Saturday, March 19

A Lesson In Humility

The company I work for has been restructuring – methodically – for the last 3 years. I knew that it was just a matter of time till the restructuring hits our group. And true enough, hit our group it did this week. It did not only hit our group. It hit me.

Tuesday, the VP’s secretary called me to say that I am needed at the office Thursday – the day that HR was supposed to talk to employees impacted by the restructuring. Instantly, it felt like ice cold water was doused over me; a fistful of crumpled paper crammed down my throat. Will I be ….? Can’t be! Please Lord, don’t let me be laid off …..

Fear. Anger. Regret. Insecurity. Embarrassment. Sadness. So much for positive thinking. Where did all the peace, contentment, and optimism that came with the coming of the new year go? Gone. Out the window. All of them.

Thursday. Did away with the sweater and jeans. Went to work in business attire. If I was going down, I swore that I’d go down in style. I walked into the VP’s office not knowing whether I had the usual smile on my face or not. I felt blank. Saw blank. Heard blank. Until, “I have a position that I believe is a perfect fit for you.” Am I being promoted? I was about to jump from my feet and give the VP a hug when the next thing I heard was, “Your position has been eliminated.”

Ok. I’m snapping back into the moment. My position has been eliminated, but they are offering me a new position. Same compensation and incentive package, but it is a job level lower.

A conference call later, I find out that the position isn’t entirely eliminated. The position is still there. Only I was eliminated. My colleague, already a decade or two with the company and a decade in the position, is staying. Turns out (I will know for sure in the next couple of weeks), the directive is to have only one person in this position per region. No more duplication of roles. Instead, a new position in a new group has been created. Thing is, this new position/group will be reporting to a different head and their coverage will not just be our region, but the whole of US.

I am thankful, very thankful, that I still have a job. So thankful that I still utter a prayer of thanks every chance I get. Also, I would like to believe that I still have a job because management values me. That I am “important”. And yet, why do I feel this pinch every time I remember that I got eliminated and my more senior colleague was retained? Feelings of inadequacy? Of competitiveness? Of second choice?

False pride. Lose it. Just be thankful. Think of how much more humbling being laid off would have been.  No, being laid off is one lesson in humility anyone would not want to have.

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