Lorelle’s Blog Challenge: Worst Business Decision
Lorelle on WordPress has released a new blog challenge, and even though I’m a little late in responding to it, I found this one sparked a lot of thoughts. The challenge was to blog about our “Worst Business Decision” (follow the preceding link to the post and see how everyone responded. I posted a reply that described the mistake I made, but thinking about it got me to thinking about how much I’ve changed over the years.
I used to be the kind of person who could not stand the thought that I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I knew I was not perfect, I just didn’t like people knowing it. The one place in my life where I felt I was in control, the one place I felt really successful, used to be my Job. I was good at sales, I was great a support, and I turned the store I was managing around from almost being closed down to clearing over a 1 million in merchandise in a year. I was king of my world and I did not want anyone to know I had made a mistake. So I covered it up and I was fired for it.
After that I spent a few months trying to find a job, and a friend of mine told me about this place that he thought I would be perfect for. So I ended up working as a crisis councilor for public schools. At the time I actually had the gall to say to myself “How the mighty have fallen.” But, as anyone who as worked with children for any length of time will tell you, kids have a way of effecting you like nothing else in this world. I was working with kids in Elementary schools who were dealing with all kinds of crazy stuff: divorce, death of parents, parents with brain tumors, siblings that were in gangs, family members who were drug dealers. I was working with middle schoolers and high schoolers who were seriously thinking of killing themselves because of all the crap going on in their lives, or were trying to stop using drugs, or were about to be expelled from their school if the made one more screw up. Seeing what these kids were dealing with really made me re-evaluate my own life, and my own perception of who I was. If I had have the integrity that some those kids showed in really bad situations, I would have never lost my job.
But then I never would have been in that situation. A co-worker of mine bitterly stated the other day at lunch that, “We make our own God dam destiny.” To a certain extent I believe her, we all have control of our decisions in our life and what we do with what we have. However, that does not mean that certain uncontrollable events do not force us to change who we are. Living meal to meal for 5 months, not sure where money was going to come from to buy food, let alone gas to got to job interviews or hang with friends, and knowing the only reason I had roof over my head was the kindness of my friend’s mother who had an extra room; these things radically altered my perception of what a person “needs” in order to survive. My soon to be wife and I learned that we really enjoy reading to each other, and found amazing ways to spend time together that were simple and creative. And my standard of what rock bottom was went though an amazing change. I don’t think I’ve ever hit rock bottom, but I now know how low I have to go to get close to it, and I will never go back to that place if I can avoid it.
Another thing that changed me was, of course, being married. Even before I was married, I depended on my wife for so much. Getting by, day to day, not knowing if our wedding would come off, not knowing if we were going to have food to get us into the next week end, forced me to realize that I can survive if I am not in control. My wife showed me love like I had never experienced at that point in my life, as we took turn freaking out and being there for the other person as they freaked out. When you literally have nothing except the person you love, and all because of a mistake that you made, the world starts to look a little different.
I don’t think I will ever be able to forgive myself for the mistake I made, and the pain that resulted from it. However, I am glad that it changed me for the better, and that I am a much stronger person that I was before I lied about that mistake. I now know what it is like to have lost everything I thought I had, and I discovered how much I really that I never saw before. I must be getting old…I can actually say I’m happy with the way it turned out.