Over the past week a very dear friend of mine lost his job. He’d put lots of time and energy in school to learn how to be a great employee, and even with all that, they still found a reason to let him go.
This story has happened to several of my friends at various points in their careers and lives and I find myself holding the exact same conversation with former fry cooks to former Executives… Now what?
There seems to be a social programming of sorts that tells us that every cent of our income should be tied to a work product that we generate in the service of others. What I find the most interesting is that this concept is held the highest among my friends with higher salaries. My underpaid friends tend to understand that they can’t depend on just one thing. Which I find mind boggling because when you look at which one has higher stakes, you’d think that the higher the salary the more diversified their income would be. It’s just not the case.
That’s the first obstacle that I felt he needed to surmount in order to avoid finding himself in the same position of playing the “Please like me” game. I am a firm believer in having full command of what it is that you offer to others as a service and never find yourself in a position too bashful to do those same things for yourself. It feels like that dynamic is the most difficult for people to grasp. Especially people that grew up as the cool kids.
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of growing up as a combination of an outsider and a nerd, I grew out of seeking for others to tolerate me, to working on positioning myself in a manner that causes those that would appreciate what I have to offer to come and find me. That also requires me keeping myself marketable so that when they finally do locate me, it’s worth the search. In the meanwhile, I’ll hustle and lean on other talents and skills. My friend on the other hand was a star athlete and is the type of person that doesn’t have a lot of friends by choice.
My pep talk to him, went a little like this;
Sometimes in life, you will find that there are people that just don’t like you… F#&k Them! If you know that you’ve been your best self, and they still aren’t feeling you, don’t you dare waste one single extraneous moment on trying to make them find your value. Don’t subscribe to their program, create your own! There is someone looking for exactly what it is that you do or who you are, but you’ll never find those people running behind the ones that hate you or even worse pay you no attention.
I say apply this to relationships, careers, artistry, trades because it’s always true. Surround yourself, at all times, with love and light. Anyone that seeks to dim either one is not worth continuing to feed with energy… so be glad when horrible people invite you to leave.
Greater is ahead.