the search for lost things

I’ve lost my job.

I’ve looked in all the usual places … gone through my trouser pockets, scanned the mantelpiece, looked under the car seat, been through the ‘man drawer’, checked the bedside table, looked on the kitchen shelf where the important stuff resides.  I’ve methodically been through my jackets, looked down the back of the sofa, searched behind the fridge where things have a habit of falling. I’ve shaken some boxes at the back of the garage. I’ve asked my wife to go through her handbag, I’ve re-traced my steps around the house, drive and garden, I’ve looked on the table in the hall and felt the lining of my coat.

No joy.

Strange we say we’ve ‘lost a job’. Like we’ve lost a pen, or our car keys or our favourite sunglasses.

Actually I haven’t lost my job at all. It wasn’t ever mine really.  Not mine to lose.

The reality is that my employer decided to reorganise the work which constituted the role I was paid to do.  Some work was stopped, some new work added and the way in which my former employer set out to carry out that work no longer included a package of work previously called ‘my job’.  I haven’t lost it, the organisation has removed it.

Time to find another path, another ‘thing’ to occupy my time, feed my interests and my family.

So where do I look? Not under the car seat seemingly. Not in my coat lining. More a case of looking inside? Under my skin, in my gut or in my heart perhaps?  Searching there is not as straightforward though as looking behind the fridge or in the loft.

A search more rewarding perhaps?

So, it turns out, the removal of my job isn’t a loss, it’s a gift. An opportunity. A chance to reconnect with what matters to me. A chance to get closer to myself. A chance to be more me.

Maybe having a job all this time has been masking the true loss – the (temporary) loss of my connection to self? A temporary blindness to what drives me and why I am here.

Well I’ve found that again now, so all is good.

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how long until you leave?

how long until you leave

Typically we work during the week and have the week-end off. On Friday though I don’t think I’m leaving. Yes I know I’m leaving the office, but not leaving my job, my organisation, my career. Consequently I don’t experience the emotions of leaving.

With friends and family too, sometimes we don’t see people for days or weeks, yet we don’t think of it as leaving. Somehow this ending isn’t an ending. Maybe because we know we will reconnect, return?

Do the emotions of leaving only come when we know it is an ending? Or do they come when the period extends sufficiently to allow the emotions to enter? If the period is long enough that we begin to miss someone or something, does that make it feel like leaving? If the period is long enough that we lose connection or a sense of belonging, does that invoke the emotions of leaving? If the period of absence will mean much has changed and we might return to something new, something different. Does that make it feel like leaving?

I am about to go on holiday for seven weeks. I have never had a holiday even half that length before. Somehow this feels like leaving.

Yet I will be coming back.

So experiencing some of the emotions of leaving when I’m not, leaving… is new to me.

How long does the leaving have to be before it feels like leaving?

 

the stripes of power

image

It’s interesting to reflect on where power comes from.

Today, I stepped out onto a zebra crossing. Approaching quickly was a car. I hesitated, one foot in the road. The car slowed rapidly. Not heavily, but rapidly. This signal that I had been seen, encouraged me to move forward, out into the road. A ton of metal, rubber and plastic stopped to let a couple of hundred pounds of essentially water and some minerals cross safely.

White lines painted on a road surface in a particular configuration, together with a pole with an orange light on top, had afforded me power over this driver and their car. Had I attempted to cross one hundred yards down the road, the power would have remained with the car driver and I may well have been squished.

Power can be afforded us through a variety of means. A uniform, a job title, knowledge, braid on a hat, our age, a dog on a leash, our gender and, it seems, by the strangest of environmental factors, such as the placing of a few white lines on a road.

Interesting to reflect on the symbols of power in your life perhaps?

 

quit your job today

second-job

Many of us come to work and do two jobs.

One, we get paid for.

The other we do to survive. We spend time and energy looking good, making sure our boss and our colleagues like us, appreciate what we do, can see the value we bring. We spend time and energy hiding weaknesses, making sure any inadequacies are kept buried from view, protecting our vulnerabilities. We spend time and energy manoeuvring through the political and cultural slime of the organisation, hoping to escape its quicksand-like pull. We spend time and energy concealing mistakes, showcasing successes, managing and preserving our reputation. We spend time and energy on relationships that might protect us, on gangs, tribes and clans of people like us.

This second job gets a lot of attention, but largely goes unnoticed, because we all do it and we all conceal it. It’s like an unconscious game we all have to play, because anyone who doesn’t play may lose out.

What if our organisations were able to shift so that openly bringing our whole self to work was encouraged, so that mistakes, errors, weaknesses were seen as opportunities for learning and personal growth? Not learning to develop our weaknesses per se, but freedom to acknowledge them with equal weight to our unique abilities. Learning that we’re good, able, confident people really and learning that this ‘other’ job is directed at preserving a myth. The myth that we need to do that job at all.

We could all stop. All quit this second job. Together. Now.

This is an underpinning thought behind the concept of
the Deliberately Developmental Organisation here

if you could choose your ideal job…

life purpose as a job
Let’s abandon traditional job titles. Job titles that attempt to describe what you do. If instead your job title described your life purpose, what would it be?

I don’t mean a weird job title that tries to cleverly describe your role, what you do. Such as…

sheep shifter
domestic engineer
arboreal yoda
chief chatter champion

I mean a weird job title that describes your reason for being. Something like…

people grower
chief purpose finder
harmoniser
problem breaker
human cuddler
difference designer
balance wizard
planet protector
lightbulb moment illuminator
humanity harvester
purveyor of good
life lover
future planter
human story animator
dream alchemist
trickiness disheveller
peace percolator
imagination sparker…

What would yours be?