I was picked last today… again*. Unfortunately it wasn’t a soccer game, but real life. I was let go from my current job. After one of my previous posts I realized what the adult version of childhood insecurity really feels like. More tangible concerns than wondering what folks think about me. How am I going to provide for my family? While I struggled for a few days to come to terms with losing my job I emerged somewhat renewed and excited about the new opportunities that lay ahead. I’m not sure what exactly happened. I should have been angry and upset. I certainly didn’t agree with some of the logic involved, but it did force me to take a good look at myself. When I did I realized that I could’ve done a few things differently, but that ultimately it was not my decision or my actions that left me unemployed. I could live with that. But still something more lingered insider.

In the following weeks, what I truly struggled with was beyond just a job, but a genuine sense of loss. A year ago I was the first employee at this small startup, taking a huge pay cut to have a chance to be a part of building something from the ground up. I put my life and family on hold, dropped out of my masters program and worked 12 and 16 hour days, every day for four months straight. I was wholeheartedly invested in this company because I felt like I was finally building something worthwhile, something that I could be proud of at the end of the day. The sense of loss was deeper than I expected, maybe almost as bad as losing a dear pet or something of that nature. I hadn’t realized my emotional attachment to this job until I noticed the absence of something. Back in March I went into the ER with stomach pains. Many tests, medications and months later and still no clear diagnosis and no relief. Then I lost my job and somewhere in the following weeks I just stopped noticing the pain because it was gone. To say I was stressed at this job is obviously an understatement. The pressures at a very small company are immense, every action or inaction impacts the very existence of the company. For several months I was able to channel that stress into the creative process of building a new product, but for various reasons the product was put on hold and the stress needed a new target.

So what is the grand lesson I’m supposed to have learned and now impart from this experience? I haven’t a clue. Was I foolish to invest so much into something I didn’t really own or have control over? Perhaps, but restraining that energy probably would not have yielded any better results and probably would’ve felt a little dishonest.  Justin K. has declared September as the “No Woe-Is-Me” month and I think that honoring this idea has helped me gain some perspective (thanks Justin). Losing a job is a tough ordeal. I’d like to think that I’ve learned some things about myself and what is reasonable to emotionally invest into work, but man have I got this great idea for a startup…

* ok, not today, really a few weeks ago