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There’s this thing. I call it the Layoff Monster. To give you a better idea of what I’m talking about, I’ll share my experience with you. There was a period of time that happened in 18 months where I got laid off three times. Every six months, it was like clockwork. It was like…” Hey, we don’t need your ass.” It’s not a good feeling. The third time, that was at Powertel. Two weeks before I was laid off, I was “Salesman of the Month.” My numbers were great.
Before I went off into a business on my own, I was a company man. I’d go to work and work hard. I’d do what was required and climb the ladder. I was doing that corporate thing. For a long time, I was happy to do that.
Every job I had except for the last three, I was the guy who got extra favors. I was looked out for. I actually quit a job once and when I wanted to come back, they created a position for me to come back part-time. I was that kind of employee.Yep. I was “Salesman of the Month” and I got called in. I believe something in me snapped. We’re taught that if you do the right thing and you do good things, that you will get good things in return. You know, you will reap what you sow.In that 18-month period, that was not necessarily the case. I’m not a very religious person. I’m a spiritual person. I do believe in God. But I don’t believe in religion.
I never subscribed to the philosophy that God’s got something better in store for me. That never resonated with me at all.That third time I got laid off, I decided I had to do something different. I figured if I continued to do the same things and expected to yield different results, that I’d end up in the looney bin. When he told me I was laid off that third time, a shift happened at that moment. I became that guy that decided to get over it and explore opportunities for me. I’ve never gone back.
When I was sitting there thinking, and all of these things went through my mind, I became Jewish.I used to have a Jewish roommate, Derek. We’d sit around and talk about a lot of things. We decided that not chasing knowledge and new experiences really fucks up a lot of people. Supposedly, there’s this rift between Jewish people and black people. I’m not part of it. If I really look at it, black people can learn a lot from Jews.Jews were slaves for thousands of years. They figured out the only way to not be hunted down and shot or put into camps was to become an integral part of society. Derek told me, the thinking was…” We’re going to become the lawyers, the doctors and the bankers. You may not like us, but you’re going to need us.”
So, they became a powerful group. That’s a lesson anybody can learn from.
At that moment, in that chair being laid off, I became Jewish. I swore to myself that this shit’s never going to happen to me again. It was a conscious decision, and it was an active decision.It’s taken me a long time to piece it together because I didn’t study the right stuff to learn how to articulate what happened. I was just sitting there thinking…never fucking again is this going to happen to me. Never again would I give my all and be put in the position where they can say, thanks, but no thanks, you go away.Let’s talk about the indoctrination of the American worker. This is one of the reasons you feel so bad when the layoff monster hits you. From birth, you are indoctrinated to be a worker. When I told my mother I was an entrepreneur, she said…”What you’re trying to tell me is you still don’t have a job.” My mother grew up in that era when you were no one if you didn’t have a job.
This mindset starts with our school system. The school system was designed to create workers for the assembly line.
That’s why you feel so bad when you don’t have a job. You are an outlier. You feel like you’re a worthless member of society. Who wouldn’t feel bad with that kind of weight hanging on their shoulders?Then, when you add in the fact that you don’t have any money coming in, then you have a financial calamity. People have lost their marriages, their homes, their cars due to layoffs. Getting laid off is a monster that touches every part of your life. We’re not taught how to create an existence outside of a job. People say starting a business is risky. But you get a job created by some person who started a business. It puzzles me. People don’t think. They just react.
When I was sitting there in that chair off Peachtree Road in downtown Atlanta, I made a real strong, active and positive decision with a ton of emotion behind it. When you make a decision with a lot of energy behind it and it’s a good decision, good things happen.I always had a side hustle, but I never made the full commitment to become an entrepreneur until I couldn’t take it anymore. In that chair after being laid off, I decided I would be in full control of my destiny, for the good and the bad. I made that decision in nanoseconds. In two and a half to three years, I had my own business. That was my first business that I had that was my sole source of income. It was either sink or swim.
I think you should meditate. It’s a tool for the mind. Google transcendental meditation. Meditation is like cleaning your mind. It helps you organize your thoughts.
When you are laid off, you have to reclaim your self-esteem. Take action. One of the reasons I did not crack up after my third layoff is because I took copious amounts of action. It worked out very well.Definitely, don’t give up on yourself. What happens is people begin to believe they don’t have the ability to do more. They begin to think it’s not in the cards for them.Start a business. I don’t care what it is. It will keep the negative emotions at bay. Set goals for yourself.
Once you become unplugged and start a business, it will be very difficult to work for someone else again. If this post turned you on be sure to get on my email list for updates, announcements, special offers and more.