“I just got an invite for a Friday afternoon meeting with my career counselor [like a mentor] and the H.R. director,” I said to my wife.
“Uh, oh. It is never a good thing when H.R. is invited to a meeting.”
It was actually scheduled for the last day of the month too. I wouldn’t have been so nervous except that a good friend of mine was laid off only weeks before me. He was on vacation when he got a similar invitation. When he saw that H.R. was invited, it was the kiss of death.
“I’ve been laid off…”
The call was fast.
I made a little small talk with the H.R. director since I knew her from years back when we would recruit at colleges during their career fairs. My career counselor spoke up and delivered a pretty concise script.
The main points:
- My position has been eliminated.
- The new organization didn’t need my skills.
I could argue the points above, but the results would have been the same.
But it turned out that I wasn’t too sad about being laid off – it’s a good thing!
We don’t have a lot of time on this earth! We weren’t meant to spend it this way! Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about mission statements!
– Peter Gibbons, Office Space
Why is this a good thing?
I believe this is great overall. While it is exceedingly exciting and equally terrifying, I am certain that in a year I will be better off personally and professionally.
I thought about it a lot, and if I look at the “successful” people in my industry that are 5, 10, or 15 years ahead of me, I don’t see happiness. They look pretty miserable and seem to be letting their most productive years pass them by.
I am reminded of the story in the 4-Hour Work Week of the fat bald man in a red mid-life-crisis-BMW convertible. The fat bald man is so bored with life that he succumbs to buying the red BMW.
If I wanted to be ranked in the top 5 to 10% of the company, I would need to bang out 60 hour weeks over and over again, work weekends, and holidays. In fact, I have done this and have still not been one of the so-called “top performers.” If you aren’t a top performer, then your raises are nominal at best and when adjusted for inflation are reductions in pay. Raises don’t even keep up with inflation.
It is good because I don’t have excuses anymore. I own my own destiny.
When things go well, then I can rest assured that I am the reason.
When something fails, I own that too.
I owned my success and failure before too, but it didn’t seem like it. I could always make excuses about corporate politics or the most recent reorg.
To Be Continued…
Instead of updating my resume and getting another corporate job, I will be making a go at entrepreneurship full-time.
No more excuses.
What about you?
Have you been laid off? Let me know in the comments, and tell me about it. I would definitely appreciate it!