Friday, August 7, 2015

Company Of Men

Three worded sentences are the hardest to say...sometimes plain impossible.
They are small and simple, and yet carry heavy meaning and often signal a change of heart or change in pace.
Three worded sentences like "I love you", "I am sorry", "Please come back", "I need help".
I had to learn a new three worded sentence on September 18th, 2014. 
There were three full days between this unforgettable day and my 33rd birthday. Everything seemed almost symbolic, perfectly orchestrated. 
On the 18th of September 2014, I had to learn to say three words that would detail and challenge, suffocate and bless my 2015...I AM RETRENCHED.

My retrenchment was no shock. I was warned by many people and circumstances that it was coming. I felt mentally and emotionally prepared for it. My old company had struggled long and hard and I knew we were down to the wire and headcount needed to be decreased. To top it off, I was not happy there towards the end and knew I didn't have the personality to just leave. Retrenchment was the only way I was going to leave.

The beginnings of being unemployed were pure, sleeping in, brunches and overloading on family and friends. I was in so much peace. 
Nothing like a blank page, fresh start, to get you excited.
It felt like a new being was being born and I was thrilled to try reinvest myself. 

The highs were super high. But the lows, were very low too. 
Tough moments of self doubt and sheer panic followed. 
I struggled so much. I had so much of me entangled in my "corporate girl" persona. 
It was sheer trauma when I had to meet new people because they'd always ask me what I did. Telling people you are out of work was both humiliating and hurtful. And I didn't understand why.

Then loneliness took over.
The invites to movies and theatre stopped coming. Friends were too busy to chat during the day. And the worry on my folks' faces, made me feel like I had somehow caused this and failed! When you don't work, you feel like a leper or a divorcee. 
People don't know how to deal with you, so they avoid you.

I smile now thinking back at those days and how different people, dealt with my retrenchment.
My friends Tania and Nishal stuck close to me...tighter, calling, texting and lunching with me through it all. We'd talk about my job prospects but I also love them for talking to me about something other than finding a job.
My father was very practical with his stress over my joblessness. He'd come by my place for no reason, but pretend that some fixing and painting was needed...just his way of saying he was there, loving, caring.
My mother and sisters prayed and send me notes of encouragement. My brother didn't know what to do and acted like nothing happened.
I love them all for being real with me.

I watched The Company Of Men so much during that period. It is now, one of my favorite movies of all time! In it, the key characters are retrenched from high paying, flashy jobs. Each deals with it so differently. Some cant and choose to exit their lives. But each of them, like me, was forced to re-valuate all they thought mattered. 
They were forced to review if their jobs were what they wanted. Forced to review how their jobs shaped and informed who they became and how status birthed so many of their fears. 

So many of us, this is our story. We start of working hard and kind of liking what we do. 
But then we buy stuff...clothes, homes, cars etc and suddenly these things and these jobs own us! Its so scary.

The 31st of July 2015 marks exactly 9 months of my retrenchment.
It also signals the end of my retrenchment, as I start a new job on August 1st.
It feels like these 9 months I was being formed. Like a baby in the womb.

God really pushed and challenged me these months. Everything about me was magnified to me, to see how false and dangerous it is. 
I realized how, just with only 10 years of work experience, I had already become so reliant on corporate, on business, to tell me who I am and what I am worth.
I relied on my job title to tell me who I was.
I made my paycheck my life giving source.
I forgot that a job is meant to give you the means to live a life imagined, and to not be your life.

As I approach this new job, I am panicked. I pray that I don't fall back into my old ways.
I pray that, all I have learnt about myself and my journey, remains with me each day there.
I pray that this new job wont lull me back to the falsity of the security of money and status.

It is still my dream to have my own company and I pray that this new job remains a brief fund-generating stop, and not a  permanent detour from a life I imagine for myself.

We make false gods of status, money, German cars and beautifully decorated homes.
We don't learn from nature, consuming only what we need and not hiding behind inanimate things.

May your name live and dance in the world and not just be bold on your business card.
May your suits and heels not imprison and restrict your living and breathing.


  1. I am in awe of your wisdom. I am sorry I wasn't there to support you in some way. I possibly may have gotten in the way of whatever you needed to go through anyway so maybe it was for the best.

    Thank you for sharing again so many who are retrenched may relate to this

    1. You were there my Light. Seeing all He was doing through you, helped mend me. You are my reference for hope, for tenacity, for fearlessness.