Friday, November 18, 2016

Crashing On My Feet

Last month, I lost my job very unexpectedly, under circumstances beyond my control. Sounds terrible, right? It was, of course. It was shocking and disorienting and generally uncomfortable. Even though my performance was not at issue, my results were clear and acceptable and I was growing into the role, a decision was made and executed.

It's not personal. It's business.

I took it in stride figuring the executioner didn't want to be doing it anymore than I wanted to have it done to me. I comforted him during the process... even complimented his shirt. He made a comment that he couldn't believe I could still be bright and tell jokes and even compliment his shirt and support him during such a stressful event. 

I told him, "Humor and positivity have served me well in life. As such, there are few moments I look back on that were disastrous. those that were are marked by my failure to maintain a positive outlook". And it really was a nice shirt.

I think the way I handled the circumstance left an impact, as a couple days later, my boss called me back and offered me a lifeboat in the form of a job that used to report to me. Now, I'm with the same old crew, trying to feel my way through the situation and exercise an entirely different skill set, all the while trying to maintain that positive attitude and disposition. It's only my pride that hurts. I'll get over it.

Of course I've been looking for other jobs. While I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity to stay gainfully employed, and I believe the promise of "better things to come" within my organization is a real possibility, I have always been the kind of guy who makes his own luck. Patience was not a gift practiced in my house and I never bothered to pick it up along the way.

I've had a couple interviews this week. The first since this business all began. These are good companies and good jobs within my abilities. But the prospect of being offered any of them leaves me oddly ambivalent. What I have done up to now, what I know how to do best, doesn't really make my crystals vibrate. Sure, there are aspects I truly enjoy, but the bulk of the jobs would be just... bulk.

One of my favorite lines is to say "I don't know what I want to do when I grow up", funny because in a lot of ways I am childlike, but I am also middle aged and should be well and truly on a path by now. Or at least that's how I feel and how I think most people feel.

I have engaged myself in some thought exercises and today I had an epiphany. I really want to help companies go through the process of creating and following a strategic plan. I would spend a few months at each company learning about their business, their model, their people, their customers, culture and processes. Armed with those insights, I would facilitate a two or three day strategic planning session that addresses the way to get a company from where they are to where they want to be. I would go back for follow-ups on a quarterly or semi-annual basis to make sure everyone is doing their part and be a third party voice that would help dismantle croneyism and groupthink, and keep organizations on the shining path they agreed to follow. Or to adjust the plan for reality. Even the best laid plans have to cede to reality.

Who knew at 41, I would finally find a clarity of purpose that also fulfills what I love best and am naturally good at doing? In short, I grew up. But I feel more childlike than ever before because I don't have the first clue on how to break in.

My ideal life is not best explained as long stretches of monotony punctuated by moments of sheer terror. But that is the best way I can describe how I feel about my professional life right now. Being a person bound to faith and positivity, I cling to the concept of "crashing on my feet". In my past, and I have to believe going forward, every slip and misstep has been met, eventually, by opportunities to grow and learn and excel.

Right now, my question is, should I prepare for landing, or try to soar?

I'd love to hear from you if you've been where I am.

1 comment:

  1. Bill.. Great post. You do what gets you up in the morning. If this is what gets the juices flowing, do it. One thing I've learned is life is too short and no one wants our tombstone to read... What if...