Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The End of an Era...

...and the beginning of a new one!

My followers know that I'm in pursuit of a balanced life. Hence the name of my blog, Level & Plumb...

After being laid off unexpectedly from my corporate sales position in September, I started spinning. I'd just returned from two amazing weeks in Italy, went in for a "mid year review" at work and instead was told that my business unit was being eliminated. HR slid the dreaded black folder across the table. The words "severance, grace period..." were coming at me and I just kept thinking, "I'm my only breadwinner. No one's got my back, except me."  I was thrown for a loop, but in my "Type A" fashion, I was on task: attending 'outplacement' seminars, updating my resume, making calls, networking, setting appointments, going on informational, informal and formal interviews, slogging around NYC in a suit in the summer heat. The subway platforms smelled like boiling urine. I've just gotten used to that over time...but it seemed particularly pungent and poignant this past summer.

Heaped on top of that, my debit card was compromised--thousands were siphoned out of my checking account. Got it back from the bank within 2 weeks, phew. Within days of my dental benefits ending, three molar$ cracked in a $hort amount of time--granola, a peanut in a thai sauce, and I'm not sure what cracked the 3rd one. I needed gum $urgery to fit one of the three porcelain crown$. My rotors rusted because I don't drive enough (?) and that cost me $800. A nor'easter blew through and there was a leak in my roof. I also had a medical scare that kept me worried for about 2 months.

Why me? Why not me?

Was I on Candid Camera? Nope. I kept thinking, other people are worse off, I can get to the other side of this. I became a Recessionista...pulling back, eating eggs for dinner, rationing savings.

It might have been overwhelming, but instead it became underwhelming. I was on a treadmill, but not at the gym. It felt more like a hamster wheel.

Then, I stopped.

Stopped the white noise and took a hard look at my little world. My work, my impact, my footprint, my challenges, failures and triumphs. I just didn't want to return to the "cubicle farm" in NYC. Not that I'd had any compelling interviews. There are 800,000 others who've been laid off in NYC. I'd hit a wall. Stopped growing. Where do I fit, who am I, what am I as I hurtle toward 49, divorced with no children? I was just going with the flow. A bit unfulfilled, but relatively happy, great family and friends, interesting sidelines, nice vacations. I'm not altogether lost. But, there's a lot more to life and I'm going after it. I decided it's time for a BIG CHANGE.

I'm selling my gem of a home, the one chronicled in these posts, and heading to North Carolina. Slower pace, lower cost of living, 90+ golf courses, it's palpably friendlier than NYC. I want to do work that's more meaningful, maybe work for myself! Though closing sales, sealing the deal and managing projects has had high points, what does it really add up to? I've spent years making cold calls (and in one job, knocking on doors) and mostly being told "no." Whether its biz to biz or directly to consumers, I'm weary of trying to convince people to buy something. I want a more positive experience.

I've worked hard on my home lo these past 20 years, inside and out. Though there is "always more that could be done" (not including the Lotto wishlist) my project to-do's were winnowing. The list became a call to action, a burst of renewed energy. I purged, painted, primped, listed the house and I'm now showing to potential buyers. As I pack, I'll find someone to adopt my hammer drill, sawz all, bolt cutters, chain saw, etc...I will no longer need to be the girl with the biggest tool box.

More posts to come as I get to the other side of this process.

I'm finally throwing away my painting duds circa 1989. Ya think?


  1. Big congratulations! I can't wait to hear about the process and visit NC. Rock on. Laura A.

  2. Wow, Dale, this is huge news! You are such a wonderful, resourceful, and resilient woman, I'm sure that whatever lies ahead for you will be great. Can't wait to cheer you on as you begin this new chapter. Thanks to you and 5-37 for helping me kick off my New York years, and thanks for your continued friendship.