This idea of the sharp left turn, with or without God in the mix, seems a much better metaphor for those moments in life that not only may seem catastrophic, but also actually (and surprisingly) feel that way too. Such as my sudden unemployment last month when a re-organization at my company eliminated my role. No matter how amicable the parting, and it was 100%, losing my job was still a shock.
The sharp left turn is so much more appropriate than “when one door closes, another one opens,” which, while often accurate, doesn’t address the gut-wrenching feeling that accompanies being laid off.
The uncertainty of #funemployment. The adrenaline rush when the possibilities start to gel into opportunities. The let-down when something doesn’t come through.
The sharp left turn? That’s a survival moment. You made the turn and are moving in the right direction.
Right now, I am still smack dab in the middle of the turn. No longer looking back, just looking forward but not entirely sure when the turn will end. Or where.
But I think back to the last time I was laid off in a reorganization in 2004.
I had spent 10 years doing basically the same thing. Moving through various roles from Director to Senior Vice President. for multiple companies, as organizations were acquired. But in the end, I spent 10 years promoting internet filtering software to protect children from porn and corporate productivity from, well, also porn. And shopping, which is porn of a different sort I suppose. This was back in the earliest days of the commercial Internet. Before blogs. Before social media. Before WiFi.
It was time for a change. I didn’t want to simply go to work in marketing for another B2B/B2C software company. So I decided to build a consulting practice.
One of the very first things I did was attend an American Marketing Association (AMA) panel on blogging. And found my future.
My consulting practice quickly morphed from general sales and marketing to helping companies large and small integrate blogging and social media into their business strategy. I spoke at the first BlogHer conference in 2005, and met some of the best friends and colleagues I have ever had. I was privileged to write Professional Blogging For Dummies for Wiley, co-founded Blog With Integrity, and spoke at conferences all over the country about social media and marketing.
In 2010, my trajectory led to my dream job with BlogHer in New York.
It has been an amazing seven years. Creating successful branded content and influencer marketing programs for brands. Collaborating with my colleagues to create some of the very first social media marketing programs on Twitter and Facebook. Helping thousands of women make money with their social media presence. Partnering with team-mates to integrate BlogHer products and services when we were acquired by SheKnows in 2014. Developing strategies for scaling influencer content beyond the original blog or social post. Creating models for performance and predictive analytics for branded content, native media and influencer marketing.
August 2017: Sharp left. Still in the turn. Looking forward to the road ahead.
Hat tip to Suzy Soro, the Facebook friend who shared the anecdote.