I’ve never been a blamer, not consciously, anyway. We’ve all known someone who has the habit of pointing a finger anywhere else but towards themselves when explaining what went wrong with something they were involved. Whether asked why they ran a red light or how they wound up in jail, the answer given is out there, somewhere. It was someone else’s fault or even just really bad luck. It is annoying and often frustrating to listen to when it happens. When I have noticed myself making excuses, I even annoyed myself because copping out and avoiding responsibility isn’t an attractive look on anyone older than five.
The last few years, there have been a few extraordinary upsets and disappointments in my life that relate to work. In the first half of 2005, I was enjoying the rewards of a well-earned career as a software engineer.
I was entrusted with responsibility that I gave the best of myself to see through successfully. I worked up in salary from $12 an hour in 1997 until I was earning 6 figures not including substantial performance bonuses and benefits. I had a 401K and a nest egg of savings.
My coworkers, for the most part, liked me, and I played pool and ping-pong with the company president. I was employee of the year two years running. Life was busy, but good.
Fast forward to now. Today, I don’t have coworkers. I won’t be employee of the year because I am not employed. I have a zero figure salary, and in fact, if pressed to do so I would not be able to put two nickels together. Scraping together loose change has long since been tapped out. I have sold anything I still had that held re-sale value.
Beginning the night of September 20 and the 150 or so nights following it, I will slept in a shed that had power outlets for lights and gadgets but didn’t include a bathroom, kitchen, or heat. Running water was available outside from a hose. Rats lived in the walls and the shed was built atop a thriving ant colony.
My livable space was crammed within that 8′ x 12′ structure. I am very grateful that it did not leak. Until it rained. Then, The rain in my part of California had been relentless a solid week. I was grateful it didn’t leak worse than it did.
Today, that 8′ x 12′ is condensed further into the enclosed space of a 15 year old cargo van that has about 7 feet of length behind the seats and about 5 feet of width, excluding the two wheel well areas.
I am in the midst of making it suitable to sleep safely and carry the remains of what is left of my possessions. I have been situationally encouraged to embrace the practice of purging. If there were such an event as a “speed purge”, I would have done astonishingly well.
So, how did this happen? How did a successful person in 2005 turn up subsisting in shared accommodations with a family of rats and peeing in a bucket at the turn of 2015?
That is what I endeavor to find out. I expect what is discovered will be surprising, if to no one other than myself.
What I do know, is that no matter what I find, I am committed to being accountable for my own actions, choices and my attitude. The small amount of power I hold is what I control between my ears. I am in sole command of the direction my thinking travels.
I need to set that course and make sure I stay on