This – by far the most uncomfortable moment I had at work, ever.
And a powerful lesson, of sorts…
This was a time when the Y2K bubble burst and the job market for software went dead.
And I mean dead, absolutely was nothing – only gig I could salvage in 18 months was a base wage at this startup.
There were five of us in this basement coding away when the big boss started calling us in, one by one.
It was tough, you could see it – each person came out with their head down, refusing to speak.
But what is going on?! Are they firing us? But then why does everyone look??
And I am the last one to go in:
There’s hardly any light, the shutters drawn in, and the big boss leans in towards me:
“Things haven’t been going to plan. Turns out, I can only keep three of you on,” he says.
“Ok”, I offer meekly.
He’s staring me down.
“And you guys know each other better than I do, so you must decide.”
I have ask, “Decide what?”
He counters, “Who will stay and who will go. I have a sense you know what’s going on, so tell me – who needs to go?”
What does this man want?!
“I can’t tell you that!”
He counters, “You can, and you will, if you want to keep your job.”
“But I’m not the boss, it’s your place, you decide!”
“I’ll be direct. If you don’t tell me right now, two names, you’re gone. Right now. This is the last chance.”
I sat there, frozen. So many things went through my mind… Would it be easier to just tell him? I knew the guys who weren’t much good, and it wouldn’t be my decision in the end, anyway. But… Somehow, this is just so wrong…
These were only words that came out.
“I can’t. Do whatever you like.”
I got up and walked away, exhausted, as if from a fight.
I don’t remember what happened next, but I ended up staying in that job for another two years when the job market got better.
Why am I sharing this story with you?
It’s that boundaries are EVERYTHING.
Sometimes we find them the hard way, but it’s a lot less hassle to put them in place yourself to stop things you don’t want from trampling you over.
Putting boundaries in place is absolutely necessary to bring that sense of balance into your life.
It’s simple, even if not always easy – but I believe there’s a way without compromising on what’s right for you and your way of life.
If this can help you in your life today, then tune in to the latest episode of The Happy YOU:
If you are looking for a pick me up, check out my brand new book on thriving in times of uncertainty: