In the past two weeks, several close friends have been laid off from their jobs. The layoff wave doesn’t seem to apply to any particular geographic area either, as all of them are in different cities and separate industries. Sadly, they are not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, there are currently 10.3 million people out of work. And with an grim economic outlook, the bottom hasn’t hit yet.
Not to be Pollyanna here, but I sincerely believe anytime a door is closed, we have to look for the open window. If we don’t believe this, how do we get through such difficult times? I’ve never been laid off, but have been fired plenty of times. The last time I was fired was shortly after Shannon McNamara’s murder in 2001. (Guess I wasn’t on my A-game after the murder of a dear friend…go figure.) So at 23 years old I found myself with no job, no money and 1,000 miles away from my support system in Chicago. (I was living in Hoboken, NJ at the time.) And shortly after Shannon’s death, a double whammy hit in the form of two planes flying into the World Trade Center. It seemed my world was being torn apart by violence.
Those are times I am grateful for God or something bigger than the rest of us. In the deepest depression of my life…broke and emotionally broken…I thought a lot about giving up. Feeling afraid, I started training in self-defense and over time I started acquiring certifications to teach it. It occurred to me that especially teen and college women needed some basic tools that could save their life, so I started speaking at schools and colleges, and a speaker’s bureau invited me to join them. And from there, as they say, is herstory.
So why the long-winded re-cap of the worst time in my life? To my friends and fellow Americans who are losing jobs right now, I just want to say I never would have started Girls Fight Back had I not lost my job in 2001. And while it’s been a long road since then, I think it was meant to be. I’m not going to ask you to ‘keep your chin up’ or ‘just get over it.’ Well meaning people say things like this, and are incredibly insensitive. But what I will ask is, “Is it possible there is an open window?”