Today is the beginning of a brand new chapter – not because it’s Monday or because both of my kids colored all over the wall for the first time this morning (ugh, kids) but because I am officially on the job market for the first time since embarking on my professional career nine years ago. And while I could be bitter that the company I moved to Omaha for six years ago decided to close its doors and embark on a new startup adventure that isn’t taking off like we’d hoped and is now unable to pay anyone’s salaries — in turn forcing me to choose between taking my salary and moving on or taking on shares of the company in place of my salary and staying — I’m choosing to look at this as the end of an era and the first day of a brand new chapter.
I got the phone call with the ultimatum on our way up to Chicago late last Thursday afternoon – we were going for a wedding. I was anticipating some sort of news because startups are small and word of things can get around but I wasn’t fully anticipating being told I wouldn’t be getting paid the next day (as expected) or for the next month (and maybe more) if I chose to stay with the company. And I was never expecting to be told that if I chose to get paid (for the two weeks I had just worked), I’d be expected to move on from the company. I sat calmly on the phone while Seth maneuvered us through a torrential downpour. The rain pounded on the car and at times I had to plug my ear just to hear what I was being told. The phone call was quick and casual. I was given until Monday morning to decide.
When I hung up the phone, the last thing I wanted to do was tell Seth but he anxiously prodded for information. When I finally gave in and replayed our conversation, his face literally turned red and — as I expected — he was fuming. For the next 45 minutes, we discussed and debated about everything – our options, our feelings, our future and when it all became too much we decided to enjoy the weekend and revisit the conversation on Sunday.
The weekend was fabulous. We spent it with old college friends of mine, celebrating new love and reliving memories (Seth had the privilege of becoming privvy to even more really proud college moments of mine which is always a blessing). There was a brand new baby bump to greet and celebrate, there were parenting tales to swap, fiercely polished independant girlfriends to envy, kid-free friends’ travel plans to drool over and lots and lots things in between. It was the perfect distraction. Reminiscing about boys who had broken our hearts or nights that we wished would never end – even the nights only some of us could remember; sitting at the wedding of our friend listening to her dad remind us how incredibly lucky we were to know her; taking 700 group photos because who knew when we’d all be together again; drinking too many fancy drinks and dancing like it was 2003; staying out past our now disturbingly-early bedtimes – these are the distractions the weekend was made of. And in between these perfect distractions was a subtle reminder that, wish as we may, things sometimes things just have to change and eventually everything will run its course. Slowly but surely, my mind was made up.
Sunday morning Seth and I woke up early to start our road trip back home. As I waited for him to get around, tears filled my eyes. Goodbyes are always hard but this one felt more purposeful. I was leaving Chicago with an overflowing heart and heading home to prepare for another goodbye. Seth, not sure what to say or what I had decided, reassured me it would be okay. I thought about how much had changed since I had moved to Omaha and how much I had grown up. Six years is a long time. I had made great friends, met some great people, gained a lot of experience, had a lot of fun, had two babies and gotten married while working at this company and these tears weren’t tears of dread or fear of uncertainty – they were simply about putting a period at the end of a chapter I have fondly — as of today — titled, Omaha (which, yes, I also can’t say without hearing Peyton Manning yelling in my ear).
The next chapter, who’s interim title will probably be Unemployment WTF, is off to a mild start. So far day one has involved an indoor wall colored with sidewalk chalk, Matty telling me my ‘pony’ aka ponytail is not allowed in the car demanding me to ‘take it off’, resumé polishes, chips and salsa and only a few tears (mostly about how much I love people – which, I know, is weird – maybe I’m legit losing my mind?). This afternoon will hopefully include an afternoon hike (because that’s what Hilary would do – and, well, it’s niceish outside) and maybe some kick boxing (but more likely Game of Thrones and more chips and salsa – I mean, it’s only day one, you guys). Who knows, maybe today will finally be the day I get around to writing Dish Network a letter about how they need to get their shit together with ABC because I haven’t seen a new episode of Ellen in two months and I can’t think of anyone I need more of in my life right now. Maybe I should also write Ellen a letter…? Eh, maybe I’ll save that for day two. There are dishes in the sink.
Oh, and happy Monday.