Wednesday, April 29, 2009

No such thing as job security.

I love samurai. Not romantically. Something about feudal Japan just piques my interest. Whenever I get down in the dumps about work (we all do, even when we love what we are doing. Which I do!) it helps me to think about samurai, and how they went to work everyday expecting to die.

One story in particular comes to mind. Miyamoto Musashi is probably the most famous samurai. If someone can name only one samurai, it's usually him. It's because he was the best. He excelled, not only in swordsmanship, but also psychological warfare. He was completely self-taught, and was never defeated in single combat.

He was looking for a student, looking over potential candidates. One guy caught his eye.

"What's your deal?" asked Musashi.

"I sleep with a sword hanging from a thin string poised over my head all night. The string could break, and I could die in my sleep. Because of this I have no fear of death," said the job-applicant.

"Good call," said Musashi. "You got the job."

We're all sleeping with a sword poised over our heads. The economy is bad, but moreover, it's unpredictable. Something could happen, a client could go away or go bankrupt, and we could be out of a job in the blink of an eye. No amount of talent or seniority can be counted on to save us.

But instead of despairing, we can be like samurai. If we think of ourselves as already dead (or fired) it frees us to take risks, go big and, hopefully, win, so we can come back tomorrow and do it again. 

1 comment:

  1. I was laid off in December and then re-hired in January. In many ways, I do feel like I am "already dead" now. I live each day as it comes and I don't worry about the future. I can't control it anyway.

    I DO continue to save money, but aside from that, I don't fret about what might happen.