Well, my impending lay-off finally happened. Although you might expect that I’d be crying in my beer about it, I’m not. I’m actually very happy…elated really. Sure, financially, it would be better to be fully employed, and the timing isn’t so great (is there ever a good time to get laid off?) but emotionally and career wise, this couldn’t have happened to a better person. Granted, I loved a lot of things about my job, but I actually love much more that my job did not afford me the opportunity to do. And now, I finally get the chance to give some of those things a fair shot and spend my time on the things that I really want to focus on. Of course there are aspects of my recent career that I will continue to incorporate into my new found future, but I have many other passions that I’m dieing to tap into (Sheer Balance being one of them!).
Although most people in my company were dismayed at my office’s decision, I saw it coming and was very ready for it. I even cleaned out my desk the day before it happened. You could say I was a bit over-prepared. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, were some of my co-workers’ reactions. I found myself consoling my colleagues about my status, rather than the other way around. And, no matter how much positivity I expressed, certain colleagues were in short, dumbfounded. And even though I was quick to assure them that this was good for me…that it was a blessing in disguise…that ‘when one door closes, another opens’…that it is a new chapter…and that I was excited for this change…a few people just couldn’t accept it.
This was crazy! Somehow, my joy was their sorrow. My excitement was their disappointment. My lay-off was their loss. When I expressed my confusion to my closest colleague about this phenomenon, he very clearly stated, “Brett, for some people, work is their life. And even though they have family, work is really everything to them. That is why they see this as so devastating. You on the other hand, are balanced. You have your company, hobbies, a social life and other things that give you purpose.”
His statement really hit me. First of all, although I might own a company called “Sheer Balance”, in no way do I think I’m actually balanced. Second, I have spent my whole life wanting to get involved in everything, that in certain ways, I have felt that I have actually been involved in nothing (Can you say over achiever?). Ironically, my ‘nothingness’ has given me the gift of everything.
It makes sense, right? Those people who dedicate every waking moment to one thing, would be completely devastated if that one thing was taken away from them. Yet, those individuals who are less focused on a single purpose, but rather are passionate about multiple things, can be at peace if one of the many passions go away. I never really thought about it, but having a well-rounded life, is akin to the old adage of ‘don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.’
I have to thank my parents for this. Growing up, they were quick to get me involved in many things. If it wasn’t choir, it was orchestra. If it wasn’t orchestra it was tennis. If it wasn’t tennis, it was horseback riding. Their parenting made me the crazy, passionate, over zealous, “I want to do and experience everything” person that I am today. Although I couldn’t understand it at the time, I realize now more than ever, that being an extremely active child and being given the opportunity to be so, was one of the best gifts and one of the best lessons that they ever taught me. And I’m truly thankful for that.
Have you been laid off? How did you feel? Do you see this as a new opportunity or as a devastating blow?