Deana Caraballo – Never thought it would happen to me….

After almost 30 years in the business process outsourcing business, I was told just days before my 15 year anniversary that my position was being eliminated. There were other times in my career that I thought it could be the case but not then… However, unbeknownst to me, the company was up for sale and overhead was being cut. I didn’t find this out until 6 – 9 months later.

At the time, the range of emotions I felt ran the gamut—devastation, pissed, worthless, the scarlet “RIF,” sad, lost, shock…you name it. These feelings lasted a long time in varying degrees. That being said, my former employer did treat me right—gave me 3 months notice, then 6 months severance, paid for COBRA and for me to work with an executive placement firm.

I began looking for a job right away and hoped to land something while still employed. After several promising meetings and interviews, everything dried up as we were going into the Christmas season. On my first day of being unemployed, I was lost, sad and depressed. After diligently looking for a job in January, I knew I needed to keep all options open and think out of the box. I told myself that I hoped this would be the only time in my career that this would happen so take advantage of it.

In addition to the traditional job search, I attend various webinars on different topics including starting a consulting company and franchise ownership. I quickly ruled out consulting but stayed on the path of a job search and evaluating franchise ownership. Not to bore you with the details but the job search wasn’t going anywhere in the cold and dreary months of January and February. So franchise ownership really started to become attractive and I found that you could use retirement savings to invest in your business without penalty so I kept exploring.

I worked with a franchise consultant who presented 4 options. Two were ruled out within a few weeks and the other 2 were evaluated for almost 2 months. In the end, my husband and I decided to become a franchise owner with Art Recovery Technologies. In the past 15 months, it has been rewarding, fun, challenging and scary but I have no regrets.  I love what I’m doing and the multiple hats I wear.

Sure, I wish there were some things I didn’t have to do but at least I’m doing it for me and my family. The biggest challenge is sales—isn’t it for anyone? But I feel that we’re on the right path to success—we made it past the 1 year mark—an important milestone!

I encourage everyone to remember, “Things happen for a reason.” I really believe this!

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