Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

Displaying Entrepreneurism

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

Displaying Entrepreneurism

Article excerpt

My profession was in-store and window display, dressing mannequins in the fashion departments for one of Canada's largest retail stores. I affectionately called this playing "Barbie Dolls." Many years later I switched to playing "House". Which was setting up and co-coordinating living room, dining room, and bedroom sets in retail furniture stores. Selecting rugs, pictures, linens, lamps, and accessories to compliment each room set.

Just after my 52nd birthday I was offered a Visual Presentation Supervisor position with a much larger pay cheque, and perks such as accessory buying trips to Las Vegas. Finally after 30 years in retail display, I had gotten my dream job!

However the next accomplishment was a little harder. It was the task of getting over the devastation of being laid off from that dream job that I held for only two short years. The economy reared its ugly head and, over the last year of employment, it was my task to gradually dwindle down the entire display staff. Then, with no warning, I was the next to go (though some might say I should have "seen it coming.")

Humiliated, discouraged, and angry, it took a long time to get out and face people again. I found it amazing how my work meant so much to me, and defined my identity. I was lost, lonely, and had no idea what to do next. I felt worthless. Day after day I beat myself up over what I did wrong, or what I should have done. I filled my days with cleaning closets, de-cluttering, painting walls, filing for employment insurance (E.I.), and basically jumping through hoops and more hoops. I applied for job after job. Getting very disheartened, I never realized how being over fifty would impact my ability to get the type of job I was looking for. It was hard enough that I was in such a specialized job category, and one that, during slow economic times, was the first to be deemed as un-necessary. I had never in my life, ever, had trouble getting the job I wanted.

Financial worries kept me up at night. Tossing and turning, my head pounded with worry, stress, and thoughts of how I could become successfully self-employed. As the days passed with no responses to any of my resumes, I became more dejected, and the feeling of uselessness filled my heart.

Some days even consisted of me doubting myself as a good mother. I felt that, at this stage in our lives, my husband and I should have been helping our sons with their challenges of young family life. As well, we should have been going on trips and cruises by now... not working ten hour days, or worrying about mortgages, and bills. I just couldn't seem to kick the constant negative thinking.

Gary, my husband, a handsome man, four years my junior with the most amazing unforgettable smile, tried so hard to be supportive and compassionate. Each day it became more difficult for him to drag himself to work, while I stayed home. He was feeling all the financial pressure on his shoulders, and those shoulders were getting very tired. He was trying to understand, trying to help in some way. He knew E.I. was running out soon, and I'd be bringing zero dollars through the door. Day by day the house got quieter. I found myself afraid to ask how his day at work was. The guilt of being home all day, doing "nothing" was overwhelming.

I'd clean, water the yard, read self help books, practice my typing skills, attempted to learn excel, and even tried to start an exercise routine. Every day I would check the internet for job postings and information on self employment options. I made notes on how to start a business, wrote down goals, and set dates and action plans on where to begin and how to proceed. Every time I got on a roll, self doubt haunted me. It seemed that worrying had become a daily habit. Morning, noon, and night, worry, worry, worry, with a good helping of guilt. Then I'd worry some more.

I think I went a little stir crazy being alone so much. I'd talk out loud to myself saying sternly, "You can do it, Chris, you can do it. …

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