Navigating the Waves of Career Transition
He understands that most jobs are temporary. I learned this several months ago. I celebrated my 2 month “can-iversary” on New Year’s Day 2014.
I will always remember the day my position was eliminated after 14 successful years with the same organization. Because it happened on my late father’s birthday.
My father taught me the invaluable lesson that no one is indispensable. He’d recite a poem about putting your hand into a bucket of water, removing it, and seeing how much you’re missed.
Sometime when your ego’s in bloom
Sometime when you take it for granted
You’re the best qualified in the room
Sometime when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole
Just follow these simple instructions
And see how they humble your soul
Take a bucket and fill it with water
Put your hand in it up to the wrist
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining
Is a measure of how you will be missed
You can splash all you wish when you enter
You may stir up the water galore
But stop and you’ll find that in no time
It looks quite the same as before
The moral of this quaint example
Is do just the best that you can
Be proud of yourself but remember
There’s no indispensable man
By Saxon White Kessinger
As a kid I pondered this poem and tucked its notion in the recesses of my mind for when I needed it further down the road.
I heeded my father’s advice throughout my career as I was reminded of it continually.
I wasn’t like some colleagues who had copious amounts of personal effects in the workplace. Since every job can be temporary I traveled light. After all, sudden and unexpected job loss happens each and every day.
Just because I’ve known since childhood that everyone is dispensable in the workplace, it didn’t make it easy when the inevitable actually happened to me.
I called Diana, my longtime friend and professional coach, the day after my separation. Her reaction was the one I’ll recall for years to come for it’s quintessential New Jersey tone and timbre.
A confused and resonant – – Whhhaaaaat???
Instead of staying home to lick my wounds, I accepted her invitation to meet her for brunch.
Diana knew I needed a friend. And a coach.
We talked about need to navigate the stages of personal recovery after having the rug pulled out from under you in order to move forward.
The friend told me I had to eat instead of moving my food around the plate.
The coach told me it’s a blip.
Diana’s advice to me can be summed up in a quote that’s attribution remains a matter of mystery and debate:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So through off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
My self-imposed education over the last 2 months has rendered new and shiny tools for my job search tool box:
Impressive Linkedin profile ✔
Awesome resume ✔
Great references ✔
Glowing recommendations ✔
You get the picture.
I’m taking it one wave at a time. After all, tough times do not last; tough people do.
I’m an optimist.
Possibilities will present. Opportunities will arise.
Until then I’m embracing the blip.