Or How I Got a Swift Kick in the AssIt’s been just over two months since I got laid off. Last week I turned in my final paperwork at Yahoo. I also did an interview with the NY Times to talk about how social media helps people who are back out looking for work again. And, as I’m prone to do, I Twittered about it. And the first reply came from @hci:

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And that got me thinking. First of all, she’s right. That is a weird branding vibe. But it’s not really about that I got laid off, it’s more about what I do next because of it. I’m far from unemployed right now. I’m loving what I do now more than I ever have.”Getting laid off” has a negative connotation. Which I get. One day you’re a productive wage earning member of society, the next day you’re unemployed. No purpose. No money. Misery. Depression. Unemployment checks. There’s this pathetic vibe that comes with that, and I think that’s what Cindy was associating me with.But let’s flip that around. Two months ago, I was doing what I had to do. Now I’m doing what I want to do. And looking back, it was a change I’d always wanted to make, but as long as I was drawing a steady paycheck, I didn’t see it as a change that I could afford to make–for me or for my family. Looking long term, I’m not sure it was a decision I could afford not to make.Getting laid off forced me to make the change that I’d always wanted to make anyways. And it may work out or it may not. But the point is that I’ve made that change now. I’m doing what I’m passionate about. I’m building things. I’m meeting people. There is no bureaucracy anymore. My future success depends entirely on me.Over the past few months, I’ve found myself talking quite a bit about what happened to me. It’s been very therapeutic. And it’s also had its benefits in that it’s brought with it some recognition and the opportunity to meet some people I’d never have met otherwise. There’s been this inverse curve where the closer I was to the day, the more I talked and thought about it. I still talk and think about it, but in a much different context. Now the context is the amazing opportunity I’ve been given whereas then it was about what I’d lost.Thanks to everyone who has been a part of things for the past few months. Sometimes, you just need a swift kick in the ass to get moving–this morning, my wife called it “forced change.” There’s that old saying that it’s not what happens to you, but what you do about what happens to you that matters. I’m hoping to make the best of this opportunity.If you were forced to make a change, what would you do? Why are you waiting?

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