One constant in life is change; a cliché certainly but true nonetheless. While many changes are minor and soon forgotten, others offer a moment to make a choice – a choice of embracing and seeing opportunity, or resisting and seeing tragedy. And I think in most cases the latter is futile and self-destructive, however difficult it often is to appreciate at the time.
I face one of those moments as I was given a Reduction in Force notice last week; my last day of work will be September 18th.
I’m actually okay with it. I’ve grown bored by an increasingly tedious job and jaded by the corporate life I’ve had for many, many years. My working plan was to retire by midyear 2016 as I could tell my job role was shrinking and it was time to leave for emotional, mental, and physical health.
So this isn’t too much of a shock.
There are number of financial decisions to be made in terms of severance package, healthcare, and retirement benefits, and I’m very conscious that what I have available is not shared by many millions out in the workforce or those who have lost their jobs.
I’m certainly aware already that the financial situation will not be as good as before.
At the same time, there will be no 80 to 100 mile daily commutes. There will be no tedious staff meetings, no management drivel, and no self-serving “leaders” lining their own pockets while reducing the middle-class jobs beneath them. And there will be no more fear of the continuing repetition of layoffs and reductions that have gone on – almost without stop – over that last two decades.
Still, it would have been nice to go out on my own power at a time of my choosing.
But, it is what it is.
While some people may cringe at that expression, it is not a call for the complacency that is often attributed to it in modern use. And its modern use does not reflect its original intent.
Rumi, the Persian poet and Sufi mystic, published a work of prose in 1316 titled Fihi Ma Fihi. The title has been translated both as “it is what is” and “in it what is in it” – and which is more correct is a subject of some debate among those given to translations of ancient Persian.
But Rumi was not writing about complacency. The 72 discourses (speeches) in that work reflects his life-long teaching: life is about the pursuit of the divine essence that permeates the universe and about reuniting in love with that divine. Whether that divine essence is called God, the Great Spirit, or the Force is up to each of us.
I think then the point of “it is what is” lies in understanding that everything in life is a part of the divine essence. So everything in life gives us an opportunity to find that divine essence, even in the tough times, and grow into something better than what we are.
And that includes getting a WARN notice with 60 days left of employment.
And that also means more time to go fly fishing.