As you might have noticed, I haven’t posted much in the last year or two. That’s because I’ve been working and going to school full time. Actually, more than full time. 50-55 hours a week at the day job and 15 or so credit hours per semester. It’s been busy to say the least. And yet, I’ve finally found that I have a lot of free time.
Part of that is due to Christmas finals being over – thank god. No more school for me for the next 3 weeks. But the biggest part of that is because I no longer have to show up at work. In fact, my boss insists that I do not show up at work. Woo hoo! Of course, they won’t be paying me for this convenience – but that’s alright. I’ve been saving up money like crazy as mentioned in my savings article so it shouldn’t be a hardship for me. What’s important is that I’ve learned a couple of good life lessons out of the entire ordeal.
If You Have to Lose a Job, Lose it by Being Awesome
Long story short, I worked in the delivery business. We had a big snowstorm blow in during the middle of my route. I almost crashed a couple of times getting back to the facility. I saw a lot of other cars careening around intersections and running into snow banks. When I got back I still had 3 or 4 hours of driving to do on country back roads and big highways alike. I knew it wasn’t safe, so I made a decision. I decided that I wasn’t going to put my life at risk for a J-O-B.
However, as easy as the decision was to make, it was not an easy to thing to tell my boss – at least at first. Before I delivered the news I thought about how easy it would be to simply go out on my route. After all, I probably wouldn’t die, right? I figure I had a 50% chance of getting stuck somewhere but still a pretty high probability of survival. Nevertheless, I did not feel safe. I knew that I was not going back out there. And I knew that it was going to be very uncomfortable to carry out that decision. Nevertheless, I went on and told my boss exactly what was going on and what I was going to do. I even had a fellow co-worker with me who was doing the same thing.
We both walked up to the desk and I delivered the news. I told him I was willing to lose my job over it and that I would not put my life in danger. He nonchalantly said he would print up a resignation form. And then, having talked to my co-worker, I realized I should definitely not sign that form. We’re unionized and we both know quite well that this isn’t something you can just fire someone over. Once I told him he’d have to fire me he seemed hesitant, but went through with it. I am not surprised it went down this way, though I think I have a great shot of getting my job back.
Do What is Right No Matter What
The important thing that happened was actually within me. I felt very uncomfortable walking up to his desk and refusing to go back on the street. This individual is not known for being overly nice. However, once I did it, I felt great. I knew that I made the decision based on how unsafe I felt. I was not being lazy or argumentative. I had a reputation for being a good worker. I just would not put my life at risk.
After that initial barrier was overcome I was surprised at how quickly all the tension and anxiety was gone. I didn’t feel bad anymore. In fact, I felt good – even great! I knew I would probably lose my job, and of course I did, but I felt like I had made a decision based on my own sense of personal boundaries. One of those boundaries being that money is not worth my well-being.
I was quite proud to hand over my work badge and leave the facility. A huge part of this was the money I had saved up while living far below my means as well as my Computer Science degree I was about to get. But I suspect the biggest part of it was challenging an authority figure when I believed I was truly right. I really did feel like I had a victory in that office.
Applying This Principle To Your Life
What I have learned from the experience is that we occasionally must do things that challenge us. Things that make us extremely uncomfortable at first. But once that initial barrier is passed, so long as what we are doing lines up with our internal value system, then we grow. We grow not only because the experience we’re having is valuable, but because we are being conscious individuals. We are doing what most people don’t do. Most people simply operate on the pleasure principle – avoid pain, seek out pleasure. We are purposely seeking out initial pain because we know that there are better things to be had by facing it. This is the hallmark of personal development and conscious living in general. And it is something we can all do.
How can you challenge something in your life that makes you uncomfortable? How could this experience cause you to grow and develop yourself? Feel free to post in the comments below.
As a side note, I currently have a lot of free time on my hands, so expect plenty of content in the weeks to come.
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