A few months ago I was put on furlough. It was quite a shock because I’ve never found myself in that sort of position. I wasn't even sure what it meant, but it felt bad.
For a few days I sat wondering, “Why?”
As in why me? Why was I put on the bench? I’ll admit to you that it was a draining experience. I had low energy for a time. In that dark moment I remembered my training, adjusted my attitude, and changed my question.
I started asking “How?”
How might I use my time wisely to get stronger, smarter, and better?
An athlete that’s not racing still needs to train. They need to stay ready at a highly competitive level so that when they’re called up to the starting line they’re ready to get involved.
How might I do the same as a technologist? What does training look like for a brain worker?
How was I going to mentally prepare to be more ready for my next opportunity? Let me tell you, it wasn’t exactly easy, but it wasn’t complicated either. I started writing a long todo list. I discovered there’s a multitude of ways for people like me to get better.
In those two months of furlough I leveraged all the resources we have available on the Internet. This is what I delivered:
Two months of self-directed work was good for me because I helped some folks, learned new concepts, earned experience, and dialed-in crucial skills. All of this training kept me sharp. I could have easily gone idle but instead I strived to maintain the high level of performance I expect of myself.
Ultimately, I’m happy to report that now I’m a little less useless than I was before!
I honestly hope I have a chance to put this knowledge to good use in the service of the people around me. If you read anything on that list above that you want to know more about - just ask. I’ll gladly figure out a way to share with you what I’ve learned.
At the start of July I’ve been called back to work and glad to be there! Travel is an important freedom and I’m proud to be a part of a company that powers the industry.
People want to take vacations and make memories of a lifetime. People want to grow their business visiting customers and partners. Moving around the world is a key part of modern life.
I’m more committed than ever before to helping travelers do what they enjoy.
I started asking “Why” in reaction to some bad news. It’s a natural human response. I could have turned very negative, very quickly, and buried myself in a right proper little pit of misery and suffering.
I’m fortunate because some very smart people have coached me over the years. I'm reminded by their lessons that I have a choice, my choice matters, and that I should make good choices.
Changing my question to “How” was a fantastic choice for me! How might I take advantage of this utterly unique moment of time and make myself better?
I hope you have a choice in the matter of making your life better. Professionally, and personally.
If you can write down a goal to aim for, and practice every day on the things you know that you should do, you’ll get better. I absolutely believe that.
There’s no upper limit to how much more awesome you can be!
The more I said the word “Furlough” the more I thought it sounded like a monster in Nintendo’s famous video game, Pokemon.
That’s the inspiration behind my sketch! 😉