I’ve been optimized. Job loss and life goals at 40.

Nothing says Merry Christmas to a pharmaceutical rep quite like:

  • You’re being let go.
  • You’re being relieved of your position.
  • You’re being downsized.
  • We’ve chosen to pursue a different direction.
  • You’re no longer needed.
  • You’re talking to me all wrong and if you do it again I’ll stab you in the face with a soldering iron.

Ok, Ok, I haven’t actually heard the last one (credits of Joe Dirt) used in a business context but having been downsized twice, it feels a bit more like that example than the others.

All of the above lingo is simply code for “Your job is no more. Adios, sister!” Having endured another pharma layoff years ago and narrowly escaped others, you would think I would have been better prepared. You’d be wrong.

To say I was surprised is an understatement.

This recent layoff was termed  ‘optimizing’ the current sales force. So I’ve been optimized. Or unoptimized? Deoptimized?

Regardless,  I’m out of a job.

I began working in pharma 17 years ago. Doctors have changed, offices have changed, managed care has changed, privacy laws have changed, budgets have changed. However, the surprise email stating you need to participate in a mandatory conference call tomorrow to “discuss strategy” has NOT changed.

And it always means the ax is about to drop.

So, here I sit, about 18 months after starting a job that melded my two worlds beautifully. Part time pharmaceutical rep and part time ‘run around town dragging kids here and there and wondering why I never get anything done but loving every minute of it’ mom.

It was ideal.

Sure, there were aspects I didn’t like. But this ain’t Burger King and you don’t always get to have it your way. However, outside of owning my own island and simply focusing on my tan, this job was the next best thing. I was hitting my stride with our schedule and finally figuring out how to hang with Thaddeus solo in a way that didn’t result in both of us sulking and sucking our thumbs in a corner by 10 AM each day. I was in a rhythm……and if you’ve read any of my other posts, you know I should be nervous when I hit a rhythm.  I should’ve known what would happen when I found my groove.  Because it seems any length of ‘life smoothness’ eventually leads to a shake up.

This shake up means I’m assessing my career options and yet again trying to determine the best course of action for both career and family. As I’ve mentioned before, there are a few classes that would have been EXTREMELY helpful during my time in business school at Indiana University.




Unfortunately, those classes were unavailable and I opted for other courses that proved life changing. For example, History of the Study of the Hungarian Language remains a course that proves important on a daily basis. Not a single day has passed since 1999 that I haven’t thought, “Emily, before you use this item, perhaps you should assess its origin. Could it be Hungarian? Why yes, it is! And thanks to that class that took place in a 5×5′ room in the stacks of the main library, you and four other people will always know not only what goulash is but precisely when and how that word came to be.”

Who needs to know how to navigate parenthood and career when you can discuss the Pannonian basin instead?

The school is not to blame and I am forever grateful for the fantastic education I received from the best university in the nation, if not the world. Biased? Not much.

Kidding aside, there is a lot I wish I could say to a 21 year old Emily. That’s another blog post entirely, though.

I have some potential opportunities for full time work which I realize is a huge blessing. While I can throw some killer pity parties, I am also aware that many people have zero options after being laid off. And zero financial means to get them to the next position. And family members relying solely on them for the next bill to be paid. So I am incredibly thankful to be miffed about this career speed bump. But not panicked. Or overly burdened. Or alone.

That being said, I don’t think I’m ready to go back to work full time. I have a three year old who likes to hang out with me about 60 minutes a day so I’m going to soak that up while I can. As for the other 23 hours of the day, I’m still working on that. Please email with ideas.

Sharing a pizza mid week.

Were there any real question about my readiness to return to work, I randomly ran across Nichole Nordeman’s song titled Slow Down.  If you need to sob for 30 minutes to the point of dry heaving, be sure to watch this. Just make sure you’re not in public, driving, or heading out into public for the next six hours. It will take that long for your eye swelling to diminish.

So here’s where you come in, my dear readers. I need people with more active brain cells than I currently possess to tell me what to do from here.  Think of it as a “Choose Her Own Adventure” for a slightly on-edge mom. Please consider the following resume:

Mother of four who bathes kids and almost fully clothes them nearly sort of every day. Cooks and serves breakfast for dinner (aka brinner) three nights a week. Cleans the house annually regardless of need. Creative decor complete with realistic cobwebs in all corners of interior and exterior even after Halloween. 

Writer/blogger who absolutely loves to force her stories on unwilling strangers. Would love to pursue any opportunity to write about anything…. for anyone….. anytime…. anywhere. Flexible on those requirements. Salary range anywhere from free chicken nuggets to a new car. Salary terms also negotiable. 

Oil aficionado who loves hosting classes and teaching people about what it means to have a little cabinet arsenal to address their own health and wellness. Tips also shared on how to become a full fledged, lovely smelling hippie. Complete with dreads and bohemian skirt. Or complete with business suit and sable colored detail bag……since I will no longer be needing it. Candidate is weeping now. 

So there you have it….your good Samaritan act to finish up 2017. Calling all brainstormers to put your heads together and land me the perfect gig that allows me to exercise a complete thought once or twice a day while also ensuring I stay abreast of all new plot lines on Daniel Tiger.

I was ready to quit work completely when this job happened to land in my lap….so this may be a glowing sign that it’s time for the rubber to meet the road. Maybe it’s time to test my big mouth and put my faith in action. God has provided again and again. And again some more. His plans have always been bigger and more fun and more generous than I ever could have imagined.

As I await your ideas for my life plan, I will be working on my blog and conducting my oil class. Two passions that provide almost as much enjoyment as reading about the Huns. (If you don’t know to what I’m referring……there’s a killer Hungarian class you should register for next semester.)

As always, thank you for sharing in my latest crazy.

TickingTimeMom out.

16 thoughts on “I’ve been optimized. Job loss and life goals at 40.

  1. I’ll say it again, Emily…..you are a national treasure!!!!!! How about sending all of your blog posts to a publisher…….instant best seller!!!!!!

  2. God has so much in store for you. Thank you for the time you put into each blog as so many of us can relate. You gift for writing is wonderful!

  3. They need you in Parents and Redbook, newspapers, etc. Send your blogs to a publisher! People will absolutely love them!!! Your big heart and wonderful sense of humor always shine through. The world needs more reasons to smile so put yourself out there!!

  4. Yes yes yes! Yes to putting your hands up and saying, “I fold!” Yes to being a hippie and yes to lovin on your sweet babes!! As I’m learning in my old age, the continual rat race is so not my thing. My thing …. most days, is leaning in on motherhood, giving long, big hugs to my babes (husband included!) and doing things that make me smile. Emily, no doubt you’ll find what does it for you!! I’m thinking blogging and oiling it up just might be your ticket!
    Hugs, prayers and margaritas sweet friend!

  5. Emily, nothing would please me more than for you to earn a living through writing. You are talented. You have a delightful sense of humor. You write about your life. You are a child of God. Something good must be there for you. A newspaper column? A collection of your blogs in a book (Please Don’t Eat the Daisies)? A motivational speaker? A blogger with sponsors? Something good must be in the works.

  6. I love, love your writing Emily. God does have a plan and I pray that he connects you closer to your Dream than you ever thought possible.

  7. Emily. I remember a woman writer who had a similar sense of humor, her name was Erma Bombeck. She had a column in the paper. You have a gift sweetheart and it’s not just in the pharmaceutical field. I’m thinking Erma was contempoary of my Mama. Thete is a delightful woman Lisa Golden Smartt. Her parents , Jack and Regina Golden are very good friends of Pastor John Lovelace. She not only is an author but speaks at Christian Women Conferences. The world is your oyster sweetheart, God has a plan to use your shining light.

    • Laura, I have thought of your kind and encouraging words several times in the last week. I can’t thank you enough for your constant support. I sure loved reading Erma Bombeck’s writings when I was younger! I don’t know Lisa but will have to look her up! I love learning about new writers!

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