A year ago, I lost my job. I was great at it, it made me happy, and it broke my heart to have it taken from me. It was a lonely experience that I don’t wish on anyone, but I’m going to share it anyway, in case you see it happen to someone else.
Everyone chooses their priorities, and as long as you’re not hurting anyone, I pass no judgment on what is right or wrong. I especially don’t hold to the notion of there being one right path to follow. If we’re all on the same path, we’re all going to end up in the same place, and the scenery will be really boring.
Life needs diversity, which means we each get to play a special role in it. That is how we teach children about the concept of work: each person has a job to do within society. And because I’ve chosen to be a stay-at-home mom at times, let me remind you that not earning a paycheck doesn’t mean that you don’t have a job. Everyone’s contribution matters.
We have times in life when we are ready to break through our current comfort zone. I am a religious person, and I firmly believe that I have been blessed with the right opportunity at the right time, again and again. I call these gifts the answers to my prayers. I’m totally ok with you calling them something else: coincidence, synergy, “the Universe”. It happens, and it feels like magic.
It is incredibly flattering to get accepted into the school of your choice, or the job of your dreams, especially when you had to aim high and prepare for it. No matter how old we get, we have a need to belong, to be part of a team. Getting the call to be an active player in the game of your choice is a time for celebration. Then, the real fun starts, when you have to prove yourself.
At all times, be prepared to stop what you’re doing and explain exactly what you’re doing, and how you’re bringing value to the team. A brilliant performance may be attributed to a lucky day or even digital manipulation, by those who don’t understand your skill or style. Even when you’re in the middle of an important project, make time to reiterate your goal and communicate your plan. If you recruit helpers, and are prepared to share the credit, you will exceed even your own lofty goals.
Nevertheless, there are times when you will be misunderstood. You may find that people are actually, actively sabotaging you. There is nothing you can do to stop people from being jealous of you. So be careful, but don’t be discouraged. You know your value. Share what you know with people who want to learn from you, and you will be stronger together.
When the storm has passed, and you have reached your destination, there will again be time for celebration. This is the end of a beginning, and something new must soon begin. Celebrate each beginning and each end, rationally and emotionally. Congratulate yourself, but remember you didn’t make it through alone. Who was there to pick you up and dry your tears? Who were your cheerleaders? Who gave you the honesty you needed at the time you didn’t want to hear it? Who introduced you to all the right people? Who helped you find your next job? Do you see how blessed you are?
If you have a significant other, a child, a pet, a special plant, hug them, tight and often, because they don’t get to choose whether or not they come with you on this unexpected ride. If you have friends who are helping you weather the storm, thank them. Say THANK YOU until they ask you to stop, and then thank them some more, because they don’t have to be there for you. They are making a choice. That is why I wrote this: to thank YOU.