Getting the boot at a previous employer for nearly 9 years was a wise lesson for me five years ago. A terribly sad lesson but wise nonetheless.
I had my entire heart in this company, I was involved before it even started and I watched it grow, helped to build it up and expand and see it turn into a multi million Euro business with over 50 co-workers divided over two locations in Swampyland.
But it didn’t last in spite of my devotion to The Company as I always proudly called it, I got the exit talk anyway and was laid off the same day. Later I learned the only reason for my misery was sheer jealousy from a colleague who feared I was after his job, it wasn’t even because of how I functioned as my KPI scores were good.
There have only been two or three jobs that I really, really loved and I could never let go of them, they were present in my mind, stayed in my heart, they were obvious from the memories I kept recalling and each of those jobs made me long back to when everything was perfect in those days. This was one of these jobs.
But with this last occasion I changed. Getting the boot hurts as if it were of the physical kind, hence the expression. And it was the first layoff where I slam pulled the door hard myself. I was good at my job, why did I have to go? It made me stand up for myself even though I was broken at the moment they walked me out of the building.
One minute I was working passionately behind my desk and the next moment I was put outside with the trash. Literally, the cleaner took his chance to put the big wheelie bin outside at the precise moment the two managing directors said goodbye to me in the doorway. And it all came out of the blue, no prior warnings were given, no hints or whispering in the corridor when I passed, nothing. This was unjust, humiliating, despicable and abject.
That and the fact that it really hurt this time gave me a sudden epiphany: It was their loss, not mine! And I decided to let go of them and to let go of those two or three previous employers that kept crawling back into my mind. They didn’t matter anymore, I did. I was the one they were going to miss and if not, the world keeps turning. And I stood there outside, numb from the shock but not less proud than when I started that working day.
I got back on my feet in due time after that and stood proud again. I am Leendert van Gemeren and I am good in what I do and take pride in what I am. And for the first time I was able to forget about them, leave these experiences in the past and look ahead.