Recently, I was helping a business partner work a trade show in Las Vegas. I got a call on Wednesday morning from my boss at the time informing me that I had many months of unexpected vacation coming to me where I didn’t have to work at all (AKA I got laid off)! I was absolutely speechless and don’t think I uttered any word other than “ok” during that entire 10-minute conversation (and can’t really recall what was said after his first statement). While I knew that things were tenuous at work, I was confident that we were making tremendous progress and my boss was very encouraging so even when I found out a couple members of my team were let go, I wasn’t worried. I think I was naïve to the reality of the situation because I was trying to be positive about the chaotic nature of the organization I was working for. Also, the opportunity itself was to build something from the ground up so I assumed we would have been given enough time to complete the task properly. I’ve been in negative corporate situations before and it’s very easy to get caught up in the negative downward spiral; I was determined not to go that route this time but it blinded me to the three-alarm shit show that surrounded me. Thankfully, I was able to go out to my favorite restaurant in Vegas the night before (Emeril’s Delmonico in the Venetian) and let’s just say I took full advantage of the corporate credit card (unbeknownst retroactive payback; burn!).
I always smile when thinking about the line from the movie “Knocked Up” with Seth Rogan when he says in response to the question “don’t you have to go to work?” and the slacker stoner replies “no work… today”. The blow to my ego was massive as I incorrectly believed that if I busted my tail and did all the right things that I would end up OK. But guess what? That’s not reality. Life isn’t fair and doesn’t care that everyone at work speaks well about you. Frankly, I was provided a very generous severance package and am actually in a pretty good position but I couldn’t get the thought out of my head that if I was as good as I thought I was, they would have found a way to keep me. No matter how rational or irrational that thought was, I couldn’t shake it and couldn’t shake that future recruiters would probably have that question about my candidacy as well.
So now I have to live that trite saying “everything happens for a reason”. I can’t help but believe now that there is a plan (that doesn’t involve me sitting in my boxers on my couch drinking beer and eating BBQ all day; although that did seem to happen most days in my first week) and perhaps this was the kick in the ass to do something on my own which I have been planning in my head for years. It’s very interesting; whenever I get too cocky or start believing my own hype, life has a way to humble you but it always does so with a lesson that is sure to stick with you and greatly inform your future decision making. The trick now is not to force anything but be open to everything and try to understand where life is leading. One of my favorite quotes is from Eckhart Tolle which is “you are the dancer, life is the dance”. I wonder what I will be dancing to this time next year (hopefully, it’s not the Macarena)