At the beginning of January in 2015 I left my job in downtown Los Angeles to work for a small, up-and-coming advertising agency in Laguna Beach, California.
There were 6 employees at the time and I was number 6.
LW is the CEO of that advertising agency.
In the four months I worked there before I got (fired) "transitioned" I learned a lot from LW and did a lot for LW. Ultimately, it wasn't enough.
More importantly however, before I found an apartment on my own I moved into my aunt and uncle's house. The commute to Laguna Beach was easier from their house in Irvine than where I was living in Southeast Los Angeles. I got to know my Aunt and Uncle more, which worked out perfectly because my uncle died a couple days ago.
If I had never worked for LW at the advertising agency, I would'nt have had a chance to get to know my uncle the way I did.
After being fired in May, I told LW that we'd be in touch. I'm not vindictive and aside from the travel involved, the job didn't excite me. I knew I wanted to talk to her about how I felt, but I never thought it was the right time.
I didn't write her until my uncle died last Thursday.
This is what I said.
It’s almost mid-September, so that means it’s been at least 3 weeks since your birthday and it’s been almost 4 months since I was “transitioned” from [advertising agency]. So, I’m writing you this email to say happy belated birthday and thank you for (firing) "transitioning" me. I know you don’t like excuses and you love emails with bullet points, but there’s a reason I’m late with the birthday wishes and I hate what bullet point emails and "list posts" are doing to society today. So I hope you don’t mind me going back to school and writing you an essay. If you have to skip this email, know this:
I really want to wish you a happy birthday and I am so happy and grateful that you (fired) transitioned me.
If you’re still reading, hello. I’m thriving now. I teach ESL (like I did in Japan and Brazil) at a small university in Newport Beach. I work at a hotel by Disneyland speaking all kinds of languages. I drive for Lyft (Uber in the near future) and deliver for Postmates. Above all, I’m happy. This update (I thought I was done updating you) is not the reason I’m writing you. Aside from the birthday wishes and thank yous, there’s a reason for this letter the way there’s a reason for everything else in this world. I want to take a moment to reflect with you, the way friends do.
You see, when I first started at [advertising agency] I was drawn to you because of your choice in words. I was sold the moment in my initial interview when you said, “Do you realize you manifested this?”
Yes. I did.
I often say, “You manifest what you put forth.” One of Robert Cialdini’s Weapon’s of Influence (great book) is “liking”. You’re more inclined to do something for someone who you like. So talk like them. Sit like them. Act like them. If they like you, they’ll buy from you.
I liked you. I bought everything you had to say.
You spoke in an embellished, flowery, and spiritual way, saying things like, “Come from a place of love.” ‘Avoid chaos." “Leave your ego.” “The flower blooms when it’s supposed to.”
When I was (fired) "transitioned" you mentioned that I wasn’t thriving. You mentioned how much I did to fit your mold. You even went so far as to mention that “I moved out to Orange County for you!”
Well, LW, let me finish this letter by telling you, you were right about almost everything.
I was not thriving at [advertising agency]. I am now.
I was doing a lot to fit your mold. I feel so much better being myself.
I did initially move to Orange County for [advertising agency], however; my uncle who I lived with when I first moved out here, died last Thursday. Had I never moved out here, I never would have spent time with him before he died. Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards.”
I haven’t reached out to you since I was fired because I was looking for other work and worried about rent.
I found work and I’m thriving.
I’m coming to you from a place of love, gratitude, peace, and no ego.
I moved to Orange County 9 months before my uncle died.
I was in the room when he passed away.
When I got fired from [advertising agency], I didn’t understand completely. I was in "chaos".
It feels so nice to be at peace now.
The flower blooms when it’s supposed to, doesn’t it?
Love and respect,
"I believe death is only a door. One closes and another opens. If I were to imagine heaven, I would imagine a door opening ..."
- Dave Mitchell
Rest easy Uncle Al (1933 - 2015)