I sat across from the woman interviewing me and thought, this shouldn’t be happening.
It seemed like yesterday I sat around a table where the talk was full of promise for the company. A company I’d been with for ten years. Visions of meetings being held on the beach in Cancun seemed very likely.
But life doesn’t always work out the way you expect. And as a result with the twists and turns of the economy, here I was, by choice, looking for a new job.
“Let me just begin with, never in all my years have I heard such good references. I’d be a fool not to hire you,” the interviewer said.
One of the references she called had worked with me for the past ten years. We’d worked together casually, sometimes closely. I’d always felt total respect for this person and the way she conducted herself, but really, with office politics, one could never be sure what someone truly thought of you.
The interviewer went on to tell me the reference ended by saying I was one hundred percent loyal to my employer.
Having just come from a meeting with my (ex) employer, it made me smile. Yes I was loyal. Loyal because he had seen things in me that no one else had. He gave me an opportunity to do things I wouldn’t have ordinarily had the opportunity to do, as he did with many others over the years. He believed in me. And I believed in him. I still do.
At the sheer mention of loyalty, my eyes teared up. She offered me a tissue.
“I haven’t been to a job interview in ten years. But I’m pretty sure tearing up is not a good thing,” I joked.
She said, “It’s okay. I know you’re in a real transition and I’ve been there.”
And then she told me her own story.
She had all kinds of successes and failures in her own life. But she was on the brink of something positive. She said when I’d dropped off my resume earlier that day, she’d called her husband and said sometimes people walk into your life for a reason. She repeated a quote I’d been told many times recently, “When one door closes, another opens.”
There is a chance, an opportunity, that we may be able to help one another, and that’s wonderful. That’s really what life is all about.
Will I get the position? I will keep you posted.
But it isn’t about the job.
It’s about what I’ve discovered the last few months. And that is, we’re all the same, whether we acknowledge it or not. We all want to do our best. We all desperately want to be valued. We want to believe in something or someone, and work to make it succeed. We want to be a part of something. We want to win.
But what is winning? Is it having more money than you know what to do with? Is it the prestige and adoration of being successful? I don’t think so. Ask Tiger Woods.
He seemingly had everything; a beautiful wife, a family, homes, yachts, a successful career. But something was missing.
And yet, there’s a woman working the night shift at a donut shop. She has a husband that loves her, children that adore her, but making the rent is a struggle. You ask her if she’s happy and she instantly says yes, and you know she means it.
What’s missing for the Tiger Woods of the world? What’s the woman at the donut shop got that he doesn’t?
Maybe if I were a better writer I could make you understand.
But my guess is, you do understand. I know you do. You know what’s missing.
It isn’t always about the dollars and cents. It isn’t always about promotions and prestige. It’s about that part of you that’s unfulfilled. The part of you, you won’t acknowledge to yourself, let alone the world. It’s that missing piece to the puzzle.
Sometimes it’s about loyalty. Sometimes it’s about love. Sometimes it’s about self-worth and missed opportunity. But whatever it is, we all face it and we all have to come to terms with it.