In 2009, one day after my 32nd birthday, my boss served me a letter – make 2 placements in the next 2 months, or you’re out of a job.
It has been 7 years, but it still stings to read the letter.
It made me feel incompetent and unwanted, like I was being dumped. I wanted to run away and never come back.
At home, I showed the letter to Roger. He reassured me that I’m not a useless bum. He told me that he believed in me, and that I’m good.
Roger’s words helped. I felt better, but I still doubted myself. My confidence was shaken. What should I do next? I consulted the best person who knew how to handle unfair employment practices, my dad. He advised me to write a response to my boss. I thought he was mad. What’s the point? It won’t change anything. Why even bother?
“Just document it. You never know what might happen in the future. You’ve nothing to lose”, my pragmatic dad advised.
Ok, fine. I’ll do it. But what should I write? My mind was so messed up, the only letter I could think of writing was a resignation letter, “RUN AWAY”!
With a lot of guidance from my dad, I drafted a response. He provided the structure, and I added the meat. I drafted an email, edited many times, and 4 days after D-day, I sent the letter.
I subsequently placed the 2 roles, and then resigned. I wanted to fulfill my responsibility even though I was leaving. You see, I’ve always believed in taking personal responsibility for what I do – “everything’s my fault”. I didn’t need a letter to remind me. But maybe, sometimes, it really is not my fault that things screw up.
“A good captain is not made from calm seas”
It’s easy to say and do the right things when things are going well. It’s the hard days, the days that challenge you to the core, that will really test you, and determine who you truly are.
I went on to become a first-time entrepreneur. I never wanted to be one, but I didn’t really have a choice.
I started Personna because I believe magic happens when organizations put people first, before profit. People matter.
I hope you never end up in my situation. But if you do, remember this:
- Find your balance – You are a good person in a bad situation. Seek out the support of people who love you. You’re not alone.
- Take charge – You are a hero, not a victim. Do something, even if it is to write a useless letter that you think won’t make a difference. Trust me, it does.
- Stay positive – You are meant to do something bigger. This could be Fate nudging you to get a move on already. Focus on the mission.
I can’t stop roles from becoming redundant. Jobs will continue to be cut. But instead of waiting, we can do something to prepare ourselves for change.
I’m thankful that I had Roger and my dad to help me move forward. Some may not be as lucky. If you’re ever stuck in a sticky situation, you’re not sure how to move forward and need to talk to someone, come talk to us. I know it takes courage, but maybe that’s all you need to change.
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About Sophia Chin, Coach & Co-founder of PERSONNA
Sophia helps people unleash the force for positive change to create transformational business growth.
Over the last 10 years, Sophia has interviewed thousands of senior business leaders and learnt their secrets to driving transformational business growth in large complex organisations including Apple and Grab.