I’m doing some contract work for a company that is in the process of laying off nearly 15% of their workforce. The office is very tense, morale is low, and rumors are flying as everyone waits to see who stays and who goes. “No one is safe” is a phrase I’m hearing way too often.
I’m also working with a client who is applying for new work after being fired. She’s devastated and hired me to help her figure out what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again.
The people who are potentially being laid off from my contract company are amazing – some of the top of the field at what they do. My client is amazing – I’ve learned a lot about her in the course of coaching her and I want to hire her myself.
Being amazing doesn’t prevent you from getting fired. Being top of your field doesn’t prevent you from getting laid off.
Many people in my contract company are “on their best behavior,” trying to prove they are good enough to stay. My client is highlighting her volunteer work because she’s trying to “make up” for being fired.
I’m an outsider in both of these situations – someone who is not personally affected and has a more objective view. And I find – to my surprise –that I’m angry. I’m angry on behalf of my friends at work and my client.
I’m not angry at the company for laying people off, or at the foolish person who fired my brilliant client. No, I’m an angry at something much harder to rage against – a pervasive cultural belief.
I’m angry because we’ve bought the lie that someone in “authority” has the ability to judge whether or not we’re worthy. I’m angry at the idea that if we do everything “right”, we’ll be rewarded by someone with more power than us.
This belief lurks everywhere – in our workplaces, in our families, in our politics, in our religions.
And it’s complete and utter bullshit.
You’re worthy because you are human.
Your skills and temperament might not be the right fit for a specific job situation. Your body might not be the right fit for a specific definition of attractive. Your desires might not be the right fit for a specific religion. Your beliefs might not be the right fit for a specific political party.
But that doesn’t change the fact that you are worthy, perfect, and whole exactly as you are.
It’s up to you to decide how valuable you are.
If a person or an organization doesn’t see your value, let that be their problem – don’t make it your own by trying to change yourself to be valuable to someone else.
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