Last Thursday I lost my job.
After a year and a half of working at my company I was walked into a stuffy conference room just before lunch and told that I was no longer needed. There had been a reorganization and my position was being eliminated. I had to clean out my things and turn in my badge.
It was over in less than twenty minutes and I was sent down the elevator for the last time.
I emerged out of my building into a bustling lower Manhattan with a sense of shock still ringing through my system. Had this really just happened? I had never lost my job before. I felt numb and cold despite the hot August sun that shined above me.
I walked past the tourists that crowded Wall Street’s Raging Bull. I knew instinctively that there was noise all around me but I couldn’t hear it. The voices that crowded my head were too loud as they tried to make sense of what had just happened.
Could it really be over?
I walked across Broadway into Battery Park where I grabbed a lawn chair and a shady spot under a huge sycamore. I sat and reflected as the initial shock started to wear off.
How did I feel?
Part of me expected to feel anger or sadness but these feelings didn’t come.
Instead, I felt this unusual calmness. I can relate it only to the calmness you feel immediately after a thunderstorm has passed through and the air is clean and still.
I felt at peace.
I realized that it was over. I could not change the outcome of their decision. I had to accept what had happened. And because of this, there was no need to create more suffering.
It was up to me to decide how I let this news affect me. Would I beat myself up endlessly and hold a grudge against the people who terminated me? Or would I choose to forgive myself and the people who had to make an extremely hard business decision?
I chose to forgive myself. I chose to accept that my job was gone and that I was going through this for a reason.
As I sat under the huge sycamore that day and gazed at the clouds that flowed softly above me, my acceptance slowly changed into excitement. I was excited for what was next for me.
For the first time in years I didn’t have a job and I felt free. I was free to choose my next move. I was free to make more mistakes. I was free to carry onward.
A week later, as the dust as settled, I remain optimistic about this great change in my life. I’m grateful for the time I had at my last company and all the amazing people I worked with. But as for now, I’m ready to put it all behind me and start the next chapter in my life.
For the first time in a long time I feel a renewed sense of hope for what’s ahead of me. I’m excited about my current situation, and that’s because I choose to be.
You too have a choice. No matter what life throws at you, you can choose how you see it.
Will you choose to see the darkness?
Or will you choose the light?