Today, I have the delight of sharing a blog post by guest media maven Kushuna Exford Williams about her journey from gratitude to even more gratitude all courtesy of an unwanted vacation. I hope her story blesses you as much as it did me. I can’t wait to see the amazing adventure awaiting her!
I have always had this desire to be stable and established, I went to school (at the best HBCU in the land, Talladega College) for Business and Marketing and got a job working in my field after graduation. I had the opportunity to work for an organization that I loved doing what I went to school for. Life was good!
Life was so good in fact, that I focused a lot on being grateful to God, because I knew that it could be different, but I believed that my “gratitude” would somehow shield me from life’s challenges. FALSE. On October 3, 2014 I was laid off from the organization that I loved so dearly, the place that I had devoted seven years of my career, the place where I spent 10 plus hours a day six days a week. I was called into the Executive Director’s office and given paperwork, there wasn’t any type of advance notice, and my last paycheck (which I earned) was considered my severance package.
I felt hurt, disrespected, disappointed, and confused. I was the Director that had the best staff morale team, the one that was never under budget, the one that usually picked up projects that my colleagues neglected, the one that never missed deadlines, and never late to meetings….yet I was laid off. Me, the top performer. This experience was such a blow to my confidence. I was also the one that thought my job title made the person I was. FALSE. Who I am has NOTHING to do with my job title.
Although, being laid off was very emotional for me, I still felt like everything would be okay. I had made up my mind to not be bitter or speak ill of the organization that I have worked for. This was hard, because the enemy wants us to rot in bitterness, but I believed that God would work this out. I had money in my savings account and after all, I was a previous top performer and I had two degrees…I should find a job in no time, right? WRONG. Somewhere between the 3rd and 5th month, I really began to get disappointed with God especially when my friends were giving me praise reports of their new jobs, promotions, etc. I was like, “God, I know you are able to help me find a job, but are you willing?” I sent out hundreds of resumes, applications, and emails only to get entry level responses, or no responses at all, and not to mention that I am running out of savings, quickly! Then during months 6 and 7 I began to change my focus. I started volunteering and getting involved with causes that I believed in and I took my close friends advice and began to find a way to enjoy this “unwanted vacation.” God has a plan for me that is perfect and I need to just relax and wait for it to unfold.
I’m happy to announce that the 8th month of being laid off will actually end with a new job opportunity. It’s with a new company and I have NO IDEA what God is doing, but I’m very grateful. Although, I have learned that gratitude is a powerful tool that will keep you focused, but, it will not shield you from challenges. However, it is very necessary for when you face challenges…. in all things give thanks.