Several years ago, for the second time in my career, I found myself cast aside by a company to which I had dedicated 12 years of my life. The first company was after 15 years. I was faced with the sad reality that no matter how hard you work, how much time in your life you give, or how much of your life you miss while being out the road serving your company, it does not matter. When your number is up at the end of the day you were still only a number.
My work ethic that I learned from my grandmother has always served me well. I was the guy that gets top annual reviews. I got repeated promotions and additional levels of responsibility that permitted me to climb the ladder faster than most. So, when I unexpectedly reached the end of the road at both those company’s, I started to question myself and what I was doing wrong. I stopped believing in myself and wondered if there was something inside me that was contributing to these long periods at a company coming to an end.
Heaven knows I did a lot of self reflection. Both times the company that I left was not the same company that I had started with. The entrepreneurial spirit that I thrived in had given way to bureaucracy and red tape as the companies grew, that was more stifling than exciting. I didn’t do well in environments where innovation and creating on the fly gave way to committees, endless meetings and delays in deliverables, as that entrepreneurial spirit dissipated. So, in a way my inability to adapt to these new situations probably contributed somewhat to my exits in a round about way. However, the company’s inability to assist me in coping with these new environments was also a major factor.
It only stands to reason that going from the top of the heap to the bottom of the pile after so many years of service starts to take a toll on you psyche and causes self reflection on your worth. You start to question your capabilities, your skills, your ability to adapt and most of all your contribution to the working world. It was a tough time. It was also a time when my partner as usual came to the rescue and gave me back this magnet that I had given them during a difficult period in their working career. That helped put it all back into perspective.
When we start to question ourselves and stop believing in who we are and what we are capable of doing, we need to dig deep and reevaluate. We are not defined by what happens to us. Neither corporate America’s decision that they no longer need us or what others think of us truly defines who we are. All we have to do is believe in ourselves and understand our own abilities.
I am in a much better place now. All companies have their faults, but I believe I am in a place that truly cares about its people and it is refreshing to be here again in what I hope to be this last work chapter in my life. I also run the Bring Smiles to Seniors program that I founded which nourishes and fulfills me in ways that corporate America never could. Most of all, I do believe in myself and all that I am. I know and remember that there is something inside me that is greater than any obstacle. That today is my wish for you as well.
Have a great weekend and remember to be the reason someone smiles.
NOTE: I will be away until July 31st. During this time my blog will be posting some of my previous posts for your enjoyment. New posts will begin again on July 31st while I take a little creative down time to recharge.