Life After Lay-Off

schnurr-headerBy Chris Schnurr

(WINDSOR, ON) – Many years ago, many more than I care to admit, my father shared with me Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If”. Now being the omniscient teenager, I of course promptly dismissed (while rolling my eyes) whatever lessons Kipling’s words had to impart.

It’s curious really.

We spend the first quarter of our lives ignoring our parents’ advice and then, usually with horror, suddenly realize you have become your parents at the most opportune time.

Although I have no souvenirs to show, it has been quite the journey on the road towards completing my degree since my job was eliminated.

At the same time, it has also been an incredibly stressful period. Allowing people and events to define you will do that. You just have to learn to trust yourself. You have to learn (or relearn) to live for yourself; that’s the hardest lesson of all.

Despite the challenges and other seemingly insurmountable obstacles, it has been both an enlightening and rewarding experience. Learning has not only been about textbooks and assignments (and trust me, I’ve had more than my fair share of those), it’s also been about self-discovery, or rather, rediscovery – and not just the cobwebs years of complacency bring.

No matter what people, events, or life throw at you, we each have an infinite capacity for success – no matter how big or small. It’s important to remember that. If you take anything from this, take that with you.

Now, as I look forward to crossing the convocation stage, I’m asking myself, what do I want to be when I grow up? Do I pursue a business idea I’ve been working on? Will I have to leave the city I love? It’s a little unsettling, but at the same time it’s exciting to be asking myself that question.

Not everyone gets a chance to start over.

While losing my job in Canada’s unemployment capital has been frustrating (with a little bit of fear thrown in for good measure) on the one hand, on the other, it’s the best thing to have happened. It’s forced me to reprioritize and focus upon what is really important. Everything else is just noise at best, toxic at worst. So while it may seem an odd thing to say, I’m thankful.

I can hear my father saying now, “If you think you are beaten, you are. If you think you dare not, you don’t.”

Although 25 years late … thanks, Dad.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise