It was October 2008. My boss called me into the office and told me that my department was being downsized and that I was, unfortunately, being let go. He was very sad and felt so terrible that I ended up comforting him! I was then called into an office down the hall where my HR representative explained what my package would be, and asked me to sign off on it. Also in the room was the head of our division who thanked me for my contribution. Now let me explain that I am a professional stand-up comedian and had performed and was an MC for several events for the bank, gratis of course. I had been at the bank for 13 years and I knew I’d get a nice package when I did leave. Not life changing, but enough to help me get by. I had just gotten remarried so I had, as the kids would say, a “friend with benefits.” And by benefits I mean medicare part A and part B! So I didn’t have to worry about getting a new job right away because I had a husband who had a pension, and benefits. So now what?
Well I saw a unique opportunity. Though I had taken classes at Nassau Community College, and I was a licensed Stock Broker and Insurance Broker, I never got any formal education. So I decided to go back to school. On my train rides into and out of Manhattan I would fantasize that if I ever had time I would take long walks in the mornings, and go back to school. So I enrolled myself at NYU and got my professional certification in Life Coaching. It inspired me and invigorated me. I was learning something new and it was exhilarating. I was an 18-month course and I loved every minute of it. That led me to having clients, most of them women over 50. I heard a recurring theme when coaching women. They were having trouble coping with life changes that come with a life over 50. The women I talked to felt marginalized, and though many were hard-working, intelligent, kind women they saw themselves as much less. So that inspired me to write a book called Who’s Better Than Me? A Guide to Living Happily Ever After. It was my way of saying “give yourself credit for all you’ve done and for all you do.” It’s never over until you say it is. If someone locks the door climb out a window. If there’s no window, build a tunnel!
As I mentioned I am a professional comedian so I combined my life coaching expertise with my comedic talent and I am now a funny motivational speaker, and I speak primarily to women’s groups around the country. I’m writing my second book called It’s Not Gray, It’s Platinum … Finding The Joy In Adding Another Candle To The Cake! I was inspired to write that book because I also talk to seniors. They love having a reason to laugh and finding positive side to coping with the challenges that age brings. Nothing is all good, and nothing is all bad. It’s what you do in the wake of major life changing events like losing your nice stable job. The bad new is that you lost your nice stable job. The good news is it freed you up and offered you the opportunity to do something different, that you may never have done without being forced. In my case the opportunity to go back to school, and to start a different career—one that gives me great joy and personal satisfaction. Granted, my life circumstance at the time was such that I could take advantage of it, but, without losing my job I never would have quit to pursue the path that was granted to me on that October day in 2008.
“Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it”, said Winston Churchill, along with this gem, “Success isn’t final, and failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” And I did.