The Mother of All My Fears: Exclusion
This year I am celebrating the 10 anniversary of the first time that I was ever fired from a job. I was a small child in the 1950s when loyalty was still a value in society. I still tend to believe too much in the leadership and stay too long in organizations because I still believe that the leaders want to do something good in society and are not in it for themselves. Call me naive and leave it at that. The second time I got fired was 3 years ago. It is still much fresher in my psyche than the first. Call me a slow learner. Both times I was under the illusion that I was doing my best work ever when I got fired.
Up until 10 years ago being fired had never entered my mind as a possibility so when it happened I felt devastated and betrayed like nothing I had ever experienced before. My firing, along with some of my other colleagues, was couched in the language of today. “We are not renewing your contract because we are changing the direction in the organization.” It would have been much nicer to hear the words, “you’re fired”.
I had a year off after my first firing and another year off after the second one, so both times I took that time to reconnect to my self by running marathons. In 1997 I trained for one marathon, but 3 years ago I felt so betrayed that I had to do two to get myself together. On the 10th anniversary of my big separation I have decided that I would do some preventive medicine by training for another marathon. When I get up in the morning and have a run, I get reconnected with myself. It is a bit like taking a magical pill. Everything seems right with the world. When I am not running is when I feel the worst about myself.
I have no illusions about leadership anymore, but I still have a fear of being fired. I am not sure that it will ever fully leave or whether it is supposed to leave because being disconnected from people is a painful thing. Thank God for facebook and thank you Generation and X and X/Y for turning this baby boomer onto it.
Hope to see you all on the road. Did I say that I am going to run the marathon in Kuala Lumpur? See you at the twin towers.
A marathon is good therapy for you. It gives you the sense of accomplishment and fullfillment that you don’t get from your jobs. It’s a also a good metaphor for saying, I made it through this hell, I can make it through anything!
Glad you found lots of healing connections on facebook!
Thanks for checking in. I first woke up to this phenomenon in the late 60s during Vietnam when I was at the Air Force Academy, saw that all of the people advancing were doing it by brown nosing, and then made a radical shift into education. I first got into running in 1971 right after I quit the AFA and remembering that one of my friends, who had been a cross country runner, said that I should be able to run for an hour without stopping. I thought he was crazy, but a month later I was doing it. I think that, for me, running keeps me honest. There is no way to do a marathon without doing the work. Glad to hook up with other honest folk.
I am with you on this. Feel like we are in the same boat. I was however born in early sixties and have the 50’s ideals. I believed a lot in loyalty and hard work. The “ideals” of that (50’s) era are fast disappearing. Now I do not believe in corporate loyalty anymore. The person who sucks up is the most successful person. I think it is called “Cronism”. I did not take time off from career or personal glitches in life since I could not afford to. So I devoted my energies to completing 2 marathons. I signed up for another this year which is going to be the Baltimore marathon.