Losing Your Dream – Awakening to a New Future
August 15, 2009 2 Comments
The Day of Losing Your Dream
How many of us have been there? You get up early every day, get cleaned and prepared for the job. You want to give your job 150% of your energy, and crave the camaraderie of your co-workers, and friendship of your customers and business partners.
Then organization changes come along. Your company is sold or acquired, the culture begins to change, and life becomes one of “who is going to be let go today?”,… or concerns develop on the dilution of respect and friendship within the working group. You wonder, am I getting up early to work, and will this be the day security comes to walk me out of the building?”
Then it happens. “Thanks for your years of service. However the company is going in a different direction…” You don’t hear anything beyond that point. All you want to do is get out and breathe some fresh air. You see others in the office looking at you, a couple of conversation murmurs in the background, and the pressure building in the back of your head, just above the neck.
You jump into your car and start driving, somewhere. You don’t want to go home. You don’t want to explain to your wife or family that you are now unemployed. You don’t want to talk to anybody.
Then the phone calls start. “What happened?” “This is horrible, what are we going to do without you?” “things won’t be the same…,” “let’s get together…”
Then you find a coffee shop, log into your personal email. Check out Facebook. You see your friends, the same people who just called to say how horrible everything is that you are let go, and you read their pithy comments about parties that evening, things they are doing with their jobs, and happy futures. And you realize all those fun things are happening without you in the planning or discussion.
At that point it is clear most of the people who have called are going through the same emotion we go through when passing by a serious automobile accident on the freeway. Damn, that is horrible. Glad it isn’t me. Then you also realize at the same time, no matter how good a driver you are, no matter how good your driving record, this could also happen to you. You immediately block out the thought of you or a loved one lying on the concrete with an emergency team trying to save your life. And as quickly as possible you put the scene out of your mind and drive on.
The Next Morning
Maybe you slept well, maybe you stayed awake mentally going back and forth between emotions of shock, anger, inadequacy, failure, and sadness. But the next morning will arrive, with the sun, news, and dawn of a new day. You hear the bustle outside your window of OTHERS who are going to work.
Now the administrative task of cashing severance checks, explaining to your family members, checking out the process to register for unemployment, thinking about getting your resume in order, thinking about how you are going to support your family for the next few months. And all the time a burning sensation in your guts trying to burst out into an explosion of emotions that you cannot either define or control.
Your Real Friends Show their Worth
After a day or two you will start receiving more calls. These are guys whom you may not have talked with for a while, but have shared the difficult times in one or more companies through the years. They know your contributions to your industry, your customers, and loyalties to your fellow workers and employees.
Rather than talk about how much it sucks that you were “whacked” by your former company, they are more interested in new opportunities, and how your energy, skills, and dedication can be used in a new venture, or new professional challenge. It is not “sucks to be you,” but rather “what can we do together.”
Then the burning sensation in your gut starts to change to a burning sensation of hope. Maybe you are not a train wreck or failure, maybe you are just at a point that you can recharge your creativity and energy. Too many months have passed where you peeled off tremendous energy worrying about what was going to happen that day, and now that energy can be refocused on a new and useful project.
Real Opportunity Takes Time and Planning
Nothing good falls from the sky. Real good is the result of hard work and planning. Preparation through education or interpersonal networking, and having a sincere desire to build and succeed.
Tacit knowledge and experience is not gained over night, it is the result of hard work, failure, success, and being exposed to a lot of people and “stuff.” Tacit knowledge and experience is what gives us the ability to quickly identify problems, opportunities, and apply our knowledge quickly to either resolve or exploit an opportunity.
The tacit aspects of knowledge are those that cannot be codified, but can only be transmitted via training or gained through personal experience. Tacit knowledge has been described as “know-how” — as opposed to “know-what” (facts), “know-why” (science), or “know-who” (networking). It involves learning and skill but not in a way that can be written down.
With tacit knowledge, people are not often aware of the knowledge they possess or how it can be valuable to others. Effective transfer of tacit knowledge generally requires extensive personal contact and trust. While tacit knowledge appears to be simple, it has far reaching consequences and is not widely understood. (Wikipedia)
Without tacit knowledge you may not even be able to identify a problem or opportunity.
We can also add a new concept we’ll call “tacit relationships.” This is a circle of relationships you build over the years based on mutual respect and being open to their ideas, cultures, differences, and personalities.
After spending a few days getting over the emotional roller coaster of job and company termination, it is time to take the attitude that your experience and ability deserve better personal emotion of failure and self-pity. The old company is history, and there is no reason to dwell on that history. The new day will open the door to a new and better life.
Open the door. We owe it to ourselves, our real friends, and the business opportunities we will develop and build.
John Savageau, Long Beach