HP Layoffs – Turning Catastrophe into Adventure

HP announces 27,000 layoffs

HP just announced 27,000 layoffs!  Normally, as an HP employee, this would be bad news.  However, in my particular, twisted case this disaster couldn’t be sweeter.  I never thought I would be ecstatic to be laid off.

The anticipation of discussing layoffs with my manager was terrifying.  I kept telling myself there was nothing to fear, but when I started counting my breathing, there was no fooling myself – I was worried.  Every fear and anxiety of the unknown was closer than it had ever been before.  But like every terrifying moment, this one also passed.  Now I feel amazing.  Despite some minor hyperventilating on my walk to my manager’s desk, this terrifying conversation actually went very well.  In my case, getting laid off was perfect.  He was genuinely excited for me, and pleasantly encouraging.

After the first few words, the anxiety disappeared.  I was thrilled to share my crazy plans with my manager.  I explained how I’ve been hungry for change and desperate for adventure, so hungry and desperate that I’m willing to live on beans and rice to do it.  I want to spend more time with my wife and kids.  I want to experience a new culture, a new language, a new life.  The whole time he listened, he had a very amused look on his face.  Normally I would assume such a look indicated some secret joke at my expense, but something was different about his amused look.  It seemed sincere, like he understood exactly what I was saying before I said it.  So, I kept going, laying it all out there, answering his occasional questions as best I could.

I’ll paraphrase:
“So, where are you going?”

“Costa Rica.”

“So, what will you do for work?”

“No idea.  I haven’t quite figure out the details past the find-some-way-to-make-money part.  I’ll do design contract work.  I’ll start some businesses.”

“What businesses are you going to start?”

“No idea.  Something that makes money down in Costa Rica.  Perhaps I can offer unique travel resources for people wanting to visit Costa Rica.  I’ll help my wife build her essential oils business.  I’ll work with my brothers and cousin on our idea for a storybook workshop called Brothers Whim.  Maybe there’s even a way to make money off this blog about how I no longer make any money.”

My boss’ closing remarks were better than I could have hoped.  “This is really cool!  Most people in your situation with 2 young kids and a mortgage would consider themselves stuck.  But you’re not.  Your breaking free.  I’m excited for you and wish you the best.  Okay?  Wow.  This is cool.  Good luck!”

This conversation now marks one of the highlights of my life.  Perhaps that is why I was so nervous before hand – because I knew it was an important conversation, a life-altering conversation, and I didn’t want to mess it up.  Well, if I did mess it up, I’m excited about the mess I’ve made!

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