After about a year of being unemployed I managed to land a contract position working for an insurance company auditing their legal bills. The hours were full time and the work was a tedious, cubicle type job. Because I was a contract employee I did not have medical benefits, it did not pay very well and I was treated like a second-class citizen compared to the full time employees. On the other hand, I did have a place to go during the day and I had enough income coming in where I was able to get off unemployment insurance. It was better place to work than Dechert because the hours were not as long and the people were a little nicer. For that I was grateful. Basically, I was working this job because it was better than being unemployed. But I knew that I was working this job only until I could find something better.
The guys in my Men’s Group were supportive and happy that I finally was no longer unemployed. But they all encouraged me to look for a job that better suited my desires. At the time I really had trouble articulating what I actually wanted. When asked this question my mind would go blank. I knew I did not like working in a cubicle all day. I had a vague notion that I wanted to write but every time I tried to write I ended up getting derailed.
Then I heard about a history teacher position at the private high school I attended when I was a kid. I loved history and could picture myself moving out of my parents’ house and becoming a part of the school’s community. The job sounded much more exciting than my soulless, corporate cubicle job. I started to get really excited about it. I interviewed with some of the school’s faculty. A few of them were teachers that I had in high school. I thought the interviews went well and I really started to get my hopes up.
I remember going to work feeling good about the prospect of not having to work there much longer. I went to group and told them about the position. They all seemed to think it would be a good fit for me. Weeks went by and I did not hear anything from the school. Every week in the mens’ group they asked me if I got the job. I kept telling them I had not heard yet. Then one day I got an email in my cubicle informing me they hired someone else for the position.
I was devastated. I went to group and told them what had happened. I could barely get the words out when I described the humiliation I felt. When I did I broke down crying in front of them. At first I tried to hold back the tears but Scott told me to let them out. Against every fiber of my being and every instinct I had I allowed myself to cry in front of them.
Craig (one of the group members) told me he thought I was going to get the position but now he knew that I was meant not to get it because I had to go through this experience. I did not fully understand. But after that meeting I felt better. A huge weight of humiliation and defeat had been lifted off my shoulders.
I sent Craig an email and asked him what he meant.
Last night seemed significant. But now I feel like that significance is receding. Can you please tell me your perspective on my work so I don’t lose what happened? Does that make sense to you?
Last night was a miracle. You let people love you even though you were feeling humiliated. No one attacked you for being who you are. You let people witness your vulnerability and your perceived “badness” for lack of a better word and you were loved through it, not beat up. You let people see into your soul and you survived it. You jumped from a cliff that you could never survive jumping from and landed on your two feet completely unhurt. Not only unhurt but a better person for jumping. George, last night was beautiful. If there were words that would let me relay the true significance of last night I would share them with you. Words will never do justice to what we experienced last night. Please let me point out that I did say “we.” Every person in that room last night was taken to a place we could never be alone. I feel sad that Dave and Marc weren’t able to be in your presence last night. It was easily the most significant night in my group experience other than my own major breakthroughs which I can count on both hands. Stellar. I hope this puts a little perspective on what happened last night. And as an addendum, we can never lose what happens to us spiritually and I mean never as in eternity. Can we feel that always, I don’t know but I can appreciate it when I do.