With a shock, I stared blankly at my Zoom screen. Tom was quickly talking without making any eye contact (not truly possible with Zoom anyway), and the HR person was awkwardly smiling.
“Good luck” he said, “I’m handing you over to Shirley now.” Then, with a click, he disappeared from my computer screen to leave me alone with Shirley. The whole time she was talking to me, all I could think about was how hard her job must be. Discussing the HR details of an executive layoff face to face even virtually cannot be a fun way to work every day.
Ten minutes later, I turned off my computer and went outside to find my husband. Seeing me, he asked “Did you get your raise?”
“No” I said slowly. “I am being laid off. My job has been eliminated.’
“I am so sorry” he said as he reached out to hug me.
“That’s OK” i said into his shirt as we held tightly onto each other. My words belied the feelings of confusion and shock that washed over me. This was the first time in my professional career that I had to face a situation for which I was totally unprepared.
My life took a very unexpected turn that day in August 2022. There is no good time to lose a job, but we had just stretched ourselves financially to buy a dream cottage at the beach. We also had just become true “empty nestors” with adult children starting in the real world and were looking forward to enjoying our new freedom. I was overwhelmed trying to decide our next steps.
Our lives were very complicated at that time. This blog is about what we did to simplify and improve our lives, and how “having a smaller footprint” became possible and freeing for us. And it all starts with 448 square feet…