A Letter To My Employed Self

There’s a book by author Joseph Galliano called “Dear Me: A letter to my sixteen-year-old self”. It’s a wonderful compilation of letters written by people to their younger selves. Some of the writers are famous, some unknown and all are fabulous. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you have, you understand.

If we could go back and do it all again, some of us would do it exactly the same and some of us would write a hasty letter to warn our younger selves to do it all very differently. Likewise, perhaps when you look back at your last job some of you reflect and think, I’d do it exactly the same. But perhaps, some days, or maybe just in some instances, you think there are things you would do very differently. I do.

Inspired by the idea, I wrote a letter to my previously employed self. And in writing it I made a simple yet startling discovery. Unemployed describes me at this point of my life, it does not define me. It is what I am currently, but it is not who I am indefinitely. And you are not defined by what you do or don’t do. Just in case you had any doubt, I totally rock. And I’m sure if you write a letter to yourself, your younger self, or your employed self, you may very well discover, you totally rock too.

Dear Janelle,

I am proud of you. You have done well up to this point, better than some expected. Better than you expected too.

At the still somewhat tender age of 23 you would have already made management. You have been offered jobs you didn’t even apply for and one or two of those you even turned down. (Be careful with this practice). From where you stand it seems the whole world is ahead of you. Jobs are mere stepping stones on the path of a promising career. But be cautious my dear, it won’t always be this way. There are rocky roads ahead and I’m afraid you are quite unprepared. There are a few things you should know and so you are not left out in the cold on a rainy day, I think it is my duty to prepare you.

The grass on the other side may offer more green, but is not always greener. Worse yet, you will find, sometimes the grass is false and its blades will not grow.

You must stop taking people at face value my naive child. All those that smile with you, will not be your friends. (Even when they say so). But all those that seemingly ignore you, will not be your enemies.

You should have learned by now to talk less, (though I know how much you like to) and listen more (even to the things that may not seem logical at the time). But in fact you have not learned this lesson at all and you must try harder still to put this into practice. It will come to serve you well.

Don’t answer a question just because you have been asked. Don’t think because you have been asked, your opinion will make a difference to the outcome.

It is okay to say no. Say no more frequently.

Standing up for your subordinates does not mean you have to take a fall for them.

Never lie, (this will come too easy for you, try at least to not be so blunt), but do not say everything you are thinking (this you will need to work at).

Curb your youthful enthusiasm. Youth is excellent in reference to skin care, but age is excellent in reference to board-rooms.

Your boss (like your Mother), is always right. You don’t have to believe this but never say otherwise. You will be told you can feel free to speak your mind, don’t. Hush child.

Receive compliments graciously, but don’t meditate on them, this will make you arrogant. Also receive criticisms graciously, but always meditate on them, this way you will learn from your errors and this in turn will make you wise.

Your family will always support you. When you need them, your friends will be there. Your friends are not who you think they are, you will be gravely disappointed and pleasantly surprised. More people love you than you know. There will come a time when you will feel lonely, but even in that time, you will not be alone.

If you can learn all this right now, you will do even better than you or I expect. But if you don’t, that’s okay too, you will learn these lessons eventually. And when you have learned these things, you’ll be ready to take on whatever life throws at you.

Believe in yourself always, you are bigger and better than you can ever imagine.

With love forever,

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Laugh loud, love hard and live in the sunshine.

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