Marketing and more: Thank you for my pink slip

Brenda Coogan. Courtesy photo.
Brenda Coogan. Courtesy photo.

The economy is booming, but that doesn’t mean companies don’t have layoffs. A division could be closing, stores or units might be merging, a product could be phasing out, or headquarters is relocating to a low tax state (such as Mitsubishi Motors of North America leaving Cypress for Nashville). Layoffs in a flourishing economy with historically low unemployment usually results in employees quickly securing another position.

Sometimes an unexpected layoff brings exciting new opportunities that wouldn’t have occurred amidst the drudgery of a full-time position.

October 4 was my two-year anniversary of being laid off after nearly 19 years of employment with the company. By the time I arrived for my “confidential meeting,” the purpose was already known throughout the department as others had already been pink-slipped.

Excited about future options, my exuberance was low key since affected employees needed to immediately secure another job. And I knew exactly how they felt having received my share of pink slips over a 40+ career.

In the late 1980s, Larry and I had a redeye flight to Orlando for a one-week vacation. That morning I stopped by the office to complete some projects only to learn that the small company was having another round of layoffs. It was so “thoughtful” of the CEO (who I had worked with for nearly a decade and even had his young children sleep over at my house) to lay me off as I was readying for my trip!

Confident I would secure a better position, we had one of our best vacations. Sure enough, within a few months I accepted a superior position with higher pay at a prestigious national company located in an affluent area of Orange County.

Yet my most “memorable” layoff was during the 1994 recession as it occurred a few weeks after my husband lost his job. Within one month we went from two healthy paychecks to two unemployment checks. Oy gevalt!

Knowing better days were ahead, I insisted that we trade in our older car and buy a new model. Not when one of us found a new job. Not when both of us found new jobs. But right now! That day!

At the dealership, the salesman’s eyes widened in surprise when we completed the loan application, both writing “unemployed.” Yes, we got the sparkling new car!

And yes, we both went on to secure better positions.

Most important, since this wasn’t our first go-around at being laid off, the situation convinced us that we should never again be at the sole mercy of a corporation for our entire income stream. With years of experience as humane volunteers and our immense love for animals, we started Royal Care Pet Sitting. While having scaled back the business since retiring, we continue to pet sit for fur-parents who live in northwest Orange County.

Retirement has meant full control of my life with freedom to spend days with my hubby, pooch and friends. It’s allowed me to increase my political efforts to Keep America Great with a surge of involvement with Republican Women Federated.

Even with trips on the agenda – locally or beyond – there’s ample time to handle publicity for several non-profit organizations, write articles for various publications and speak on various topics.

This Robin is as free as a bird!

Brenda’s “Younique” Opportunity

My friend and former coworker Brenda Coogan found herself unexpectedly laid off one year following my pink slip. After shedding a few tears, Brenda took inventory of her life and realized she had numerous opportunities to do something entirely different and exciting, which would bring her much more financial and personal satisfaction than staring at a computer screen all day.

The answer was literally as clear as the nose on her face. In fact, it was on Brenda’s face!

Whenever anyone complemented Brenda on her makeup or great skin, she always shared that it was Younique. She wasn’t promoting Younique, she was just honestly answering inquisitive questions because she truly adored the product and company. Women do that all the time. “Who does your hair?” “Where did you buy those shoes?” “Your lashes look great, what brand of mascara do you use?”

With no desire to go back into the corporate world Brenda wondered if she could go from Younique customer cheerleader to Younique beauty consultant. After all, she believed in Younique’s skin care and makeup products, having used them for several years with great results.

“My desire was to find a source of income that would allow me to work from home, work anywhere without territory assignments and work flexible hours,” Brenda explained. “The day after my layoff I realized that just three months earlier I had purchased the Younique starter kit from the company, which meant I was already a distributor/independent contractor.”

Interestingly, when Brenda made that purchase it was to receive a discount on all future purchases since she was a regular Younique customer. The last thing on her mind was to become an independent contractor. After all, her full-time corporate job seemed “secure.”

As secure as any job can be in a company that has regular layoffs and is rumored to soon be relocating to a low tax state.

“Once I made the decision, the next step was social media where through creative posts and entertaining videos, I share my journey,” Brenda said. “Maintaining healthy skin and wearing makeup only takes a few minutes each day but is very important to building confidence. My videos encourage women to look their very best whether they are meeting friends for lunch or facilitating a corporate meeting.”

Committed to success, Brenda attended the 2019 Younique annual conference in Orlando and was dazzled by the company’s outstanding growth and its exceptional positioning for the future. She recently surpassed a company sales goal and will be taking an all-expenses paid Younique sponsored Bahamas cruise with her husband Gordon where Brenda will meet other successful representatives.

Thank you for letting me go

Some well-known and accomplished entrepreneurs started on their successful path following a painful layoff or firing.

  • J.K. Rowling – She was laid off from her secretarial job after ten months when the boss found her writing fiction while at work. Rather than quickly seek other employment to pay the bills, Rowling lived on her severance check while writing the first Harry Potter book.
  • Walt Disney – In 1919, the man who created a cartoon series that inspired the mega media conglomerate The Walt Disney Company, lost his job at the Kansas City Star because he supposedly lacked imaginative ideas.
  • Oprah Winfrey – She remains the most successful female talk show host in television history. Yet when Winfrey was a TV news reporter in Baltimore, she was let go after nearly eight months because the producer thought she was too emotionally invested in her news stories.
  • Mark Cuban – From Dallas Mavericks basketball to TV’s Shark Tank, he is an entrepreneurial success story. However, in the 1980s Cuban was laid off from his computer salesman position since he spent more time working on the computers than selling them.

For Brenda, me and millions of others who were once given our walking papers, the key to finding success following a job separation is to remain confident and believe in your skills, talent and personality. Having a booming economy (thank you President Donald Trump) is immensely helpful, too!


  1. Nothing can beat a positive mental attitude. My favorite speech is Winston Churchill’s seven word message to some college students: Never give up. Never, never give up. We get what we expect to get. Expect success!

  2. I certainly relate to these stories as follows:
    After completing a Rehabilitation Program, my son got a $13 hourly job at a Warehouse in LA County where he was laid off when management learned of his prior record. Without skipping a beat, my son followed through on ” a lead ” he received from a friend about a month previously. He then got a new job selling insurance and now earns a salary with benefits and a percentage of everything he sells. Just yesterday, he purchased a BMW! AND that makes me one very proud mom!!!!

  3. You are really a strong woman and an inspiration, Robin. I enjoy reading your articles. In between lines I see your Republican side, not to depend on anything that we cannot control is one and looking to create and be free! Thank you and Bravo. I will share it with my millennial sons!

  4. Great stories of understanding the value of changes that help identify personal strengths and values. I got fired a few times in my career that substantiated my work ethics/values vs. company management’s lack of same. Provided insight on evaluating future job opportunities.

  5. Wonderful!

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