Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pay It Forward

I started a blog on my business website (http://www.typearesources.com/), because I wanted to help others who have been laid off turn it into an opportunity. As I was thinking about writing my next journal for the site, I remembered a letter from a friend/old colleague/mentor, which was so profound to me at the time (and still remains close to my heart). She was someone who always believed in me, challenged me personally, and really helped me grow professionally. I thought this was important enough to also share here.

Back in 2002 during the dotcom crash, I worked for a start-up company in Los Angeles. We had grown from 10 to 200+ employees in four years, and it was challenging and exciting. I moved up quickly, because I had such passion for the work, ran with the opportunities given to me, and took complete control of my tasks, always delivering in this very fast-paced environment.

After acquiring another company and changing our business direction, we started to go through layoffs. By the fifth round, which was purely salary-based, I was gone. The woman who hired me and mentored me throughout my employment (who I remain very close to) had left a year earlier. When she found out I got laid off, she was very upset. I moved to San Diego just following the layoff, and lived with friends until I settled in. About four months later, a letter arrived from my mentor. I would like to share it with you here. I just re-read it after 7 years, and it still resonates as much now as it did back then.

“This is not a loan. This is a gift. I purposefully am sending a money order to be sure that you will accept it/cash it. Again, it’s not a loan. It’s something I want to do for you because I really care about you and have been very sad with the turn of events in your life. At the same time, I am heartened by your spirit and your refusal to give up. I ask two things of you. When you are able and however you can do/choose to do it, pass on the gesture to someone in your life. This does not necessarily need to be with money. It is whatever gesture is right for you. Second, please try to adopt this prayer into your daily prayers; it has helped me so much, especially when I was in big transitions."

"God, help me to see the opportunities you are putting in front of me. Help me keep my eyes open. Help me to live not by my will, but yours. And when I see it, give me the courage to act on it. I trust that you have a plan for me God. Help me see it, help me realize it."

Whether you are spiritual or not, there is a message to take away. Being a Gumptionista is not just about fighting for yourself or your cause, but often fighting for others who may have lost some of their fight. It's not always about giving money, but providing direction, reassurance, and a listening ear. Now is the time to offer a helping hand, however you can.