Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Grinder, Part III: Quicksand

This post could easily have been titled, "You Are Obsolete" in honor of a classic Twilight Zone episode because for a while I felt like Burgess Meredith's character. There was never supposed to be a Grinder, Part III. It was a total shocker to find myself where I am. Inevitably, there will now have to be a Grinder, Part IV: Resurrection because as I've written before, I'm not going all the way to the bottom of the barrel before I get a grip. I've inadvertently created my own Rocky franchise, I think.

So what happened? After nearly 30 years as a productive contributor, the firm I worked for unexpectedly let me go. Surprise! The details and circumstances surrounding my departure are far less important than the lessons I've been forced to learn as a result. I'd never been unemployed before so it was completely new terrain. Though it was basically an amicable divorce, and I handled it calmly, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't absolutely terrified. I'm convinced it'll be the best thing to happen to me, but over one year later I'm still navigating the harsh landscape.

Meanwhile, all the Cornerstones are being tested simultaneously. It's scary. Real scary. The first one to crumble was Loyalty. I was let go matter-of-factly, a course of doing business. That's fine. I get it. But my loyalty was completely ignored. Did you ever see the movie Up In the Air with George Clooney? I never imagined my departure taking place like that. My sacrifice and contribution was repaid with cavalier disregard. It hurt, like it should. One year later, Sacrifice and Patience are less conscious choices and more imposed sentences. Perseverance & Determination remain intact but are battered daily. My Faith has been tested. But Discipline still sustains me. It is the bedrock. The lessons of Humility are gut-wrenching, but always worth the struggle.

Unexpectedly, calm has prevailed. I'm still wondering how that is. I think it's because the whole experience has taught me Clarity. I lost my job. Big deal, it's just a job. I'm not the first nor will I be the last. I had to reexamine the bigger Life questions I thought I'd already answered. Which sacrifices are worthwhile? What truly matters? My relationships also got clarified. Support came from unlikely sources, while expected sources of support were nonexistent.

My simple goal is to emerge in better shape than before.  Prove they made a mistake letting me go. That's my way of retribution, I guess. For certain, it's been a bigger challenge than I thought it would be. But I'm on my way. I started my own literary and business consulting LLC, write actively, and immersed myself in volunteer activities. I'm also traditionally employed, but my heart desires to return to the financial fray. I have a whole another career in me. What I don't have is a surrender flag. Stay tuned for Part IV.

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