“So, we’re going to terminate you. Effective immediately.”
— My former “manager”
This moment is replaying over and over again in my head like I used to do with my favorite songs in high school.
Only it’s full of trauma instead of fond memories.
Today, I lost my job
Someday I will go into the details of what happened. For now, though, I have only two goals:
- Let my wife and I feel the pain and suffering of the choices that led to this.
- Learn how to support my family by my writing only. My aim within this goal is to see how fast I can work my way up to earning what I was previously so that I can just keep writing.
Obviously, number 2 is going to be much more fun. It’s actually what’s kept me smiling at various moments throughout the day, along with a healthy dose of positive psychology.
But I just can’t get the pain to leave enough to let me get going.
Again, it’s that moment when my “manager” decided the company had had enough of me. Playing over and over again in my mind. And then comes the pain, over and over again.
I wonder how I can replace it with a better thought.
But then I realize that I don’t have to, and I feel a lot better.
I’ve learned recently that part of our problem as humans is that we don’t let ourselves feel enough. Including traumatic experiences like losing a job. I used to be terrible at compassion, towards myself and others. But I’m really grateful now that I’ve been learning it in so many places recently.
For example, after telling my wife today that I had lost my job, I just let her feel the pain. I cried with her. I told her I know it’s hard. I had to literally swallow to keep myself from trying to tell her why it’ll be alright.
And I’ll tell you, I know exactly how to fix it. I could have immediately told her how “alright” I know it’s going to be. I’ll get to that in a minute.
But when you’re in the middle of a traumatic experience, you don’t want to hear that it’s going to be alright.
You just want to feel the pain.
You need to feel that pain.
You need the validation that comes from knowing that it’s alright to feel like your world is ending. You need to understand your pain before you can do anything about it.
How are you supposed to understand something that you immediately try to smother?
This is a lot of the problem with politics, racism, sexism, and many of our big world issues today. We don’t let people feel enough. And we sure as heck don’t feel with them enough either.
It doesn’t matter what your opinion is, or how much you think your idea is going to change somebody’s life.
If you don’t listen to and validate people’s feelings, they’ll never listen to you and you’ll never help them.
And so it is with ourselves as well. If you immediately attempt to cover up the pain you feel, it’ll take you twice as long to get to a better place. This is the real meaning of self-compassion.
And how perfect was it that I just so happened to be studying this subject right before such a life-altering event? I don’t know about you, but I don’t for one second believe in coincidence.
Now, what am I going to do?
Well, let me tell you. It’s rather exciting and daunting the number of miracles we’ve experienced. Here are just a few with regards to me getting a new engineering job:
- Within one hour of hearing those awful, angry words from my “manager,” I was on the phone with a good friend from another company. I meet with them tomorrow morning.
- After a few text messages, I found out that a friend knows someone who is needing help with just the type of work I do. Or, did, I guess.
- This afternoon I got an email from my university about a power & energy career expo. Guess what? That’s exactly the kind of companies I want to be interacting with.
- The inspiration is flowing like crazy. I have many other ideas about how to get back on my feet with engineering.
And that’s just the engineering opportunities that I’ve had come up.
Within the writing work I’m doing, I received a very generous pre-payment for some freelancing I’m doing that literally brought me to tears. More on that another day.
I’ve felt support from the dozens of fellow writers in Facebook and Slack groups. Many of them have expressed a desire to help, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
A phone call with a friend who also lost his job recently helped put everything into perspective. He gave me great hope and encouragement for my entrepreneurial future.
Then, as if I really needed more than all this, the partner program payout per fan is back to about what it was in December. Today. Of all the days.
Although at first, I will make slightly less than I made at my previous job, I now have the time and ability to support my family by my writing alone.
Today, I lost my job.
Am I scared, hurt, and traumatized? Heck yes, and I’m owning up to the pain.
Am I ready to support my family on my writing alone?
With all of the help and support I’m receiving, yes. Yes, I am.