If you have not read This Isn’t the Career I Ordered Parts 1 or 2 of 4 you can read here:
So here I was laid off. I was also the breadwinner at the time. My husband and I have kind of taken turns during our marriage being the breadwinner. To update you on the career my husband did not order, when I first graduated college, my husband was still in school. He only attended Auburn for one year. He would go on to attend Southern Union, Jefferson State and Montevallo as well. He joked he was going to cover every college in the state. One day, he even got an Associate’s Degree in the mail from Jeff State, he did not even realize he had earned while trying to get his Bachelor’s.
He first worked at Sonic, then he worked for a company that refilled propane tanks, and after that he worked with my mom at Merita bread. After Merita, he got a job at Papa John’s as a delivery driver. Before long, he was promoted to Assistant Manager. He was eventually promoted to Manager and again to a Mentor Manager who trains other managers. He was really good at turning around stores that were not doing well. Papa John’s had unexpectedly turned into a career for him. He never finished school.
After about 10 years at Papa John’s, he would leave for an Assistant Manager position at Longhorn Steakhouse. The job offered more money, more work life balance, and more grown opportunity. He would soon be a regular on local news cooking segments. He has been with them for years now and is hoping to soon become a Managing Partner. I believe he is still 18 hours shy of a Bachelor’s degree. He may eventually get it, even though he would not need it to be a Managing Partner, or even to eventually be a position above that.
When I was laid off, I cashed out my 401k. You are always warned not to do this, but it really helped us until I found a new job. We never got behind on house payments or anything else. I was still only 26 and had plenty of time to save for retirement. I had been so excited to start a 401k at only 21, but I still was because boy had it saved us during this time. I was laid off in January and had tons of interviews, but many of those positions never ended up getting filled. I finally got a temp job in April I was hoping would become permanent, but it only lasted until May. Every person who worked for the company was hired as temp at first. I should have seen this as red flag. I hope to never have to go through a temp company ever again.
There were many other red flags. One person who was not a temp and had worked there for a while, constantly talked about miserable they were there. The CFO would constantly say I did not send her an email she had told me to send, so I would apologize and then go forward the email to her again, the original one she said I had not sent. That kind of put me in a lose lose situation, and I never got an apology once I sent the original email again. At this point, I am really becoming weary of CFO’s. I continued to look for other jobs. Not long after I found out the temp job would not become permanent, I was offered a Human Resources position at a new retirement community. The community was not opening up for months and my position would not begin until the following month in June.
Since the community was still being built, I would work at corporate office of the company that owned the community. I was only the 6th employee, and would help hire all future employees. This would eventually be well over 100 people once the community was full. My position was originally supposed to be more of an administrative position. However, my employer soon saw the need to make it a Director position, based on that need and my experience. My pay was still a good bit less than I was making before and closer to administrative pay then Director’s pay, but after all I had been though, I was just glad to have a job.
I would have this job for over four years. A lot of this time, I was going through severe postpartum depression. My OCD and anxiety were worse than ever. I am still not sure how much was from the job, or how much was my job being affected by what I was going through and the way it affected my marriage. When I first started the job, my daughter was less than a year old. All of the other directors either were not married, had no children, or their children were grown. I learned so much in the position and formed some great relationships with other staff and residents, and I was proud of some of my accomplishments.
However, I also had to handle or assist with firing people, lawsuits, and many other stressful things. I often worked long hours. It felt like I could not start my job until 5pm, because we were constantly interrupted by employees and residents. I sometimes worked until 1am. I eventually asked for and got a very good raise, but once I got it, I realized I could make two or three times as much as I currently did, and it still would not be worth this.
It was one of the hardest decisions of my life to leave that job I loved so many things about it. When I left everyone took me out to eat, gave me gifts and a card, and were just amazing. When I left, I found out through others that they eventually replaced me with two people. This kind of hurt me, because if I had just been given a second person to give half of my work to all along, it seems I could have stayed. This was partially my own fault though. If I had just left at 5pm with the work undone, maybe I could have gotten that assistant sooner. My boss did not force us to stay late, and often even left early to encourage us to. I think I was afraid if I did not get my work done though, that I would risk losing my job. Being laid off from my first job out of college, made me always scared of not being an asset to the company.
I would soon learn how important work life balance was. I left for a job where I would make less overall, but probably more hourly, since I had been salaried before and often working around 80 hours. I would also have less stress, work half the hours, and would be mainly doing payroll. I needed a break from management. I had been a manager since I was 25, and I was now almost 32 and already burnt out. I would go from an office to a cubicle again. That last office didn’t have a window anyways. I would stay at the next job for the longest time yet, one month shy of 6 years. Find out about that experience, and everything in the months since I left in my next and last blog of this series, This Isn’t the Career I Ordered Part 4 of 4 below:
Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook, or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here. Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor