What to Do When You’re Laid Off

what to do when you're laid off | almost getting it together

Remember my secret number one goal I had for 25? I can finally let you in on that secret: I wanted to find a new job and leave Pittsburgh. The only thing that was really stopping me was that I was comfortable. Too comfortable, really. And safe. I am 25, living at home, no bills or expenses. Basically the only difference between 25-year-old Cassie and 17-year-old Cassie was the fact that I went to my job all day instead of school. Oh, and I typically cook for myself.

what to do when you're laid off | almost getting it together

My desk, late night.

It’s no secret I don’t really love Pittsburgh. I love living so close (ahem, in the same house) as my family and friends, Pittsburgh sports and the opportunities the city has afforded me. I love my rituals: Saturday morning runs, Amazing Yoga, way too many chips and way too much guacamole at Mad Mex. But I don’t love the weather – I can’t be cooped up from January until March and I can’t handle the humidity in the summer. I want to be near the water so I can go surfing. I want to be able to drive an hour to experience something completely new. I need a change.

We’ll get back to that though. This is about what to do when you’re laid off. Because that is exactly what happened to me on October 7th. If you follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat, you’ve probably inferred that something is up (probably because of a bunch of drunk tweets Sunday night, but like that kind of happened for another reason). I won’t say anything negative about my former employer because a) I’m not dumb b) I couldn’t have asked for a better first job and such amazing boss(es). Truthfully, they just forced me out of the “Cassie safety bubble” by making the difficult decision I couldn’t.

what to do when you're laid off | almost getting it together

My nameplate. RIP.

It’s also not a secret that the retail landscape isn’t great right now, so I kind of expected this to happen. I didn’t expect it to happen to me, but if I had to do the math, I understand why one of these positions that was eliminated was my role. When the rumors started spinning that there were going to be layoffs, I joked that it was going to be me, cleaned out my desk (for other reasons as well that I will explain later) and knew exactly what was going down when I got a meeting request with my VP and HR Monday night for Tuesday morning.

Monday night after I got the meeting request, I just decided to go to the gym as planned and continue with my life as normal. There wasn’t anything I could do about it, I wanted it to happen and I was expecting another phone call in the next day or so that would alleviate anything that happened in this meeting. I won’t lie though – I was a nervous wreck. I couldn’t sleep Monday night. I thought about what I would wear, what I would do, what I would say. “What do I wear to get laid-off?” I texted my girl friends. The consensus: The best outfit I’ve ever worn to work.

what to do when you're laid off | almost getting it together

The original AEO social media team.

Tuesday morning, I woke up before my alarm and did my normal Tuesday morning speed work out. I listened to Yeezus, because I always run to Yeezus when I’m upset or angry about something. I came home, showered, washed my hair and wore a black wrap dress, black knee high boots and a maroon scarf because I didn’t want the total funeral vibe.

Walking to the office from the parking garage, I thought “I wonder if this is what Marie Antoinette felt like walking to the guillotine – nervous for what is about to happen but relieved that it is all about to be over”. I walked straight up the back staircase (per usual) and right to the conference room.

I went in the room before HR & my VP. The packet of tissues and notebook on the table gave it all away. “Welp, I know what’s going on here” I thought to myself. They told me what was going on and I said “Okay.” They looked at me horrified that I was taking it so well and I just mentioned that I had something else in the works, not to worry about me. I thanked them for all the opportunities I had been given and that I couldn’t have asked for a better first job. I turned in my corporate phone, credit card and badge and they walked me out. That was it. Less than 15 minutes and the last three years of my life were over.

what to do when you're laid off | almost getting it together

My hands in our BTS 2014 video – fake sewing jeans!

I walked out the door of the office for the last time. I did start crying at that point – out of relief. The anxiety of the past 15 hours was gone. I decided walking back to my car that I needed to go buy a bottle of champagne. I wasn’t happy doing what I was doing – I was disenchanted with social media, bored with the routine and not feeling challenged. I came into work each day for my cushy paycheck and that was about it. They had made the hard decision that I wasn’t strong enough to do on my own.

what to do when you're laid off | almost getting it together

The day I got my official offer from AEO after freelancing for almost a year.

Luckily, Erin was working from home that day so I met her for a coffee. I was still nervous that I wouldn’t get the phone call I was waiting for, but I suddenly felt a sense of relief. I was at peace for the first time in a long, long time. I was free to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I decided then that if I didn’t get the call I was waiting for, I would take some time to travel, maybe to Central or South America or Australia. Unfortunately things didn’t pan out for me to take a holiday.

what to do when you're laid off | almost getting it together

On a photo shoot in LA, November 2012.

What do you do when you’re laid off? You take it gracefully. You understand that it’s the company, not you. Keep your attitude positive. If I wasn’t going to make jokes and laugh about this situation, I would be spilling way more tears than needed. The world works in mysterious ways, even if you don’t understand why something is happening, you should know that it is happening for a reason. Trust me, my life has been turned on its head about 5 times in the past week. I have to understand that this is all leading me to something bigger and better.

what to do when you're laid off | almost getting it together

Coachella vibes.

Thanks for the memories, AEO. I had a lot of really, really awesome opportunities. I got to fly on a private jet! I got to go to Coachella! I went on photo shoots and did a lot of really cool projects. I even coordinated an entire shoot myself this summer. And most of all, I met some really amazing people. If it wasn’t for this job, I wouldn’t have met Emily, Lesley or Angela and probably wouldn’t have started this blog. I am going to miss everyone at AEO – and in Pittsburgh – so, so much.

what to do when you're laid off | almost getting it together

As I said on Instagram, here’s to happy endings and happier beginnings.

PS: Looking for photos for this post made me so sentimental.

Chat with me:
No questions, just your thoughts.

 

64 comments on “What to Do When You’re Laid Off

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Susie @ SuzLyfe on October 14, 2014 7:08 am

I’ve been “let go” unexpectedly, but gratefully (as in, it was a backhanded blessing), I totally agree: you handle it gracefully. I ended up crying more from shock than anything else. But there is something so freeing about having that kick in the rear to get going, even if it is a little bit scary with regards to SH*T what do I do now?! We all know that you will be more than fine: not it is time for bigger and better things!
Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Now what? Fitness Aspirations for my FutureMy Profile

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Cassie on October 15, 2014 12:07 am

Just so unreal, right?? It’s like the shock that is most scary. I feel like I almost willed it to happen haha.

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Jessie on October 14, 2014 7:09 am

Theres honestly not too much to say, besides the fact that your a rockstar! You handled & are continuing to handle this situation with such class. <3
Jessie recently posted…Babies Update: 24 Weeks & 3 DaysMy Profile

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Cassie on October 15, 2014 12:06 am

You are seriously the sweetest, this comment & your tweet made my whole day xoxo

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Sarah on October 14, 2014 7:33 am

Whoa girl. I can’t even imagine. But you handled this way better than I ever could have and I think you’re looking at it in such a positive way! That really was such an awesome first job to have (my dream, really, in a running/fitness setting) and I’m sure it prepared you well for whatever comes your way next :)
Sarah recently posted…Two years.My Profile

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Cassie on October 15, 2014 12:05 am

Nowwwww for me to just getting to a running/fitness company :) In time!!!

If you ever want tips for getting into social, shoot me a line!! xoxo

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Erin @ The Almon Eater on October 14, 2014 7:34 am

I’m going to cry. Not really, but maybe. LOVE THIS LOVE YOU and I’m getting nostalgic from looking at your photos which legit makes no sense but…. it’s true.

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Heather @fitncookies on October 14, 2014 7:44 am

What a fantastic way to take it. I can’t imagine having the anxiety pretty much knowing it was going to occur, and looking at it from a positive standpoint. As with all things in life, we can just dwell on them and thing “woe is me” or move on with life and find the positive. You are finding the positive and looking at what to do now. The bottle of champagne was a definite must ;) Here’s to the future! – getting away from humidity, surfing more, and moving somewhere without a horrible winter ;)
Heather @fitncookies recently posted…Before the Ghost Gets ya {20 Minute Workout}My Profile

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Cassie on October 15, 2014 12:03 am

THANK YOU!! So excited for nicer weather haha.

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Ree on October 14, 2014 8:14 am

What a great post, and a great way to handle such a difficult situation! Well done you! I fully agree that things happen, or don’t happen, for a reason. Even if that reason is unclear at the time. Enjoy the new adventures that are coming your way! Cheers!
Ree recently posted…all things canadianMy Profile

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Ang @ Nutty for Life on October 14, 2014 8:24 am

<3
no words. this was wonderfully written. i'm so thankful AEO brought me to you! xo
Ang @ Nutty for Life recently posted…Nutty For… [9.26]My Profile

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Cassie on October 15, 2014 12:02 am

Let’s not start tear city again.

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Anna on October 14, 2014 9:16 am

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read. You have the best attitude, and you’re totally right. I’m sure whatever is next for you will be wonderful, and I’m excited to read about what it is!
Anna recently posted…Weekend SnapshotsMy Profile

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Cassie on October 15, 2014 12:02 am

I am so honored you enjoyed it! xoxo

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. on October 14, 2014 9:18 am

I was going to start by saying that I’m sorry to hear it… and while I -am- sorry to hear that you had to deal with the nerves and sadness, I think you handled it amazingly and that, like you said, this may have been exactly what you needed. I”m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and that it’s usually for the best… even if we can’t see it at the time.
Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. what i love more than pumpkin .My Profile

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Cassie on October 15, 2014 12:02 am

THANK YOU!! Totally agree… sometimes it’s hard to understand why things happen but you look down the road two years later and TOTALLY get it :) xoxo

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Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon on October 14, 2014 10:15 am

In a weird way, sometimes these situations are the push we need – I can’t wait to see what’s next in your life, and wish I could split a bottle of champagne with you. xo
Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon recently posted…Spicy Arugula & Chicken SoupMy Profile

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Cassie on October 15, 2014 12:01 am

Maybe you’ll have to come visit???

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Emily @ Sweets and Beets on October 14, 2014 11:36 am

Wow, I’m sorry to hear that you got laid off, girl. But I give you all the credit in the world for being SO positive about it! It just shows how strong your character is. Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise — a reason to get out of Pittsburgh, and your comfort zone! Good luck, you’re going to bounce back and everything will work out just how it was meant to!
Emily @ Sweets and Beets recently posted…Gift Card GameMy Profile

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Cassie on October 15, 2014 12:01 am

It’s totally scary but I’m excited for what is next!

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Molly Young on October 14, 2014 12:01 pm

So encouraging for all the others out there being laid off. Thanks for being so open. Enjoy your time off and spend time doing things you love with people you love!

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Cassie on October 15, 2014 12:01 am

Thank you, this is so kind!

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GiGi Eats on October 14, 2014 1:38 pm

Everything in life happens for a reason – I truly believe this, even if you don’t understand what that reason is right away – however, you know why this happened and I am glad you’re relieved. Obviously you’ll feel ups and downs about it, but HELLOOOOO NEW BEGINNING! :D :D :D
GiGi Eats recently posted…A “Zesty” Take on Eclairs!My Profile

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Cassie on October 15, 2014 12:00 am

This is actually a ridiculously fresh start… going to be soooo crazy.

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Ange @ Cowgirl Runs on October 14, 2014 1:40 pm

Oh man, being pulled into that room is such a crappy feeling, even if you kind of see it coming. It’s definitely a punch in the gut feeling.
I’m glad you’ve been able to handle things gracefully, and you’re right, it’s time for a new and great beginning.
Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…A Weekend in Wine CountryMy Profile

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Cassie on October 15, 2014 12:00 am

Thank you!! I am so excited for what is next!

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Jamie on October 14, 2014 2:07 pm

Cassie, good luck in your future adventures — you are going to be very successful. I’ll miss sitting with you every day, though!
Jamie recently posted…Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend: Zoya Magical PixieDust in CosmoMy Profile

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Cassie on October 14, 2014 11:59 pm

Thank you my dear!! I miss that already!! Hell, I missed it Tuesday by lunch time!

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Bre on October 14, 2014 3:38 pm

Both my husband and I were laid off from a job when we were young (him from a restaurant, me from a caterer), which lead to much better things. My husband finally made the move into the banking industry and has been working there now for twenty years, and I then found a fabulous job a few months after. Everything definitely happens for a reason and good for you for seeing the positive in it all. I was destroyed after mine, which is funny because I was looking for a new job anyway. Good luck in your journey toward the next thing in life!
Bre recently posted…all things canadianMy Profile

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Cassie on October 14, 2014 11:58 pm

Thank you! I feel like this is something that happens to so many people, especially in today’s economy, so there is no reason people should be ashamed of it… just own it and move on!

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Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on October 14, 2014 3:41 pm

I’m sorry you were laid off but so glad it was with a job you weren’t that happy with. Did you get the call you were waiting for?
Erin @ Her Heartland Soul recently posted…A Plaid Shirt AlternativeMy Profile

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Cassie on October 14, 2014 11:52 pm

I did! Stay tuned for what’s next :)

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Kara Lydon, RD on October 14, 2014 5:11 pm

Hey lady – I related to everything you shared here. I was laid of November 7th last year and it was the best thing that happened to me. It gave me the time and space to travel, to re-evaluate my goals, my passions, my desires. I’m with you 100% that everything happens for a reason. This happened to you because bigger and better things await you. I CAN’T wait to see where life takes you next!! xo
Kara Lydon, RD recently posted…Vegan Green Goddess DressingMy Profile

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Cassie on October 14, 2014 11:52 pm

I wisssssh I had the time to travel haha… but this totally happened for a reason. :)

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Skye on October 14, 2014 6:00 pm

It sounds like you handled it really well. I have seen people go off on social media all about how terrible their former company was, and take it personally, and they have burned bridges for future opportunities as a result. Not just with the former employer, but with a lot of the people watching.
Skye recently posted…The Worst Witch: Kids’ Book Giveaway!My Profile

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Cassie on October 14, 2014 11:51 pm

Ha, well I worked in social media so I know better. And honestly, I am so thankful that I had that role and for everyone I had to work with, I have nothing but positive things to say about it!

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Kylie Burnside on October 14, 2014 7:55 pm

Congrats! This is an amazing opportunity for new adventures especially with your attitude! If you need any extra inspiration in coming weeks I can suggest some podcasts. Many very successful people were laid off and looking back getting laid off was the best thing that happened to them… So cheers to that! ;-)

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Cassie on October 14, 2014 11:51 pm

Steve Jobs was laid off… from his own company! I always keep that in mind.

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Emily Ardoin on October 14, 2014 8:33 pm

I’ve just added you to my blogroll. Thank you for writing this awesomely brave post!
Emily Ardoin recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Places I’m Dying to VisitMy Profile

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Cassie on October 14, 2014 11:44 pm

Aw, thanks Emily!!

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Katie @ 24 Carrot Life on October 14, 2014 8:44 pm

Wow you really did take this well. And a new door will open soon! Keep us posted.

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Cassie on October 14, 2014 11:44 pm

Oh, it’s open… stay tuned!!

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Anastasia Amour on October 14, 2014 8:57 pm

You took this SO well – I love how you’re choosing to learn from it, and I think you’ve handled it in the best possible way :) xx

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Cassie on October 14, 2014 11:44 pm

Thank you!!

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Arman @ thebigmansworld on October 15, 2014 4:04 am

I hope this doesn’t make me sound like a douche but I’m so glad it happened.

You are on to great things buddy- it’s a blessing in disguise.

(I actually wrote it’s a dressing in disguise…wtf)
Arman @ thebigmansworld recently posted…When the snack monster hitsMy Profile

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Cassie on October 20, 2014 8:33 am

Not a douche at all, so happy it happened too!! Thank you for saying that.

I think your next recipe should be dressing in disguise :) which would be chocolate protein powder + ice = chocolate brownie fudge ice cream.

[…] you so much for your kind words on yesterday’s big reveal. Don’t worry, I already have something lined up that I’ll be talking about in the days […]

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Renee @ Bendiful Blog on October 15, 2014 8:21 am

Everything happens for a reason! I once left a miserable job with no catch net and it landed me right in my own business. Something has to end for something new to take it’s place. Good Luck to you, it will all work out.
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Cassie on October 20, 2014 8:30 am

I would LOVE to have my own business… hopefully the next jump!

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cait @pieceofcait on October 15, 2014 9:23 am

all i gotta say is.. you handled it like a champ! better then anyone i would know! Something great is just around the corner for you friend :)

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Cassie on October 20, 2014 8:30 am

Thank you my dear!!

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Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits on October 15, 2014 10:24 am

I’m just very happy to see that you have such a positive attitude about all this. Good things will happen, and I’m sending you good vibes!
Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits recently posted…Asian Slow Cooker Pork with Zucchini Carrot & Apple NoodlesMy Profile

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Cassie on October 20, 2014 8:28 am

Thank you!!

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Kelli @Hungry Hobby on October 15, 2014 11:07 am

I feel like saying I’m sorry and congratulations at the same time! I’ll be following your journey and rooting for you, I have no doubt in my mind that you will succeed!
Kelli @Hungry Hobby recently posted…Tightening Up Without Dieting and Recent EatsMy Profile

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Cassie on October 20, 2014 8:28 am

Just congrats, no sorry! :)

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Chris on October 15, 2014 1:52 pm

Sorry to hear about the layoff. I totally understand… like completely. I was laid off earlier this year and went 4 months jobless. Yuck. I knew and had talked about me not being happy at my job, but I was comfortable. Sure, not having a paycheck for a while sucked, and there were miserable days, but I’ve got a better job now and I’m much happier. So hey, it happened and sounds like I don’t even need to say sorry… you seem ok and yeah, door opened to something bigger and better! =)
Chris recently posted…Celebrate The GrindMy Profile

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Jo @ Living Mint Green on October 15, 2014 2:16 pm

It’s all so bittersweet, isn’t it? On the surface it might seem shitty, but now YOU get to decide what you’d like to do and how YOU’D like to live your life. I’m glad to hear you’re taking things so well and I wish nothing but the best for you, friend.
I’m excited to see where your next adventure and journey takes you!
Jo @ Living Mint Green recently posted…I stop eating when I hate myselfMy Profile

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Cassie on October 20, 2014 8:25 am

Thank you my dear!!

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Nickely Challenged on October 15, 2014 3:51 pm

Wow! Thanks for the tips. I feel like I will be able to use it one day. Being in your twenties is hard, trying to navigate the adult world with other experienced adults, forgetting they were once in your position. I can relate. Thanks for sharing.

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Cassie on October 20, 2014 8:24 am

Awww, I love this: “trying to navigate the adult world with other experienced adults, forgetting they were once in your position”. Seriously, thank you so much for saying that!! xo

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Deanna Segrave-Daly (@tspbasil) on October 15, 2014 9:17 pm

Thanks for sharing this experience – alas, gone are the days of working at the same company for your entire life (let along 10 years plus.) Being a bit older than you, I can only say, you have the world at your fingertips and this is the start of a new exciting adventure for you – just you wait and see!
Deanna Segrave-Daly (@tspbasil) recently posted…Apple Cheddar Bread Pudding BitesMy Profile

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Cassie on October 20, 2014 8:19 am

Thank you! I really appreciate the kind words. It’s just so different because my family has all been at the same companies forever….

[…] two years, to be completely honest. I actually found out last Tuesday, about 9.5 hours after I was laid off. The scariest 20 minutes of my day was from the time my recruiter asked if 4 p.m. PST was okay to […]

[…] in retrograde? I’m secretly into weird stuff like that. Last time Mercury was in retrograde I lost my job, got dumped and moved across the country. My horoscope that week basically told me that two of […]

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