Letting Go

I was laid off from my place of employment on Tuesday. I wasn’t really surprised; to be honest, I’d known it was coming for a while. My leader, a close friend, was the one that delivered the news. It was, of course, a necessity; though he could have let HR handle it. However, he isn’t that type of person; being a friend, my leader, and an honorable and good person, he took it on himself to deliver the news. It wound up being pretty tough, like I said, we are close.

I’m glad though, that he’s the one to have done it.

‘I’m glad you weren’t moping, and that you were here or I’d have asked HR for your address and drove up and kicked your butt. If you’re mopey at my funeral I’m going to haunt you, and not in a good way.’

I actually drove back up today to drop off some equipment and to check on him. Thankfully, he was there, and he wasn’t down or really all that somber. I kidnapped him from work, and made him buy me beer. OK, actually I asked if he had time for beer and he offered to pay, but I digress, my imagination tries to make my life entertaining. He let me know that he almost wasn’t there, for very valid reasons, but had found a reason to slip out to the office.

We sat and we talked, for two hours, about the things men talk about. Life, work, bosses, people and events in our lives, how we got to be who we are, where we are, how we are, stuff that matters. I let him know why I’d come up and the next time I’d be up. We agreed to make the beer thing semi-regular, and I verified that we had each other’s phone numbers.

“What do you want in your recommendation?”

One question that he asked me was particularly interesting to talk about. As it’s been a point of introspection in my personal philosophy for a very long time, and I’m glad I was able to share my views on it with him.

“What do you want in your recommendation?”

The question is relevant, both because I’d just been let go and he wanted to know what I wanted him to say. Which is exactly what I wouldn’t want him to say. I explained that I wanted him to write exactly what his view of me, and my work, is.

This, for many working professionals, is grossly out of whack. Reputations are to be heavily self-regulated and maintained. How a person appears on paper should only carry what they feel are their strongest traits.

This is wildly insincere.

In my estimation of life, if I have to tell someone to write good things about me, even if they’re right, then it’s a falsehood, a lie. It should be on me to be what I want other people to put on paper, and if I’m not living up to that, then I shouldn’t be asking those people for a recommendation because I don’t deserve it.

This is a horribly unpopular stance to take.

By asking … [people] … to write in their own observations, the reader can construct something approaching the me that actually is.

I know, but it’s also a deeply held aspect of my personal philosophy and my way of life. After much reading and thinking about things, I came to the realization that the only person that can really know themselves fully is that person. Everyone else will always have their own view of a person, based on their interactions. That is, the me that is me, is not the same me that everyone else meets. Everyone else has a slightly different take on what constitutes me, based on their impressions, their experiences in life, and how we’ve interacted. Even two people in the same room would have different interpretations of who I am. So the most reliable way for people to get a feel for another person without meeting them, is to read about them from multiple different sources, and then kind of figure that the average of these observations is somewhere close to the truth. By asking my leader, and in fact all of my friends that are writing recommendations, to write in their own observations, the reader can construct something approaching the me that actually is.

This wasn’t the only thing we discussed of course, but the only other salient point that I’m willing to divulge was another statement that I made:

‘Good people tend to overly think of themselves as bad, because — outside of very rare occasions — they can’t see the good they do in the world.’

This is incredibly unfair. It is isn’t it?

But it is the way it is.
I’m glad I wasn’t a banana head.

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