Accepting with Grace 42 Comments

I hate Mondays.

Two weeks ago, I watched the new flick by George Clooney — ‘Up in the Air.’ The characters on the film worked as bad news messengers for big corporations. They basically go and tell that an employee has been laid off. There was a somber scene where a grown man was crying after a perky twenty-four year-old fired him from his job where he has held longer than her age.

Today, I was in the same position as that twenty-four year old character (twenty-eight in my case). I have done what I have never done before. I told someone who I have come to respect that their position no longer exists. I am sad beyond belief!

What makes this Monday even more painful is the way the person accepted the news with grace. “be’tsega meQebel ne’w,” was the response; which loosely translates to the title of this post.

It was a gut-wrenching experience, but I can not phantom what makes a person so calm and so collected to accept uncertainty — especially in these times where uncertainty is certain.

How would you tell someone that their days as employee is numbered? What would this person say when they get home? What must their loved ones feel when they hear the bad news?

In a country where job is equated to ‘security,’ letting people go should not be a binary choice — at least, it shouldn’t be! Thinking that it is a simple function with limited variables is down right wrong.

Word to the wise; take fate in your own hands.

42 Responses to “Accepting with Grace”

  1. 1 biskut

    I think the whole idea behind “be tsega meqebel” is admitting the fact that some things are just beyond human control and leaving it for divine intervention to either make it better or to make it bearable .It takes faith to accept your fate .Please don’t assume people who accept their faith are passive bystanders.

  2. 2 Abby

    Those are the ppl who belives “EVERYTHING HAPPEN FOR A REASONE” you have to accept what comes to your life beliveing that their must be a reasone behaind that. you go no where if you through yourself and harm yourself for some thing you can’t change.
    Belive just on everything happen for a reasone

  3. 3 .mike

    @ biskut:

    I dont think I’ve assumed people who accept their fate are passive bystander. But, I think it is important, when possible, to minimize the variables so that fate will be more predictable.

    @ Abby:

    Yes, I think there is some truth to that. Believing that the dots will connect again is probably the most hopeful and liberating process when bad things happen…

  4. 4 Word2Mike

    “Take fate in your own hands”??? WTF? So what are we to make of this? Should he have choked you w/ his own hands?

    I actually liked your entry up until you decided to get philosophical – in a preachy kinda way – in the end just b/c something had to be written as a conclusion. Didn’t even “connect the dots” w/ your over all msg there.

    Eshi, gotta go submit the rez again…

    Word to the unwise: Choke the b^tch, you will feel better.

  5. 5 mesraq

    Lol you ass whole you fired a guy. I hope you sleep well today!

  6. 6 biskut

    my comment was in reference to “take fate in your own hands “.That is why i said don’t assume.First you were sympathetic but then the last line …..

  7. 7 Ene

    I relate with the 24 year old girl on the movie. I watched it on a plane, literally up in the air, a couple of weeks ago. I’m 25, career driven. And if I’m required to fire someone i would do it in a blink.

    Why should i feel sorry for the person, there’s a reason he or she is in the people-to-be-laid-off list in the first place. I always say if you have it, exhibit, if not, exit. It’s cocky but it’s reality, life’s not fair.

    word to wise managers: If you can’t train ‘em fire ‘em!!

    word to wise employees: make yourself competent always!!

  8. 8 biskut

    ewnetim ene.You will grow up to be a corportate vulture .

  9. 9 Mamitu


    What biskut said.

  10. 10 Dinich


    I have lived in Canada for close to two decades…I had very humble beginnings and I am happy with how far I have come.

    Sometimes I ask myself will I be happy if I go back to my humble beginnings. And I have always thought so.

    I say this because I think we respect money too much. Money is probably the most overrated thing.

    Bottom line is anyone who lives in the US/Canada etc should be able to somehow have food on the table and roof over their head….the more the merrier but it should not be to a point where it is stressful.

    ppl get depressed over a job loss….but when u really think about it is only a matter of selling that 5 bedroom house and moving to a humble 2 bedroom apartment…or selling that BMW and getting a 96 Tercel.

    I came from one of the poorest nations on earth. I know how to handle dihnet……I am not going to stress about living in a two bedroom apartment. Where I came from 2 bedroom apartment is a luxury…..

    Not trying to preach but Jesus said….”Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life”

    That said, I am fully aware that this is easier said than done but these principles are good enough to guide me through tough times.

  11. 11 Word2Ene

    Word2Mike, beTam sakugn! I think mike was just saying to remember that switching jobs is also part of the game …

    Ene, your problem, in addition to lacking in what a normal person may possess as ‘empathy’, is your inability to … umm, what do you call it … THINK. That’s right, you implicitly appear to believe that the reason somebody’ll get laid off is because they didn’t do their job competently, or some similar story.

    The problem is, you see, when the company crunches numbers, sometimes hiring a 25 year old idiot who’ll stumble and crash trough an assignment maybe more profitable than an older, experienced mentor of the 25 year old who’ll show the denbara Tija how to get through her first days at the company.

    But don’t worry, it will happen to somebody you care about, or yourself, sooner or later. In fact, with your line of (lack of) thinking, sooner than later.

    Yeah, i’m still in my 20s. No, never been laid off but every time I interview somebody for the company, in addition to checking their credentials, I also double check my own to make sure I’m way ahead of the company’s hiring/firing game. The timing is always the question ….

  12. 12 Corp Alumni

    Message to Ene:

    You’re 25 so I will try to be gentle; that being said, you need to take your head out of your behind and learn some humility. It appears that you believe that you are responsible for all your successes (which I suppose could not amount to much anyway since you’re too young to be significant)…believe me when I say that you have far too much to learn. The more humility you bring to your life, the more you are open to learn and appreciate new ideas and thoughts. “if you have it, exhibit”…WTF? You must have had a not too happy childhood where you were not provided basic necessities and now all grown up, you have the opportunity to exhibit…good luck with that.
    My dear, if you don’t fall, you can never get up. If you don’t make a mistake, you can never learn …..power and knowledge are best recognized, respected and understood when they are not ‘exhibited’…take heed or crash and burn

  13. 13 Nolawi

    Lol besaq on all word to the wise references…

  14. 14 AmeleworQ

    ufff..Corp Alumni, anjeten araskew/arashew!

  15. 15 Corp Alumni

    AmeleworQ: ? thanks

    I see a lot of “if you have it, exhibit..” type of behavior within our community and the prevalence has increased in the last few years. Now, to each his own, and am not the one to judge, however, the conflict between this behavior and our cultural propensities is glaringly evident. I think we ought to either publicly embrace the western culture, which by the way encourages this type of behavior as evidenced by the Jersey Shore and House Wives generation etc, or reject this materialistic and egotistic etiquette and practice what we preach. I am not one to promote right wing Christian (Tewahido in our case) attributes to take effect and isolate ourselves from the reality of life in the west (or east really), but I think, as people, we have a responsibility to live up to the stuff that we say we are as people; proud, never colonized, religious, humble etc etc…all this stuff. While I was going thru a phase, I used to have a girl come up to my place every Wednesday afternoon for some action(not too proud of it now). She would come by after a Wednesday church sessions. It used to make me laugh back in those days, but, now, the more I think about it, the more the conflict bothers me. Not ‘bother’ me in a judgmental way, but the realization that this type of behavior, where we say one thing and do another, is prevalent and accepted in our culture. I am as guilty, if not more than most, and need to work on my behavior myself, but thought I share this with people let you shoot me down a bit…

  16. 16 biskut

    corp alum
    People who are straight shooters are considered uncultured ,rude and asadagi yebedelew .
    Speaking out against or disagreeing with people older than you will automatically qualify you to be balege and aynawta.qne and sem ena worq is/was popular especially in the courts of the high ranking officials because it was an art of communicaton between well bred and educated group .sorry for the parade of sidbs but that is what they typically consider you to be .This does not mean they encourage you to say one thing and do another .They just want you to be tactful when saying it .This culture arises from encouraging humility and modesty.
    Having said that,saying one thing and doing another is a universal thing .I find it worse and really damaging here in the u.s.

  17. 17 Corp Alumni


    If you mean to say that flaunting what you have is considered straight shooting, then I will have to respectfully disagree. As far as my definition of asadagi yebedelew, it simply is someone who does not ‘abide’ by the rules of one’s culture one was born and bred into. There is nothing wrong with being ‘who you really are’ but when interacting with members of your community, I think you need to play by the rules and if you choose not to, then be ready to thwart the negativity (usually words or in extreme cases dula :) )tossed down your way.
    Sem ena worq, in my opinion, is a characteristic of civilization, where a society progress in the use of language and words above and beyond. Don’t you think that straight talking can sometimes be boring? Also, in politics, sem ena worq gives both parties a way out (save face) in a case of disagreements or difference of opinions (the same time of culture exists in the Orient..)
    What I really want to comment most is about the universality of saying one thing and doing another…I say, why live mediocre by issuing ‘ohh, it’s a universal thang’ ..why O why?

  18. 18 biskut

    you are completely agreeing with me here .You just rephrased what i mostly said before .

  19. 19 thedude

    phantom? how did u keep your job

  20. 20 Corp Alumni

    Yeah, I know, tacky right…but there still is some serious truth to that..Tzu, Machiavelli et al, at an elementry level, it does make sense (i think anyway)@ Nolawi:

  21. 21 Maria

    @ Mike

    You seem kind, maybe you dont belong in the rat race that are corporations.

    @ The perky 25 year old who would fire anyone in a heartbeat, you do belong to the rat race, just remember you wont always be 25 if you dont die being it in which case you will be immortalised forever young in death,but if alive some day you too will become expandable whether or not you had it once. That is nature of the rat race. What will happen to others before you will happen to you too, lastly Do unto others and all that if you can spare the ambition…

  22. 22 .mike

    @ thedude:

    baygermih, there is a word before the car :-)


  23. 23 anonx

    I got this contraditions: saying what I don’t do, and doing what I say dont do…It happens! Its just a rough going out there for a mere mortal me, not a sage. Atlease a sage has the advantage of saying a lot, and doing next to nothing, no contraditions in paralysis, is there?

    Thanks to .mike, I may just have to gracelfully accept my contradictions(btw, the movie, UIA, is not BY G. Clooney).

  24. 24 Corp Alumni

    @ Maria:
    so true is what you said about what will happen to others before you will happen to you too. The sooner we digest this, the better equiped we are to deal with ‘reality’ or what life deals us. For some reason, ancient peoples understood this better than us, the civilzed ones.

    i think elements of life are cyclical just like nature (and life is part of nature or IS nature) and the saying, what goes around comes around is how things are and have always been and will always be.

    let me stop here since this convo is quickly morphing into another subject…

  25. 25 Mamitu

    @Corp Alumni,

    How true about life being cyclical, and about the wise have an understanding of this truth. Like kind of the more things change the more they stay the same.

    It brings a poem to mind.

    “The horizon leans forward,
    Offering you space to place new steps of change.
    Here, on the pulse of this fine day
    You may have the courage
    To look up and out upon me, the
    Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

    No less to Midas than the mendicant.

    No less to you now than the mastodon then.”

    Maya Angelou, 1993

    Note to ENE, learn from the old and hopefully wise, ’cause what goes around comes around.

  26. 26 Corp Alumni

    @ Mamitu:

    beautiful poem, although I had to dig out the ol’ dictationary to look up a coupel of words, which was good idea anyway since the poem made a whole lot of sense all of a sudden!
    have to say that it fits the topic perfect!

    …you know, as we agreed, life being cylical, things have to kind of, go thru their designated cycle and burn themselves out. In that, one can suppose that our lives are predestined to go this way and that way and that’s just that. It is an interesting point and a point that is considered seriousley with age and expereince.

  27. 27 thedude


    youre being silly right? I mean you know the difference between fathom and phantom right? You can’t say I can not phantom, i think the author was trying to say I can not fathom. Doma, and yes Rolls Royce came before the Phantom.

  28. 28 Mamitu


    You asked earlier how .mike kept his job? And after reading the last comment I thought your question warrants an answer, but I hope .mike doesn’t mind. But I think he kept his job because HE IS A CO-OWNER OF A THRIVING TECH BUISNESS in the DC area. :)

    Appologies to .mike

  29. 29 Lela

    This is one of the most entertaining post and responses. Keep it coming, the discussion is very interesting.

  30. 30 thedude

    I guess if its your own company it doesn’t matter if whether you know the difference between fathom and phantom. But does it matter? Mamitu.

  31. 31 datdude

    Mekera is a part of life, us Ethiopians should by now have perfected the art of navigating the life journey under such uncertainty and setbacks. Seeking to find absolute security in this life is a sure fire way to waste ones life. Just enjoy the ride, have balance and spend time with those you love and care about.

  32. 32 mikematic

    “Seeking to find absolute security in this life is a sure fire way to waste ones life. Just enjoy the ride, have balance and spend time with those you love and care about.” – datdude << The magnitude of truth in that statement is only for a very few to see.

  33. 33 Nani

    I know what you mean! This must be the worst Monday EVER!!! I saw friends practically tear each other apart online, and was told that my manager is being ‘let go’ and that it’s actually ‘her choice’. I gotta say I admire how gracefully she took it all and told us all she has great things planned, it being the summer soon, plans to travel, bla bla bla … bull crap! I’m sorry Mike, I’m sure you were in a very difficult situation, but telling someone who’s getting ready to retire that they don’t have a job anymore …

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  37. 37 Doris

    I was just telling my friend about that.

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