The other night I had a long conversation with a good friend of mine. He had recently relocated to a new area of the country after making a decision to down size his life in terms of material items and stress.
My friend is sixty two and is not ready mentally or financially for retirement but circumstances pushed him into the decision to move some place warm and relaxing. He now finds himself having to find a new way to make a living until his full retirement benefits kick in.
As we talked he mentioned how he and his wife are still in the process of finding all the places you need to survive. They are still looking for the basic places and businesses you use every day and take for granted when you lived in the same place for 20, 30, 40 years or all of your life.
He told me it’s kind of fun discovering these new places every day.
But what keeps him up at night is wondering what he will do with the rest of his life.
At this point I interjected, “at least now you are in control of your life or should feel in control.”
I followed up with this story.
Eighteen years ago I was only two years into being the sales manager for the company I work for and we landed the largest account in the company’s history.
The day after we were notified that we landed the account the president of our company called me and said that he wanted me handling the account. I was the one he trusted with the account.
To me this was my big break for moving up the chain. I thought it would lead to more than its eventual outcome but that’s not important right now.
I took this responsibility very seriously.
As I was implementing the setup of the new system the customer chose not to listen to my advice or the company’s advice and the implementation turned into chaos.
From early morning until late in the evening every day I was being pulled in different directions as the customer created one crisis after another. I had no control over the customer and since I wanted this setup and account to succeed I took on all the responsibility.
The daily tension and frustration grew to the breaking point. My work life (which made up a huge percentage of my entire life) was out of control.
Finally I went to the president of the company and informed him that I was ready to quit.
I told him yes it would really suck having to find a new job and it will be pretty scary since I have a wife and two kids, a mortgage and car payments to make. But you know what? At least I’ll get up every day and feel that I am back in control of my life. I’ll decide each day where I’m going and what I’m doing and when I’m going to do it. I won’t have to sit and watch as I’m pulled from one crisis to another, none of which were cause by me or my company. And when I lay down at night I’ll sleep because I may not have a job but I know I’ll get one because I’m in control.
This was pretty ballsy of me to do since this was my big break in the business world.
The president gave me more help and more resources.
I learned to recognize the need for help and ask for it sooner.
I’ve also learned over the years to not let outside influences take control of your life.
And the most important lesson was your job is not your life it’s just a part of your life.
You have to be in control of your life.
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.