Honestly I am glad it happened. To show you how Allah (God) works, miraculously the layoff came a day before I was going to put in my two weeks’ notice. The reason I was putting in my two weeks’ notice in the first place was that I was tired of Corporate America and was going to work for myself 100% for the rest of my life. Back in June of this year I made a move from one company to another large company in order to become their Senior Accountant. I was enticed by the pay, benefits, and the challenge. However, as many of you know, I also had my own accounting and financial management business going as well. My previous job allowed me the flexibility to be able to pull this off. But at the back of my mind I knew that I would be more fulfilled if I worked for myself 100%.
When I took the new job in June I was responsible for the accounting/financial management on a 29 property Class A commercial real estate portfolio based on the East Coast. After about two months I then took over another portfolio for some real estate investors based in Germany for the company. Needless to say the stress, lack of sleep and time with family was piling on. I eventually had to let my own business endeavors go in order to continue building someone else’s dream.
At the beginning of November I began to become very despondent and fed up. It showed in my work. After all I was working past five o’clock every day, and during month-end-close, I was pulling 10 and 12 hour days for a week. Quality time with my family was gone and my relationship with friends was suffering. The nature of corporate America is that the better you perform the more is heaped on you with no extra compensation. This may not be true in all professions within the corporate environment, but I have been in Management and Accounting positions and I know it is true for these positions.
In summary, I began to call brothers I knew who were entrepreneurs. I seriously wanted to quit and work for myself regardless of how much or less money I made. I knew I would be more fulfilled and whole as a person. I was getting some excellent advice. I knew Allah (God) was guiding me every step of the way. The true realization came during the Eid Khutbah (presentation) by Imam Wazir Ali. After his introduction and praising Allah (God), he began talking about the need for us to become self-employed! He talked about how it would give us the flexibility to attend important community events without feeling pressured. I was saying to myself, “Khalis you are blessed with numerous talents, you just finished your Masters in Business Administration, you know how to build businesses!” I was also listening to Imam Faheem Shuaibe’s (Oakland,CA) latest talks on Urban Economic Prosperity here :http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/10355594. Previously, I was held back by what holds everyone back, FEAR. Would I make enough money soon enough to be able to support my family without depleting emergency savings, etc? After the Eid presentation, many duas and with the full backing and support of my wife, I had decided to put my letter of resignation in Friday (yesterday). Little did I know I would get called in on Thursday to be laid off. On Tuesday at the masjid, I was talking with another brother that was “laid off” recently. We were talking about the importance of self employment as a result of Imam Wazir brief comments about it.
After being called into HR (Human Resources) office I was given my notice. “Khalis we know you are a very hard worker, but you have been kind of out of it lately. You have really been struggling lately. You missed a very important deadline on Tuesday with our German investors and this is unacceptable. We are going to have to let you go.” (I was acting like I was sad on the outside but boy was I jumping for joy.) “We will allow you to get unemployment compensation and will give you an additional two weeks of pay.” (Oh Allah thank you!)
The deadline I missed was on Tuesday (Eid Adha). I did actually forget about it, so that is my fault. I went back to the office on Tuesday late and got the financial report finished emailed to Germany. I worked until about 8P.M. that day. This is when I made the decision to resign on Friday.
I am truly grateful. I came home that day and said, “Honey guess what?!, I got laid off!” We laughed jumped up and down and thanked Allah (God). Some would say we are crazy as hell. I know that unemployment will only pay about 50% of what I was actually making. I am not worried, as I will just have to simplify, tighten the budget and work hard at building business. I thought it would be a great story to add to the story book of my life, but most importantly to encourage you to never stop trusting and having faith in Allah (God). Push your children to not just graduate from college and get a job, but encourage them into entrepreneurship, education, nonprofit work or the humanities. They will be more fulfilled. Allah (God) has given me the ability to take back my time and my life.
If you have an entrepreneurial streak in you, go for it.
“If you trust in Allah as it ought to be, He will provide sustenance for you as He provides sustenance for the bird which goes forth early in the morning with hunger in its belly but returns in the evening with its stomach full.” – Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin