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The life event that made me want to change careers was being laid off from an energy company that I worked at for over ten years.

The company was amazing, the benefits were insane, and the pay was several steps above anywhere else I had worked before.

I consistently got rave reviews at my evaluations, which happened twice a year (and came with a sizable bonus).

Then things started to go south. The CEO/founder was cast out by the stockholders and the guy they got to replace him was a penny-pincher. He immediately started shuttering whole divisions.

One morning, shortly before 9 am, I got a call on my office phone and asked to come to a surprise meeting. I crammed into a room with 80% of the people in my division, and we got the news that we were going to lose our job.

I couldn’t take it personally, because I was sitting beside most of the people who I worked with, including my direct supervisor. That day, the company let over a thousand people go.

One day I had a great job, a job that I figured I would have forever, and the next day I was unemployed.

This was one event, but it wasn’t an isolated incident.

Over the course of twenty years, I experienced much the same thing, over and over again. I had a good job, consistently got amazing reviews for my work, then, for one reason or another (two jobs were contract gigs and the companies didn’t find new work, another replaced my position with a robot… no kidding, and another went out of business) — for one reason or another, they let me go.

I was doing great work. I got raises and praises. But my hard work didn’t protect me from the ax. I was completely expendable to these companies. They used me up and then let me go.

And then there was the career of my dad.

Much like what I experienced, my dad consistently got bonuses and accolades for his work. Then, just as consistently, he was axed when the company decided to go in another direction.

What I’ve learned from this is that companies rarely appreciate what you’ve done to build them up. And when they’re through with you, then they will not hesitate to let you go.

Now let me be clear. I’m not the sort of person who believes that companies are bad, or they shouldn’t be focused on profit, and I completely understand that sometimes they have to take a step back and restructure things to survive. That’s fine. I get it.

But, I can also say that most of the time, your hard work and loyalty mean very little to big corporations. It’s a fact of life that you’re expendable unless you’re running the show.

So, I decided that it was time for me to run the show.

Now I’m a writer, consultant, photographer, artist, and wear several other hats.

My plan has been to create multiple streams of income that will keep me afloat while I build my various businesses.

It’s not easy. And I still have a long way to go before my finances are stable.

But what I know right now is that the work and dedication I put into my various businesses are appreciated and will reward me in the long term. I am not expendable.

And I also know that if the ax is coming for me again, at least it won’t be a surprise.

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