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I recently spent an evening with ‘Sally’ who is a friend of the family. She is a remarkable single parent who has nurtured four female girls to take their places in the world. She had always excelled in school earning : a Masters in Social Work along with her Doctorate in Psychology and a Masters in Business Administration.

She started her career in Social work in private practice working with children who had been abused by their parents. Fifteen years into the private practice Sally decided to opt for a career with a large corporation in Human Resources in the United States. Head hunting for large financial institutions along with helping the companies downsize in the midst of the economic downturn was challenging.

Travel away from home three days a week was an integral part of the plan. No time to work out at the gym played havoc : her health suffered as a result of the pressure to terminate the employees.

The financial reward for the many hours of work helped her girls to attend university and pay the mortgage on their apartment. The financial rewards were like unto ‘golden handcuffs’ that tied her to her desk spending sixty hours a week with her career.

Last month she was paid a visit by the company security officer who showed Sally a copy of her termination letter of employment. The firm was downsizing the downsizer.

Sally was directed to pick up her personal belongings and leave the building forthwith. No time to say good-bye to her friends and colleagues with whom she had enjoyed working with for many years.

There was a severance checque for her time of service along with her holiday pay. Her boss was conveniently unavailable: away for an extended long week-end with his family at the cottage. So long it’s been good to know you. We’ve got to be moving along could have been the musical refrain.

Sally had worked so hard to be successful never ever contemplating that she too could be let go to better the bottom line to make more profits for the shareholders.

Sally was left to pick up the pieces of her life and sort out, Well who am I then? Because I thought that’s what I was, and I’m not that at all. Or that’s not my life any more and how do I move forward from there. What was was and the reality of what was is is hits you in the face like a derailing freight train tearing all normality in your life.

Upon returning home I emailed Sally a copy of the story of the Trapeze. It helps capture the paradox of the pain and hope of change and living in between the old and the new. Most of the time you are hanging on for dear life. For the moment you are in control of your self and then the life line shatters and you are set adrift into the unknown. You are filled with terror to make necessary changes in your life: to pick yourself up and start all over again.

In the past you have always been successful but now with youth fleeting you tend to doubt that you can again start all over again with a new career direction. This moment in time is called transition. It is the only time that real learning and change occurs.

Sally’s termination has given her the time to enjoy the freedom to explore a new career/life style direction. A better view of where she has been, where she is now and where does she wish to go in the future frees her to think about possible alternatives.

She has revised her resume/business cards and created a great web site and is now very busy in private practice consulting. She has her health and the love of her family and with God’s will she is back on her feet again with a new positive direction and focus.

Sound familiar? Please feel free to drop me an email.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com