There’s nothing to be happy about losing a job but my happiness seems to have returned after being laid off. You must be rolling your eyes after reading what I just said.
“YOU’RE HAPPY BECAUSE YOU GOT LAID OFF?” “GET OUTTA HERE!”
I don’t blame you if you feel that way. I don’t even mind if you call me an arrogant prick but if you let me explain further, you will understand where I’m coming from.
You see, I’ve had no idea where my happiness came from until this unfortunate (well, for me it’s fortunate) event happened. I used to think that earning big and being the boss was all I ever needed to be happy and I was so damn wrong.
I know I’ve said this before but money won’t buy you happiness. If you go after the money (which I did), you’re in it for the wrong reason.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
I could have been happier a long time ago had I chosen to follow what I was passionate about. I loved to draw, I loved to write, but the path I took didn’t lead to any of the two. When I was about to enter college, computer science was the most popular course because the year 2000 was fast approaching and technology was advancing way too quick. If you had a programming background by the time you graduate, you’ll definitely have a ton of job opportunities in front you and you will earn big bucks!
I took computer science because that’s where the money was and that couldn’t have been more true because IT professionals are among the highest paid individuals today.
I was like, “doesn’t matter if I like it or not but this is where the money is so I’m going to study computer science!”
My happiness level: 7/10
If I can do it all over again, I would have taken architecture or journalism not because of the money but because I know I can excel in these courses and this is where my skills will be useful which is why I urge my children to do the same. I want them to do something they love because it will affect their future in the long run.
So I graduated in 1999 and you know what my first job was? I was in the BPO industry as a customer support representative and what I did had nothing to do with programming! I was in the same company for 10 years and none of the accounts I worked for had anything to do with programming.
But the big question was if I was happy doing it. I can say I was happy because the job wasn’t too complicated but it wasn’t that easy too especially when it comes to difficult customers but I was able to earn a decent amount, have a lot of friends and was able to just come in and leave the office and spend time with family. I wasn’t stressed in any way and save for some office politics that was happening, everything was great!
My happiness level: 8/10
It was only in 2010 where I got my first taste of IT work. It started out really well. The job wasn’t mind-boggling, there was work-life balance, and the pay was good so who am I to complain?
Things began to take a turn when I was promoted and I became a manager. At first I was really happy and proud to be promoted after barely a year in the job (hell, I was in the BPO industry for 10 years but I never got that promotion there!) but I wasn’t expecting the responsibility and the demands of the job to be that overwhelming. My boss was a perfectionist and I really had a hard time pleasing her and delivering her demands.
In less than 6 months, I was totally stressed out. I wanted out. I even asked my manager to just demote me or replace me if she wasn’t satisfied with my performance. That went on for two years until an opportunity came up from another department.
My happiness level: 3/10
I needed a change in scenery. I needed a fresh start so I sent my application to this other department and got hired. I was willing to start from the bottom and learn new things so I didn’t mind if it wasn’t a management position. My motivation back then was just to get out of my current team because I can’t take it anymore so I started out as a level 1 staff but got the surprise of my life when after 2 weeks on the job, my manager decided that he needs me to take on the team lead position.
It was a difficult decision to make because I barely knew the product and there were senior guys who have been there for a long time. I didn’t want to step on somebody else’s toes but I’m not about to let a big opportunity go so I accepted it and once again, I was in cloud nine.
My happiness level: 7/10
I think I spoke too soon when I welcomed this opportunity with open arms because as soon as I took on the role, politics decided to show its ugly head. There was backstabbing and rumor mongering all around and it got dirtier and more personal as time went by. This will go on until my very last day.
Going to work was difficult because not only did I have to take on the stress the job brings, I also had to endure the politics. This was even worse than the previous role I had! And I didn’t have a good work-life balance because I was on call and I can be called to go online at 3am or even during weekends and holidays. The worse thing about it was that I didn’t love what I did. I didn’t have the passion and the drive to study and improve my skills and knowledge of the product to up my performance. I was just there for the money. I didn’t look at the job as if it was my own business. I will just come in and leave and that’s it. It was a good thing that I had friends there who I loved dearly but other than that, I want out but I had nowhere else to go and I needed to earn a living so I had no choice.
My happiness level: 1/10
My team was laid on the last day of February and at that time I must admit I was scared. I had no pending applications that had the hope of becoming a success and I have a family to feed and kids to send to school. The future wasn’t certain but I am not about to just give up.
I soon realized that if there was a perfect time to go freelance, IT’S NOW! I will have savings from the separation pay I will get, I have gathered enough skills from blogging and writing for three years and I will be able to fulfill my dream of working from home and be near my family when they need me. No more traffic, no more politics, no more stress!
A month and a half later, I am now doing freelance work full-time. I can earn the amount of money I did in my previous job (sometimes even more) and I can work whenever and wherever I want as long as there’s Internet. It is now that I realized that happiness is not just about money and titles. It’s about the freedom and the autonomy to do something you love. It’s about being able to use your skills to help other people. It’s about getting away from the stress and having work-life balance and I have all of them now. It wouldn’t have been possible if I was not laid off.
My happiness level: 10/10
Over to You
Every failure has its purpose just as losing my job had one. And just like the title of my book, Garbage has just turned to gold. You just need to believe that everything, even the negative events that happens to us, are blessings in disguise and that it is up to you what kind of meaning or reason you will attach to them.
You also have to define what happiness really is to you because life wouldn’t always be kind but no matter what it brings, it shouldn’t be the deciding factor whether you’ll be happy or not.
What makes you happy?
If you haven’t determined it yet, then what will make you happy?
I’d love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment or share your stories. Let’s help one another through our experiences in life!
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