Three Lessons in Life

Many may not know this, but I was laid off on April 2nd by my previous employer of fourteen years. Some of you may be thinking this is going to be a post where I rip into my employer for the “wrongs” I feel were done to me. This is not that post, nor would I publicly slander a company.

Instead, I will tell you of the truths that were confirmed to me over the years.

1) People are the only true asset.

People are worth the investment, not for what they can give you in return, but because by serving others you yourself (can) gain an immeasurable amount of understanding and insight into your own being. It matters why you serve. Do you serve so others will see you and praise you? Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions about yourself and seek counsel from others who are wiser, more humble than you. Lastly, you cannot save anyone. I learned this lesson in a hard way that will forever stay with me, which is a post for another time.

2) You work for a supervisor/boss, not the company.

A company is a lifeless and ambiguous entity. It is a legal strawman of some type that protects the people that govern the business. It is the people who give it movement, culture, and ultimately life. You are sought after initially by a person who sees value in you and for what you can bring to the company. A person will be placed over you as a supervisor or boss, no matter your position or role; Intern, analyst, manager, director, vice president, C level, or even board. There will always be someone you are accountable to. Remind yourself of this when necessary so that you do not mistake accountability and responsibility for leadership, mentorship, and value. The two account for your responsibility to the entity and what they pay you to perform or do. The three account for a human relationship for which there is no monetary articulation.

3) You are only responsible for what you say, do, and sometimes what you think.

You and you alone are responsible for what you say and do. You cannot pawn this responsibility off on another just as you cannot take on another’s trauma. (See narcist) If you are in a situation that has high emotional stakes, it is ok to remain silent, step away, and/or disconnect to center yourself. You are not required to give an answer to anyone off the cuff. Take time to think through your words or write them down. Once the words leave your mouth or your fingertips you cannot retract them. Take ownership of what you do, even if it isn’t your most glorious moment, in which case, do not fear meekness. Ask forgiveness and do not wait for others to forgive you, you could be waiting an eternity. Forgiveness does not depend on the other person, but rather on the state of your heart. As for your thoughts, thoughts lead to action, action leads to habit. Many thoughts are fleeting and are not worthy of deeper contemplation. Developing an understanding of which are which is profitable.

At first, when I heard those words from someone I tried to do a great job for, I was devastated and was immediately surrounded by thoughts of self-doubt, worthlessness, and self-pity. “After being in the same company for so many years, how am I relevant to the workforce now?” I have always been a hustler (as the young folk say), ensuring that I do everything in my power to provide for those I love. This time, however I had the stark realization that I have what I have because of God and only God. He gives me breath, He gives me a new day, and He provides all things for my benefit, even the painful ones. It is by His Holy providence that all things are and that includes me. Instead of immediately flooding LinkedIn and other avenues seeking work, I began to pray. I began to ask for His will to be done and to poor out my insecurities to Him. The days ahead I focused on my school finals, gardening, Church, and family.

On June first, I begin a new chapter with a fantastic group of people as part of small but rapidly growing consulting outfit (whose name I may reveal at a later date). This opportunity is nothing short of God’s mercy and grace upon me through His providence. I am excited for what comes next and grateful for what has been. If you are going through a layoff or dealing with tough situations within the workspace, I pray that this provides you with a slightly different perspective and maybe even comfort. Our time here is so very short, let us not waste it in vain pursuits +

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