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We need our jobs for workin’! And for drivin’ to.

13 January 2012

I’ve mentioned my pal TL Tyson on the blog before, and linked to at least one of her vlog entries. Safe to say I’m a fan, and every once in a while, she hits on something I’ve been thinking a bit about. Watch the video, then come on back and we’ll talk. And before you say anything about her hat, remember, she’s in Canada, and it’s winter. It’s like Hoth up there.

Can’t see the video? Linky goodness!

When I was working for Sony Ericsson not so many moons ago (in the far-off year we called “2008”), the company instituted massive layoffs to their American workforce under the cheerily-titled “Corporate Agility Program.” It should have been called the “Here’s the Boot, Here’s Your Ass, Let’s Watch How the Two Come Together” program. They had us all drive off-site to a hotel ballroom, and when after they basically announced that everyone in the room (more than a thousand people) would be losing their jobs in the next couple of months, they opened it up for questions. I don’t remember the questions, specifically, but I do remember that watching the people in the room ask them was one of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen. These people clung to the hope that they would be one of the maybe 10 people keeping their jobs.

Me? I was gone by the end of the week. And I won’t say it didn’t impact my self-esteem. I’d put in tons of overtime at the job, taken on loads of additional responsibilities, and been told many times I was “indispensable.” And I was one of the first ones out the door. The boot came for me quickly. And I responded to it in a very mature manner — I grew a beard, talked to animals, and became so depressing and annoying that my wife essentially (and wisely) kicked me out of the house to go visit my folks in Florida for a week.

And you know what? Losing that job was a great thing. In Florida that week, I finished the first full novel I’d written in almost a decade. Two months later, I was working as a defense contractor, a job I loved to death and directly inspired the 47 Echo universe. I can pretty much thank getting kicked out of that job — one where I felt like I had built tons of job security — for becoming who I am as a writer.

My point here is that, yes, sometimes you will be fired for no good reason, no matter how good a worker you are. And it won’t be easy… but sometimes, that kind of thing needs to happen. And it’s up to you how to handle it. As Luke Skywalker said in Return of the Jedi — “You can either profit by this, or be destroyed.” While it might not seem like it when you lose a job, you are in control of your own destiny. You choose where to go next, and don’t let your job (or lack thereof) define you as a person.

Just don’t grow a nasty-ass beard and talk to animals more than you do to people. That’s my move, G.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 17 January 2012 0954

    I so know the feeling. I had 3 layoffs in a 12 month period (One Job I had been at for 5 or so years). The only GOOD thing about the layoffs, is that by the time I got to where I am now ( and have been for almost 14 years), my salary had gone up by 50%.

    It really does muck your self esteem though. “What the hell is wrong with me !”

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