This I Believe

Karl - Cheyenne, Wyoming
Entered on April 12, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: setbacks

This I believe:

I believe that how I deal with a situation is more important than the situation itself. This belief was enforced on me by a situation I found myself in some years back.

I had worked hard to get into a profession that I loved, is respected and is well paid. Unfortunately, my company had been corporate raided, weakened, and was bought out by a rival. The corporate culture at the new company was unlike anything I had previously experienced. At the new company, everything was “screwed” (I am cleaning up the language). Many there seemed to feel that the company, unions, management, industry, government, etc… was screwing them. A common saying there was “If there is any way I can screw this company, I will, because if there is any way they can screw me, they will”. Another favorite pastime for many of these people was to put down my company.

After the buyout, the new company promptly got rid of the majority of the employees from my company. I started working as a public school bus driver. I was earning about a seventh of my previous income. It was very easy to feel sorry for myself. Through no fault of my own, I lost my career to people who did not appreciate what they had.

I sometime drove special needs buses. These buses are set up for students with behavioral, mental or physical problems. One of the students I carried was a pretty, junior high girl who had one of those terrible, progressive conditions like MS or MD. She could still walk, but barely. This young lady was fiercely independent. If she fell, she did not want anybody helping her back up. The regular driver had asked her what she planned on doing after graduation. Her reply was that she was not expected to live that long.

I could not help but to compare the two situations. One had a group that was healthy, respected and well paid. They spent a lot of time complaining about how they were being screwed. The other was a pretty young lady who was dealing with knowing that she was going to die in the near future. She was living with as much dignity as possible. Suddenly, my situation did not seem so bad.

I have tried to keep that perspective in the years since. Yes, our finances are tight and I have gone through several different jobs. However, my family is healthy, my kids are doing well and we have a roof over our heads. How I deal with my situation is more important than the situation.

NOTE: to protect the privacy of the student, do not publish my last name, city or state.