My friend was fired after 6 years of working in that school for a casual comment she made two months ago in a casual watsapp group. This makes me think, can we predict the next arriving moment. One moment our life is steady, and the next moment, it is scattered. End of a job doesn’t mean end of life but still, the question remains, “why me?” and “for what?”.
Sometimes there are no logical answers that can appease you, no explanations that can console you. No amount of venting, no amount of rewinding, soothes your soul. Pointing fingers at someone else might just give your a moment of solace but eventually, acceptance is our only remedy.
A couple of years ago, I worked for an Engineering college as an assistant professor. I thought I was paying it forward. After living and working in the US for 8 years, having received the best possible education, the best possible training and evidentially, best possible work ethic, I thought I had a lot of give. I was conducting technical events, I was giving lectures on short notices, on several occasions, I was counselling students on their paths after graduation, sharing my stories of struggles and success, teaching microprocessor 8085 (which I hated), conducted philanthropic training sessions for village children (teaching them Microsoft Office) in the college, and a lot many memorable moments in those 10 months. While I was busy creating beautiful hopes for the future, a different manipulated feedback was being sent to the management.
When both the semesters ended, and summer semester was pretty dry, I was one of the many teachers, asked to take a break for two months and then come back again. This is a common practice in India so I wasn’t surprised with that news. But what surprised me the most was when one of the senior member of the staff, on my face tells me, “we don’t let people better than us stay here for long.(Smirked)” Well, she had won and I was defeated.
That was a set back. What more did have to do professionally to prove myself. Of course, I was working more and talking less. Other people were talking more and working less. But then this is life. You don’t know what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong. You just know, you are doing the best from your level of awareness.
This life (of not many years :P) has taught me to take things as they come. After learning from a lot of setbacks, following are my conclusions that best help us move forward and not look back.
Accept the situation as it is
What is done cannot be undone. We can spend a lot of time, creating permutations and combinations of events that led to such an outcome, we can rewind and see what exactly we did to trigger that situation and again, that outcome, we can think about things we could have done differently but all this thinking is not going to undo what has already happened. No matter how right you were and how wrong the other person was, the decision has been taken. And even if the decision is undone, things would never be like before. So it would be better to look forward instead of look back.
One door closes and another one opens
Had I chosen to go back to that college and continue with “paying it forward”, I would not have created, what I have created in the last year or so. Most of the setbacks if taken positively, make way for a lot better outcome than the past.As much as we cannot see the bad coming our way, that much we cannot see the good coming either. And when it does come, it is a pleasant surprise that we never expected.
The outcome of today’s setback can be related to one particular person or a set of people, the outcome remains the same. We can spend our time, blaming others for what happened to us or we can clean our minds from those negative impressions and better focus on how we create our next future. Those people, their doings, are a past, as much as the job is past. Bringing them in your present consciousness will only blur your thinking for the future. Leave them behind and start clean.
Leaving the incident behind doesn’t mean, we don’t take note of things that we could have done differently. Think of all the things that you can take responsibility for and do differently in your future work life. Think of all the things that you did right, places where you took ownership of your work, places where you put your work aside and helped someone else, things that differentiate you from someone else, separates your work from someone else and make sure you take them all with you.
Allow your support system to help you
It is human tendency that when we are devastated, we want to be left alone. At this time, surround yourself with positive people, unconditional people who are there to encourage you, counsel you, pep you up, tell you that there are lot many opportunities out there waiting for you, that you are not alone and we are there with you, that, may be we need improvement in certain areas and our support system can help us achieve our goals.
Plan for the future
This was a setback. You are shocked. You are sad. Take a couple of days to feel bad, to let it sink in, to feel hurt, to blame others for your loss, but have a deadline till when you are going to feel this way. Feel it all for that time and then let it go. Sit back up, stand up, tie your laces and start running again. Even though you have lost a good opportunity, there are many great opportunities waiting to be grabbed. Update your resume, refresh your skills, take a class, start updating yourself and get in the field again. No matter how much that depression kicks in and asks you to go back to bed, there is an opportunity waiting for you. Don’t let it pass. May be this new one will bring out what nothing else brought out of you.
Be grateful every moment, for this new beginning where you can choose to receive everything that you want to receive, not what came to you by default. The cleaner you are from inside, the better opportunity you will attract for yourself.
Whatever happened to you, fair or unfair, is a thing of the past. Today its a new you. You are not afraid of what’s up next because the worst is behind you. From within, you are excited for the new people you meet, the new jobs you contest for, the new things you learn about yourself and the new opportunities that life has presented you with. So smile, because when we smile at life, life smiles back at us.