I feel very sad at times when I get reports of what people pass through in some organizations. Is it people who cry almost everyday at work, or people who wake up with a headache every morning? People pass through a lot! Of what use is waking up early, sleeping late doing what gives you no fulfillment or sense of value? To make matters worse, it’s not likely you’ll see these people and be able to discern their problems, they have decided, that no matter how lightly dressed they are, they must wear their smiles. In the words of legendry Fela, “Suffering and Smiling” -“Everyday na the same thing”. Why do people pass themselves through this much? I posed the question, and the answer that seemed to keep coming back to me was different forms of, “I have no other choice for now!” What??!!
Wow! You have a choice! That state of mind that makes you think you don’t have a choice is the most powerless state a human being can ever have. Your power is dependent on the number of options of choices you can make and your freedom is dependent on your ability to make the most of whatever options you have. Who told you, you don’t have a choice? When you are stripped of everything you have, friends, clothes, self worth, e.t.c, the only thing no mortal can strip you of, is your ability to choose your response, it’s called the last of the human freedoms, you my friend, have a choice.
Let’s get a little practical, what you really mean is that you don’t have any job to go to, right? Will your life come to an end if you loose your job? A friend who tells me from time to time that I gave him the courage to drop his job told me that for a long time he thought he had no choice. He’ll go to work as early as 5.45am and leave around 11pm, he could not bring himself to think of what he’ll be doing if he didn’t have a job. He told me he wondered, would he just be staying at home? Would he be dodging people? Would he be reading newspapers? What would his average day be like? These thoughts made him think he had no option…until he met me 🙂 Today he’s been out of that big company for over 3 months. He is much happier, uses his brains more, has learnt more in those 3 months than in all his working years, and has just now gotten another job that pays him much better than the one he dropped. The most interesting part is that he has overcome his fears for life and has told me that if this job doesn’t make him happy, he’ll resign with speed. (If I get his permission i’ll provide his name and webaddress :))
Who says you don’t have a choice? You do! Most of the time many of us are clouded from our choices by our fears, by the people in our environment – poor souls who collectively tell themselves they have no choice. I am yet to see a human being who has any skill die of hunger. Tell me when you see one! And when I say skill don’t think too far…driving is a skill, talking sense is a skill, encouragement requires skill, hairdressing, administration, organizing, e.t.c. these are all skills. If I was a driver today, who do you think i’ll be driving? If I was a mechanic, what kind of people will feel more comfortable using me? If I learnt how to make peoples hair, wouldn’t you think you couldn’t afford me? If I was a mathematics teacher, wouldn’t you rather preferr I trained your son? Stop kidding yourself, you have a choice!
There are many good things you can do during your transition.
1. You can develop yourself – Olumide Alabi, aka Luminus, said it right when he said, “won’t it be great if my employer asks what happened during this 3 months gap in your career?”, and he answered, “those were the best days in my life in personal development!” Won’t that be a better answer than, slaving it away in a field completely different from where you want to be? Many people don’t read, don’t even interract with people that can help them think differently and better. They are working at dead end jobs! If you don’t need to learn anything new to continue to deliver excellence at your job, you might need to promote yourself.
2. Volounteer – Some of the best experiences of my life were ones I wasn’t paid for doing! I did them with joy then, believing that when my reward was not tangible it was permanent. You don’t need to stay home and read newspapers. Suit up nicely and go to a company of choice, one that has opportunities you are interested in, package yourself well and tell them you want to come and work for them for free! I once counselled a new acquaintance on a move like this, she not only got the volounteer opportunity, she got the Job. The MD was tripped and said she was the kind of person they needed permanently. And don’t be discouraged if the company says they don’t want volounteers now, keep trying. Success usually comes one hour later 🙂
3. Maintain a positive attitude – Nobody wants to increase their company stock of negative people. There are many people complaining inside the company already, why should they add you? Enjoy yourself, see the bright side. Nobody moves forward for long looking back (except you are being chaffeur driven in a limo and you are a guest, not the owner:)) Your world is not about to come to an end until you believe it! The moment you think you made a mistake, you just did!
4. Belong! – Find something or somewhere to belong to. Develop a sense of worth from making contributions, adding value. Associations, clubs, religious bodies, mentors…whatever, don’t be alone! Your chances alone are slimmer than if you are in good company.
You do have a choice! And it’s not only about a job it’s also about relationships! Even if you are the owner of your business you have choices. The paradox of it all however is that when you run your own venture, the will for persistence only wakes when you tell yourself that the only choice you have, is to succeed! You have a choice!