Reflecting in Gratitude on a Journey of 80 Days

Over the last two weeks, my entire family…except for me…has had or currently has COVID-19. We’re taking it extra easy at home until we’re all testing negative. With the extra quiet time and excitement of starting a new job, I’m reflecting on the last 80 days since I was notified that my role at Salesforce was ending.

Despite the uncertainty and how volatile the technology and nonprofit economies are right now, I’m feeling a calm sense of peace and purpose. I had the privilege to spend the last 2.5 months doing the sometimes emotional work to reset and refocus while I waited for March 24th and my last day as a Salesforce employee.

My mind and heart are now clear and full of gratitude. I’d like to offer some advice that might be helpful to others on a similar journey.

Maintain relationships that matter

The most painful part of this experience has been fear of losing the connection with the most passionate, brilliant people I had the honor of working with over the last 8 years. It’s not “culture.” It’s not “family” in any language. It’s about feeling safe, valued, and encouraged to bring your whole self to others with honest integrity. I’ve always strived to be a leader who modeled the behavior towards others I wanted to be extended to me. These are my lifelong friends. Our bond got stronger after we were laid off, as we stayed in daily touch and supported each other through uncertainty. More often than not over the past 80 days, I got back way more than I thought I gave. Thank you.

Do the inner work first

It’s tempting and natural to react to a sudden job loss with panic, especially when it feels like everyone you know is in the same position, applying en masse to the same limited open roles. Put in some keywords into a search engine and consider everything in sight. I did that at first. I thought I didn’t want to work in nonprofit Salesforce technology. I thought I didn’t want to be a consultant.

Salesforce provided outplacement support and I tried to work with that agency for a few weeks. They wrote me a new resume, generically acceptable for someone with my former title. They gave me advice about how to update my LinkedIn profile in just the right way, or get through automated resume scanners. The more I worked with them, the worse I felt, and I couldn’t put my finger on why.

My mistake was that I focused too much on titles, headlines, and keywords. I read job descriptions and changed words around on a document to match. It didn’t work. It didn’t feel right.

I wasn’t ready.

And then some posts from longtime community friend Emma B-F caught my eye and resonated with me on LinkedIn. In watching her short, inspiring videos on her profile, I realized that I had some work to do in my own head before I was ready to move my career towards the work I truly wanted to do. I took a leap, said aloha to the outsourcing company, and hired Emma instead as my personal leadership coach.

Over the next two months, she helped me articulate—to myself more than to her—exactly the kind of work I wanted to do. The impact I wanted to drive. The kind of organization I wanted to work for. As I progressed on this journey, when I closed my eyes, I could almost taste it even as I struggled to put it into words. She introduced me to people in her network who aligned with my personal values who I never would have met otherwise.

I worked with a financial advisor to target the compensation I needed to take a role prioritizing organization impact over profit, at a much-smaller private company, while also taking care of my family. I’m grateful this happened at a later stage in my career and family life.

When I saw the job description at beyond the horizon, I knew immediately that it was a fit. Ironically, I didn’t know the hiring manager was a friend and former co-worker until after I applied, as it was listed by a recruiting firm without the company name. From the day I saw the listing to signing the offer letter: 6 days. There’s a strong chance that had I seen the role in January, I wouldn’t have considered applying.

No regrets.

No stress.

No second guessing myself.

I’m ready.


3 responses to “Reflecting in Gratitude on a Journey of 80 Days”

  1. Beautiful, Judi. I love your spirit. I love the deep way you look at life. That depth has led you where you want and need to be. Congratulations. I honor you.

  2. I am so excited for you! You are also a beautiful writer – two careers? And, a beautiful person.