Sharks and termination

Writing

21 January/Posted by aaronplaat

Reading Time: 2 minutes

During the war, Opa was stationed on an island near Papua New Guinea; Jefman Island. Used as an air base by the Royal Air Force (RAF), Opa was placed in charge of the island and journaled his experience in his book. 

An avid swimmer, Opa would make a half-mile swim every afternoon in the clear tropical waters. A few weeks went by where he noticed the local natives waiting for him at the dock – only on Tuesday. Eventually, his curiosity piqued and he stopped to ask them what they were doing at the dock. 

“Well, boss-man, every week there is a very large shark that appears in the water. We are betting to see if you make it back alive.”

He thought little of it until the next week. While swimming, he noticed something shiny on the bottom of the sea floor. Swimming down to retrieve the object, he was suddenly cast underneath a very large shadow. 

Looking up, he saw a 14-foot hammerhead shark swimming overhead. The shark circled around to investigate this oddity in the water; pausing to bump Opa with its large hammer before swimming off in the ocean. 

As a child, it was incredible to hear stories of this nature. Some kids have to watch television series to discover their heroes. I grew up on the knee of mine. 

With 2018 firmly behind me (whew), I’m thankful to look ahead and see a year that’s already been full of adventure, change, and excitement. I had a few major life changes last year. It was a year of transition, growth and getting my shit together. 

In November, I was fired by Expensify. I was surprised at how much joy/relief I felt to no longer be employed by somebody other than myself. I was approaching my third year in the organization and felt a lot of unrest at no longer being my own boss. Call it the universe, but I received a call where I discovered I no longer had a job. 

I remember walking home from the office, surprised at the amount of relief I felt to no longer be tied down by a job. In a moment’s glance, I had clarity about my life and where I wanted to go with it. 

Having a job was fun. It really was. However, it was never my intention to move to California and devote my 30’s to an employer. When I was hired, I told the CEO I was coming to work for him to learn how to build a strong company culture. Once the lesson was over, it was time to move on. 

As an entrepreneur, I’ve seen the world through a different lens than many. Even an incredible job in the tech industry, with all the flash and kombucha, was little more than a vehicle to teach a lesson. After the shock (mainly, ego) of getting fired, I remember somebody asked me what my plan was. Without skipping a beat, I burst into laughter and told them “Well, now I can do the things I really love!”

If 2018 was the year of excreting all of the things, people, and places that are no longer serving you, 2019 is the year of setting those things on fire to build something new and beautiful. 

I’m reminded of a quote from Arnold, who said:

”My grandmother once told me to take a look in the mirror and take it down. Once you take down the mirror (which only reflects your self/ego, you begin to see all the people you’re capable of helping with your life.”

 

Posted by aaronplaat

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