Sometimes You Have to Filter through the Trash to Find the Treasure

Applying Divorce to the Business World

Sure, no one gets married with the intentions of getting divorced, but, as we know, it happens. Often. Here’s the thing, though: despite the devastation and heart-break of going through a divorce, I think more good than harm can come out of it. Divorce teaches many lessons that one may not have learned otherwise. Lessons about love, patience, kindness, devotion… lessons that can only serve to help in future relationships.

At the young age of eighteen, I married a man I was convinced was the love of my life. We had a fairy-tale wedding, complete with the tiara and huge princess dress, large wedding party, and joyful friends and family. The marriage lasted about five years before taking a horrible turn. I discovered that my husband was cheating – probably one of the most heart-breaking discoveries of my life, and chose to end the relationship shortly thereafter.

It was hard adjusting to life after our separation. I had trouble getting used to living alone, paying the bills, and being single again. It was embarrassing and I assumed I would never trust a man again.

Then I met someone. I was hesitant at first, but after learning he was involved in a very similar situation with his ex-wife, I decided to give him a chance. Best decision ever.

In taking the leap of faith and deciding to begin a journey with this man, I remembered everything I endured during those last moments of my previous marriage. I knew what I wanted out of my new relationship. I knew what I didn’t want. I was open and discussed expectations – he did too. We quickly learned that neither of us wanted to feel the hurt and embarrassment of a cheating significant other again. We agreed to be up front and honest about our relationship and if we were ever unhappy. We agreed never to lie or intentionally hurt one another. We agreed that if either of us ever had the urge to see someone else, we would be honest up front, so that we could either work to improve our relationship or agree to go separate ways.

These are all things that most people might think of as “obvious” qualities of a healthy relationship; however, I can tell you, they are much more obvious and easy to agree to if you have been through the anguish of a divorce already.

After dating for two years, my “second chance at happiness” proposed and we were married a year later. Again, I had the fairy-tale wedding with the gorgeous dress and love and support of family and friends. About three months after our wedding day, we conceived our baby girl. We have now been happily married over five years and looking forward to many, many more.

Would I have found this true happiness without being married the first time? Maybe. But I am convinced that the events happened for a very particular reason. I had to withstand the challenges of my previous relationship in order to understand the value of my current one. The arguments, harsh realizations, embarrassment, and heart-break of my former marriage were all things that I had to endure in order to make the next relationship better. I know what I want and truly value what I now have because of that dark period of time in my life.

“You have to filter through the trash in order to get to the treasure.”

Now, you might be wondering how this applies to the business world.

Just as with divorce, jobs can be particularly heart-breaking as well. Your career is a big part of your life – about 70%, in fact. So, it is extremely important to be happy.

If you spend any portion of time in a dead-end job (or several, in my case), it is helpful to learn from your experiences. Write down your likes and dislikes. Identify your key skills and what motivates you. Decide what you want to do and what makes you happy, as well as what you don’t want to do and what makes you miserable. Get out of that soul-sucking office that leaves you stressed out and drained every day and look toward a second chance at happiness in a job that is truly rewarding.

It might be easier than you think to find that “dream job.” Once you know what you want (and what you want to avoid in the future), you can filter your job search to find just that. Life’s too short to spend being miserable in a job that’s getting you nowhere. Be sure you learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them in the future!


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