One year ago around this time my name was called as one of 28 to be laid off from a company which I had invested over 6 years of employment. The feeling that day would equate to pulling up the drain plug on a bathtub filled with warm confidence. Initially I was in shock and in dismay that this had happened, but the bathtub was still warm so not much to worry about. My time with the company had been a good one with its series of gained experiences, and I was confident that they would be of value for the next employment opportunity.
I went through the numb motions of collecting my objects; signing off on severance documents; wishing my other 27 laid off brethren “all the best in their future endeavours” (A saying used as often as a credit card during the Christmas rush!) and finally setting up a meeting with the company appointed career counselor. I did feel a slight chill as I exited the office. I think the level started to drop in the tub. But there was no need to reach for the tap. Why should I? I was “filled” with confidence, and knew the next job was right around the corner.
Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. I was applying to jobs and getting interviews, but nothing concrete as an offer. Some of my ex-colleagues had already moved on with other jobs. Now the “confidence-tub” felt half full. I started questioning my abilities to provide for my family, community, city, province, country, and world! Did anybody not want this valued citizen for his experience and labour abilities? The more I worried and panicked, the lower the level in the tub got. How was I going to help support my family? How much more would I have to endure until the drain got plugged? Would there ever be an end to this?
Just when I thought I heard the echoing rumble of the last bit of my confidence flow down the drain, my career counsellor, was there to help fill the tub again. She guided me in establishing a career path that clearly matched my current skills and competencies. Becoming a Career Counselor was to be the next chapter in my diverse vocational novel. I became alive! I got active and applied myself through college courses; leadership programs; and volunteering. Each of these gave me a sense of purpose and drive, in building my confidence. The more confident I got, the warmer I felt. The warmer I felt, the more open I was to new opportunities. The confidence-tub was filling up nicely, yet the drain was still open.
At first I was concerned that I would lose my confidence but as time went on I noticed that there were days when my tub was overflowing and filling others. There is no greater feeling than helping someone else when they are low. Oddly enough when I would be having one of those “draining” days, someone was always there with a spoon, cup, bucket, hose, vat, tanker, or other vessel to help out. I began to realize that there was a flow to this confidence.
To this day, the drain still remains unplugged; however it is no longer a concern. I now know that confidence is a life skill attitude which is ACTIVELY developed and used on a daily basis. Confidence is now a labour of love that keeps me moving forward regardless of what obstacles life places in front of me.
My new mantra for filling the confidence-tub?
As the Dos XX man says: “Stay thirsty my friends”.
Christopher Grice is a Continuing Education Student currently studying with the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College. MCACES offers a comprehensive Employment Advisement program for our students. For more information about Employment Advisement, please visit the MCACES website, www.mcaces.ca or contact Lidia Siino, Employment & Communications Specialist at Lidia.firstname.lastname@example.org.