Laid Off From Work: Sometimes You Just Have to Take a Chance and Trust the Process-in Business as in Life

Two years ago my sister Tawny was laid off from her job after 25 years of working for her company. To give you a little backstory, my sister is anal retentive with her dedication, focus, professionalism, organization and drive.  Her career was her life. She anticipated retiring from that company. She enjoyed her work and was good at it. But alas, companies don’t necessarily care about your dreams, retirement plans and goals when their bottom line is out of balance, they simply look for ways to cut the fat. And so, she and some of her colleagues got their pink slip, and learned of their fate, during a conference call. There are no words to describe her shock and pain. She was stunned and in tears after that call. Yes, she cried. She cried at the loss of what she knew, she cried at the callousness in their delivery, and she cried because of the uncertainty of her future. I shed tears for her too. I could only imagine what she was going through.

When I spoke with her, in the aftermath of this perceived crisis, she talked about being in her mid-forties and starting a job search, and she expressed the reality that it wasn’t likely she would be paid what she was making, as she didn’t have a college degree, she had simply worked her way up and was paid according to her skill set with that company. After browsing some job announcements, and going on one interview, she stopped looking. She decided if there was ever a time to pursue something she loved in an entrepreneurial sense, that now was the time.

Her focus turned inward. You see my sister is also incredibly creative, she always has been. She’s meticulous with projects. She has always had side jobs doing creative things, like baking personalized designer type cakes for special occasions, making and selling gift baskets, doing space decoration for friends and family and other creative things. And she was good at that too. So she decided that instead of running back out and just getting “a job” and being limited by what someone would pay, or risk being laid off again, she would use this break from corporate work and do what she loved creatively and give it everything she had.

She sat down with her husband Hurlie, and told him her decision. He told her to “go for it” and assured her that she had his full support. Now mind you, Hurlie was laid off as well that same year from his college coaching position. Talk about life changing moments and bravery! But anyway, for a woman who had worked a corporate job her whole life, and was used to certainty, this was a big decision. But despite those fears, off she went. Using the severance the company gave her, she started IslandGirlNaturalBeauty in her kitchen, in her home state of Florida. She researched, put everything into place, established a plan and went to work making the items from scratch. My other sister Tamara and their mutual friend the masseuse, Cara, joined in to physically support the venture.

Today the business is growing rapidly and each event lands a new connection with a new spa or new client that wants to carry the products. The community in Merrit Island, Florida is as supportive as a community can be. The island and the business work in tandem. In my sisters words “it has truly been a blessing”!

IslandGirlNaturalBeauty, offers organic products for your skin and home, as well as unique gift ideas like hand made gift baskets and jewelry. And people are loving the products! Whether it’s the Creamy Whipped Body Butter,  the Oatmeal and Shea Butter soap, the silky Massage and Body Oils, the Natural Sea Salt Scrub, or the beautifully scented candles, there’s something in the store for everyone! Today, you can find IslandGirlNaturalBeauty at festivals, events and fair’s all over Florida, and at events in other nearby states. You can also order items directly from the website and have them shipped to your home or office.

In my sister’s words “sometimes it’s scary not having consistent income, like I was used to, and not knowing what amount of money each event will bring, but it’s so rewarding doing what I love, meeting people, building up my brand and offering a product that I can stand behind proudly”. She went on to say, “this wouldn’t have been able to happen, if I wouldn’t have been laid off. I would not have left my job to do this”.

To say I am proud of my sister and her brave venture, would be an understatement. She is an inspiration. Her company is on it’s journey. She is in the right place (an island), at the right time, with the right product and attitude. And she has the support of her community, her family and clients. My hope and prayer is that it will continue to thrive. She reminds me it’s more physical work than she’s ever done and that the days are long, but she is happy. Stories like this give me life. It just so happens, my sister, her bravery and her company, is the topic in this one.

Little did I know that a year and a half later, I too would be able to relate to her fears and story. On June 1, 2017, I too was laid off from my job of 6 years. This was the first time I had been laid off in my life. And the fact that I am in my early 50’s made it especially scary. And though I am still seeking the right opportunity back into main stream employment to stabilize my life and retirement future, I took my sisters lead and I also started a company called “Empowered Concepts by Rhonda Frost, LLC” dba “All the Way Woke”, and though it is in it’s infant stages(website is under construction, logo being created and so on… ), I am excited about this project, I believe in it and look forward to it going live. I will sell t-shirts, coffee mugs and other gift items, with messages of empowerment and inspiration. I hope to be fully operational well before the holidays.

To all of you who have been laid off or fired, or those who started from absolutely nothing with no hope in sight, let’s remember others who have also been through the same and turned out to be not only OK in the aftermath, but super successful, like Mark Cuban, the billionaire who was fired from his sales job, Oprah, who was fired from her night time reporter job, and J.K. Rowling the famed author, who was fired from her job as a secretary because she daydreamed and wrote stories from her work computer. Talk about rebounding!

And let us be mindful of this quote by Eckhart Tolle, one of the worlds leading spiritual teachers: “Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” Just think about that for a minute.

So don’t be discouraged. It’s ok to feel afraid(anyone stepping out of a comfort zone can relate to that). And it’s Ok to cry or vent if you need to, but staying there isn’t an option. The next phase of your life awaits!

Use this as a time to reboot, take a little vacation and sort through your goals and dreams. Then get your resume together, if that’s your intent, and get back out there. And if you’ve always wanted to be free and pursue a different career dream, now might be the time to do that. Gather your circle of friends and family members who love and support you, check in with your soul, put a plan together in plain sight, and become who you were meant to become and do what you were meant to do.

There is life after a “lay off”, and “termination”, it’s up to us to seek it, and pursue that next best thing, vigorously. And while at it, let’s support the small business, dreamers and visionaries by purchasing from them and sharing their story. Blessings! The IslandGirls

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An Open Letter to Kevin Hart…Why?

By Rhonda E. Frost

9/19/2017

Kevin, this is not a letter about judgement. It is not a letter to tear you down and tell you what you already know. In looking at the comments on Instagram, and other social media, you are getting plenty of judgement, so I don’t need to add to that. Nor can I judge you even if I wanted to, because the skeletons in my own closet are so real, and so tightly squeezed into their own space, it would be hypocrisy for me to say a negative word in this situation. But I do have a question. I just want to know, why? Why did you get married a second time, when you clearly don’t want the confines of traditional marriage(I say this only because you have admitted to cheating on your first and now your second wife). So why?

And this “why” goes out to anyone who is married and not able to be faithful, those who are married and miserable, married and more unhappy than not, married only for money, financial stability and status, married and not in love, married but not to their best friend, married and desiring another person, married and dreaming to be free, or married “just until the kids grow up”…etc. Why? Why sacrifice the only life you have(and they have), being half-way in?

Sadly, I know way too many unhappily married people living this way. They are barely alive in spirit. Desperately seeking connection elsewhere. Lying their way through life. Why?

But back to the story at hand. Kevin, I saw your apology video and it showed a man in distress, a man apologizing for the pain he caused his family for infidelity, and a recognition of the massive mistake it was to allow himself to be put in that situation. Or maybe the video simply revealed how “sorry you are because you got caught“( in my Rihanna voice), and the frustration with the manner in which you got caught. I don’t really know which it was, but either way, according to you, you had to come forward, or be extorted. Whew! That’s f*cked up! For real! The days and hours leading up to the truth telling video, had to be excruciating!

Because of this incident, all the married men who have mistresses, or “side-chicks” in your inner circle, and married men all over the world, are paying attention to what is happening to you and how you handle it. Some are likely taking a time out, from their “other” woman, until this blows over. And afterwards, there may be a camera check point at the door, and/or confidentiality disclosures signed, before any activities take place in their side-coupledom future. So the good news is, you could be the cause of significant procedural changes in this area! Time will tell.

In all seriousness, you aren’t the first and won’t be the last to be caught up. Infidelity didn’t start with Kevin Hart and won’t end with Kevin Hart.

That being said, there is no doubt, in my ex-mistress, ex-law enforcement, and ex-being-cheated-on mind, the magnitude of this moment on your life and the manner in which it unfolded, is truly a game changer, a wake up call of epic proportions and a time where you will need to find a way to laugh at your pain and naiveté, for real.

In your apology, you stated that you aren’t perfect, and never said you were. And you have already admitted in many of your comedy routines, that men just do “dumb sh*t“, and you’ve admitted to cheating before and you’ve made it clear that marriage is “work”, so all the disclaimers are covered. So again, I ask, WHY bother getting married? And why do it a second time if that isn’t your really your thing? To be clear, I don’t mean for you to answer that, rather I want it to hang in the air. It needs to be thought about, not responded to. Not now. And that question isn’t just for you-it’s for all of the aforementioned married people in paragraph two.

This moment, like all the exposed and unexposed cheating moments in real folks lives, is bigger than you and this incident. It’s about the narrative. The daily, monthly, yearly, and moment to moment narrative of balancing being married and faithful, and being happy and excited about our married lives and the mates we choose, “til death do us part”. It’s about trying not to feel imprisoned and restricted, while contained within the parameters of married life. It’s about the never ending discussion on how to keep all of our forever unfolding, growing and changing parts of us and our primal desires in sync, and finding a way to walk that tightrope over the Grand Canyon of love and commitment, with no safety net, and no real training or plans, hoping not to fall off and kill yourself (proverbially speaking) or hurt someone else in the process.

To be honest, I don’t know how we are to do it. If many “regular” people can’t do it, how are celebrities, the uber rich and successful, world traveler type of people supposed to do it with temptation everywhere and the world at your fingertips? How? Some say it’s purely a character thing and a decision, I say I just don’t know. Love, lust and desire can sway even the strongest person.

But not to let you off the hook, you made the commitment and again you violated it. The first time you said you were “young and didn’t know better”. Now you are older and the same thing happens. Does it cross your mind that marriage may not be for you? And if you say yes, that is OK. No one can hate you for saying marriage doesn’t work for you. But you have to do that before getting married or you have to say that before you cheat. In the words of a William Shakespeare, “to thine own self be true”.  Or in the words of people I know “just keep it real”.  Because it’s clear that monogamy doesn’t work for you at this point in your life, so WHY force it?

So again, I ask why? Why get married? Why put yourself and her through that? Why stay in a marriage, when you would rather be free? Why stay in a marriage that doesn’t meet your needs, doesn’t allow you to breathe, doesn’t fulfill sexual fantasies, doesn’t give you what you want and doesn’t feed your soul? WHY? And why pretend when you know you can’t do it?

And don’t tell me it’s because of love or loyalty, or the kids. “Love should have brought your ass home that night“, if that’s the case and it didn’t. Loving someone has nothing to do with your ability to stay monogamous. Clearly it doesn’t. I would venture to say most men who cheat might say they love their spouse. In fact I’ve heard that first hand from many a married man who wanted to be my man. So in the words of the immortal Tina Turner, “what’s love got to do with it”, especially if this is how you show it?

And if it’s about your children and extended family, they know, or they will know. And for all the people who have children and use this excuse to stay in broken marriages, your children and your other family members, see your unhappiness and likely know of your infidelities or they experience the breakdown and pain from the aftermath. Wouldn’t you rather they see you happy separately if that’s the case? And wouldn’t you rather speak the truth to your mate and your family and put yours and their mind at ease in a respectable way and just be single? Either way it’s gonna hurt if the family breaks up, but which pain is better?

I will tell you like I told Usher in my Open Letter to him, this too shall pass, this story will fade out and the world will move on to the next breaking news story about the next person who makes a mistake or the next tragic world event,  but in the interim, I hope this event brings about change in you as a man and a husband and more importantly, I hope it gets you closer to your truth.

I am sure you and Eniko have much to sort through. The road ahead is going to be bumpy in the area of trust. Personally, I hope you can survive this and make your marriage work for the sake of your children, but if you can’t remain monogamous and happy for the rest of your life, say that. Be the “grown man” you say you are and tell her and yourself the truth. Your wife, as we might imagine, is in the middle of her own defining moment and pain. And the fact that she’s pregnant makes it 100 times worse. She too has some soul searching to do and decisions to make. And there’s no doubt you both will survive this and life will go on.

The good news is, if you’ve watched “BLACKLOVEDOC” you will find there is hope in these kinds of stories and you will see that marriages can survive it. Just ask JayZ and Bey. I will warn that the commitment after infidelity, is a much harder thing. But it’s up to you to be willing to deal with the chaos you’ve created and stay with it, no matter what. And yes, I speak from a “chaos created”, life perspective. I get it.

This is also a wake up call for men(and women) all over, to evaluate whether you really want to be married, to examine what you have in your marriage and to be honest about what you want and need. It’s an opportunity to be clear about whether or not, you can be faithful and whether or not you love this person enough to stand in your commitment, faithfully.

At the end of the day, if these stories and exposures don’t make you pause and examine your life and marriage, nothing will. The greatest gifts in all the world are real love, unadulterated trust and a true committed partnership. If you get that, it’s worth more than gold. Don’t sacrifice that, to live a lie or test the water. And conversely, don’t miss out on having that, to maintain an inauthentic, unhappy married life, that drains your soul and kills your joy. We have the power to love better and smarter. It’s up to us to do it.