I attended an industry conference last week with my Back40 creative team in OKC. The conference was interesting and relevant but, like a lot of conferences, it was one day of information packed into a 2-day format – so I had time to network with other attendees.
I especially enjoyed visiting with former employees who’ve moved on to new opportunities. I made it a point to visit with them and see how they are doing.
One young lady was a conference speaker and holds a director position at a local payroll company. Another was a programmer who is super happy at his current position. Another, a designer, found a better fit for his working style. I’ve been in business for 17 years, so no surprise I’ve had quite a few faces at Back40 over the years.
Some of the people I visited with moved on by their own choice; some were let go. It didn’t matter to me. I wanted to say hello and hear about how their lives were going.
Being let go stings and leaves a mark – at least it did for me. But time offers a perspective on the bigger picture. I say this from experience. Because as I scouted the room, I saw the person who let me go nearly two decades ago. And what did I do? I walked over and reintroduced myself.
We talked about our companies, the conference and of course – the past. He offered an apology. I owned up to “not playing well with others” and we both agreed that it is wonderful to still be working in the creative field. I reminded him that way back when, he sent me to a conference like this and it made a huge impact on my career. I thanked him for that. By letting me go, I was released to find my next opportunity – and I did. Which in turn has created opportunities for others.