Chapter 9: Social Ingenuity

 

Immediately afterwards, I didn’t know if I was going to stay out in Portland or move back home and had to decide quickly. I didn’t know how I was going to pay my rent because XXXXXX was saying I wasn’t eligible to receive my unemployment - which I fought and was eventually awarded.

After talking with my family, we thought it was best to head back to Georgia, so I had to sell pretty much everything I owned.

I posted photos of my furniture on facebook and that was the first time I heard from one of my former colleagues…

“How much for the couch?”

Not, how are you doing, or anything like that…

- Just -

“How much for the couch?”

The majority of the other ones who knew the truth of what I went through

simply didn’t say anything.

---

........... COMPLETE SILENCE .........

---

And you know what,

SILENCE

is THE thing

that

hurt THE most.

________

That was the worst part.

________

After I moved back in with my parents about a month after getting fired, the very next morning, I took a walk to get some coffee.

I knew that healing from this was going to take some time, so I thought a long walk would be a good idea to help get me “back up on my feet again” at home in Woodstock, Georgia.

So I had to put on my walking shoes.

You know, THOSE shoes.

::: so awkward :::

And then it dawned on me that maybe this was God’s way of making me practice forgiveness

one step at a time.

I had never taken this walk in my entire life, nor have I since then. And about 10 minutes into the 3-mile trek wearing those shoes, I saw a man walking towards me on the sidewalk.

Aw, that’s my high school soccer teammate’s dad!

Oh shit, I hope he doesn’t ask how I am…

Hold it together...

“Hey!!! It’s so great to see you, how’s your daughter?!”

“She’s wonderful! How are YOU, Jess?”

Shit.

Don’t lose it…

“Honestly, not that great. I just moved back home, I – I lost my job at XXXXXXXX.”

- AND THEN HE SAYS -

-

-

“I’m so sorry to hear that.

You know, I wonder if Mr. X still works there?

He’s a really great guy.

I used to work with him.”

____

What IS Happening?

____

Out of the thousands of people who work at XXXXXX, my neighbor asked about the one man who inspired me while I was going through hell there.

The one man who really listened to me.

The one man who resuscitated my life’s purpose back to life when I thought it was dead.

The one leader who made more sense in ten minutes of speaking with than over a year of speaking with other managers.

That Mr. X

-

“Yeah, he is,” I replied – and I sincerely meant that.

-

We wrapped up pretty quickly, mostly because I didn’t want to get too upset about everything and then I just kept walking to the coffee shop.

God, WHAT was THAT about?

I’m still not sure to this day, but maybe it’s to remind myself all these years later…

___________

You cannot

- define -

a group of people

by the

handful.

_________

I reached out to Mr. X after settling back home, but I didn’t get anywhere.

I wondered if Mr. X had been told about me?

I’ve also wondered how thick my HR folder is with all those red flags in there…

And I’ve often wondered if anyone there ever knew

how much courage

each one of those

took to earn.

______________________________

Do Not Judge.

You don’t know what storm

I’ve asked

HER

to walk through.

-God

___________________________

I was terrified at the idea of working again.

TERRIFIED

After all, XXXXXX, had been my first full-time job.

I sat down with my friend (who was also my recruiter) and told him what happened.

“That’s horrible! How can I help you now? What are you looking for?”

Honestly…

I don’t care where I’m at, just find me

good people

to work with.

______

And when it has come to interviewing since then, that’s been tough too. Every single time I get asked…

“Wait, why did you leave XXXX?”

And, what am I supposed to say?

What would YOU say?

Quick – you have 2 minutes…

Don’t get emotional.

Don’t bring up the sexual harassment stuff.

Don’t talk about the retaliation.

Don’t come across like you’re “bitching.”

Don’t start sweating.

Don’t start shaking.

Go.

It’s actually the part that I dread the most at an interview - and it’s why I haven’t interviewed at times. I had to go through eight in-person interviews in one day alone for one of my jobs I landed since XXXX.

Think about that.

- It STILL haunts me -

--- AND WHY? ---

Why am I the one who has to answer these types of questions?

Why is it that after going through something like this, that I am the one who is ashamed?

Why is XXXXXXXX not?

And why is it that the ones who were actually in the wrong…

that they just got to move on with their lives like nothing had happened,

while I couldn’t even find my footing?

I had to sell practically everything, move across the country, fight for and then maintain my unemployment, live back at home with my parents for over a year, struggle to find a job during the recession, and then take a $15k cut in my base in order to just start working again…

_____________

Didn’t seem fair.

_____________

“The meaning of life is to

find your gift.

The purpose of life is to

give it away.”

Pablo Picasso

_______________

SO NOW…

So now, it’s very important that we ALL know and REMEMBER this…

I am not seeking to bring shame.

I am not seeking financial harm.

I know what happened to me is not a reflection of everyone there.

I see, hear, and know things are changing there…

I have finally forgiven XXXXX

- BUT -

here’s the thing…

I have not

given up on my life’s purpose.

_____

So with THAT said

I feel like now is the perfect time to ask for

something special…

Something that would prove (without a doubt) that XXXXX really is making changes.

Something that would help millions of lives around the world.

Something that would create unity and community in the spirit of doing good.

Something that would encourage each one of us to never give up.

Something that would prove that dreams really do come true.

Something that would show a dose of humanity.

Something that would lift our hope in each other again.

__

Something I’d still love to implement at XXXXXX

called

Social Ingenuity.

_______

Social Ingenuity is a strategy I formed based off my personal experience playing and coaching at the Y, listening to XXXXXXXX employees from multiple teams, speaking with more than 300 YMCA sports directors, speaking with CEOs of YMCAs nationally and globally, speaking with the governing bodies of the Y, getting Mr. X’s approval, selling as a manufacturer’s rep for multiple industries – and then speaking to entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and CSR leaders for the past 10 years…

It’s a simple strategy.

That could help millions.

And not just within the sporting goods industry - but that’d be a great place to start.

Nonprofits need to be sold to and if done correctly, they will become some of the world’s largest buyers - and also givers - surprisingly.

Interestingly enough, some nonprofits don’t want free product that could be awarded from their buys – they’d actually donate that to other branches who are in need. So, instead of a wealthy nonprofit receiving free product based on their buys – those wealthy ones could donate it to a nonprofit that actually needs help…

Which would create a community of compassion and help on a global scale at a time when it is desperately needed.

This would free up some of the need for nonprofits to rely on donations and enable them to redirect that attention on doing more good in our world.

- Which would be a dream come true for me -

I’d be able to help the most amount of people I could ever imagine.

:::: There’s more to this concept, but that’s the gist :::

____________________

So here's what's getting kind of cool...

Some of the folks at XXXXXX have and are reading my story...

Some of them believe in doing the right thing...

Some of them are trying to help me.

I’m hoping now with YOUR support (my dear readers) that Social Ingenuity might actually get up and running.

This now might actually have a voice - people from 36 countries are reading my story.

___________________

And I would like XXX if you are reading, to please consider Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s words…

“YOU are the stars and the world is watching YOU.

By YOUR presence,

YOU send a message

to

every village,

every city,

every nation.

---

So, what is that message going to be?

A message of hope? A message of victory?

Or

A message of silence?

.

We are all waiting.

.

So now, what?

.

So now, I’ve started a movement today called #LiftOurHope and I’ll be posting updates every Sunday on that page; I won't be updating my #metoo story again until I actually have a final chapter to write - for better or worse.

.

The message “Lift Our Hope” is aimed towards XXXXX to help us lift our hope in humanity again by giving me a fair shot at my life's purpose after all these years.

So now, who knows what's going to happen?

But, I think there's a part of all of us that wants to believe that dreams can come true...

and how amazing would that be to be a part of one that happens?

__

Thank you all so very much for your time, your support, your encouragement, your compassion, your...

- LOVE -

It has meant more to me than you’ll ever know

#LiftOurHope

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#LiftOurHope
Jessie Fream