months, I finally got a call about a potential position. When I arrived for the interview I was super nervous as I sat in the waiting room, wondering what the interview process was going to be like, since it was a Fortune 500 company. The interviewers were pretty laid back, which made me feel more comfortable and made me feel like the interview went well. The next day I got a call, I got the job!

The first day of training I was nervous, but excited to start this new chapter of my life. Learning the material and getting on the phones was very different. After being yelled at, sworn at, and even hung up on, I wasn’t sure if it was right for me, but I was still determined to do my best. The calls at work were graded, based on how long we were on the phone and if we followed the script. It took me a month before I got the hang of things, and soon it was my goal to get 100% on every call. This turned out to be a nerve-wracking experience because the call was chosen on a random basis, but I was motivated to do my best. It turned out I knew what I was doing, and was even chosen for a program because I was the top scoring overall in my department. My hard work paid off!

November 7 is when I got the news. We came to work like it was a normal day and went on the phones. All of the managers informed us of a mandatory meeting for the whole department at 11:00 AM. Of course, this started gossip around the office as to what this meeting was about. There were prior layoffs the months before in our department and other departments, but this couldn’t be it. I mean the president of our department told us we were all safe, so we all thought it had to be something else. Well, he was wrong. We had to sign in on a sheet by our name so they knew we were there, and luckily I had my friends in the department near me once we sat down because I did not know what to expect, and I was not sure I could handle it. It was all a strange process to me because eight months earlier I started this job. I was planning on moving to a different position after I was there for a year and continuing on with the company.

Someone from human resources came up to the podium and gave us the news, we had 90 days to find another job. They told us there were positions in other departments and they would try to help us find jobs, but we were pretty much on our own after that. I ended up taking the next day off to try and understand it all because it really did not hit me, the whole department, in multiple states, was closing and we would no longer have jobs. I had school loan payments, a car payment, and I just quit my other part-time job not even a month before this all happened. How was I going to make this work?

I learned a lot from that experience and more about corporate America. Those 90 days were some of the hardest and most stressful times of my life because at that moment my life became very unclear. I soon realized that it was best for me to return to school so that I could help myself as well as my family, who were needing extra hands around the house. It is always important to have a backup plan or other options available because you never know what life will throw at you. I should have been more aware of what was happening at work and the factors that could affect my job, but ultimately that job helped me learn a lot about myself and what I want to do, or not do.

Life is one big roller coaster, and having the strength, determination and support of my family helped me get through those times. I feel that things in life happen for a reason and it is there to teach us a lesson. Well, I learned a big lesson: I can’t let things get me down; I need to get back up and take control of my life, and I did.

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