The Night I Cried


Today, I would like to share with you a past moment in my life when I cried. I don’t know why I’m sharing this except that I just want to let you in on this private moment in my past and connect with you guys on a deeper level.

Six years ago, I had yet to start Personal Excellence. I was still working in the corporate world and I was in my second assignment in my then company, P&G (role rotation is a norm in the company as it accelerates learning and seeds best-in-class lessons across the organization).

One night, I was back home from work. It was yet another long day, a staple occurrence in my role.

It was a jaded period in my life then, because I had been dealing with very painful work issues. For I had been assigned to a role with redundant responsibilities, a result of very bad organizational restructuring. I had also been under the leadership of a disengaged manager. While my manager was a great friend and a nice person at heart, she was not a good leader on many counts. She had been highly disengaged in my personal and career development, as a result, inhibiting my growth as an individual and my career development in the company.

I walked into the bathroom and hit the shower. As water fell from the shower head, all the issues I had been mired in in the past nine months flashed through my mind.

I thought about how unfair it was that I had to face these issues while my peers in the company didn’t have to. We would compare notes ever so often as part of the competitive culture, and everyone would be flabbergasted at the bizarre issues I was facing in my role, my team, and my manager. Issues like being caught in the political cross fire between power-hungry, passive-aggressive senior management folks, being tasked with low-level administrative work because my manager didn’t see the need for me to do more or learn more, etc.

I thought about how unfair it was that I had to fight so hard to get what I should be getting in the first place (a regular role with a regular manager), when everything could be avoided at the onset with better planning and foresight at the top-level management.

I thought about how unfair it was that I had to deal with zero value-added issues day in and day out as a result of the role’s redundancy, when my peers were given gratuitous business responsibilities and leaping ahead of me by the day.

I thought about how no one could understand how terrible and ridiculous my problem was without being in my shoes, and how alone I was in my problem.

As I thought about the unfairness of the situation and the great pain I had been facing all these months with no end in sight, as the water from the shower head soaked through my hair and flowed down my face and body, suddenly, I scrunched my face and burst into tears.

What’s happening? I thought in surprise as I covered my face with my palms in a knee-jerk reaction. For I did not see the tears coming. While I had felt deeply anguished by the situation, I had not cried, thought of crying, nor felt like crying up till then.

It was as if I had accumulated so much pain in the past months of being in such a high-pressure situation that it could no longer be contained anymore. The pain had been screaming for so long inside me, yet I did not notice it because I had been so busy fighting a war on the outside. It had to find its way out of my body, by forcefully ejecting itself through tears in my eyes.

As I “watched” myself cry in solitude, I felt sorry for myself.

I felt sorry that I had to be reduced to this state, this sorry and pathetic state, squatting on the bathroom floor and crying to myself in the middle of the night while being dowsed with water. I felt sorry that I was so unlucky as to get a double whammy like this whereas my counterparts received regular assignments with regular managers (which was what I should rightfully have gotten as well). I felt sorry that my simple request to grow, to be a good person, and to be a good employee could not even be realized, even though I had been trying so hard to make it happen in the past nine months.

Why? Why me? was the only thing I could ask. I felt like a victim, trapped, neglected, and deprecated. I felt like all my abilities and potential were being wasted away and no one cared to harness the capabilities I had to offer to the organization, to the society, to the world.

In amidst the sadness and pain, suddenly a little voice popped into my mind with a seemingly innocuous question.

Hi Celes. What’s the worst thing that can happen? the little voice asked.

What? I paused as my tears continued to flow.

What’s the worst thing that can happen? the little voice asked again.

What do you mean? I responded, in between tears.

You feel like the situation has become insufferable, don’t you? You feel like this is the last of it that you are willing to handle, right? If the situation is already so bad, then what’s the worst thing that can happen from here on out?

I paused for a second. The situation was pretty terrible, within its context. I could not think of a worse role an ABM (assistant brand manager; that was the title of my role) could be assigned to other than mine. I also could not think of a worse manager I could get other than mine. Honestly speaking, swap me out into any role and under any manager, and it would still be an improvement over my situation.

What would be worse than this situation then?

I don’t know. I guess the worst thing that can happen is if I just… quit? Get asked to leave? Not have my job anymore? I thought.

No sooner did that thought enter my mind did something click in me. It was as if someone wedged a huge cushion between me and the problem and removed the pain in my heart. It was as if I was allowed to see the problem for what it was for the first time, rather than as someone embedded in the thick of things. It was like the problem reframed itself and suddenly appeared as a luxury than a problem.


Suddenly, I realized how lucky I was to have my job. I thought how lucky I was to get this job when hundred thousands of people out there would gladly take my place, including peers from school who had applied for the position but were rejected. I thought how lucky I was to be have this job issue to worry about, when there were probably people out there with far worse job issues than mine, much less life issues like terminal diseases and what not.

I also realized how simple the problem had been all along. If the situation was supposedly so scr*wed up, I could just quit anytime. Walk away. Say adiós amigos. No one was pointing a gun to my head and telling me to stay on. The employment contract is only a contract and not eternally binding. Monthly finances is something that can be worked through with proper planning and a new job.

And if I didn’t want to leave, then it would be a choice, my choice, to remain in spite of the issues—because I felt that I had more to gain than lose by staying on. If so, it was then a matter of accepting the situation for everything it had to offer, including its ups and downs, and learning to deal with the downsides while relishing in the upsides—rather than b*tching like a little kid about the problems, as if I was the only person in the world to face them.

Suddenly, I felt like I had been relieved of this longstanding problem. I felt like the problem had been self-inflicted the whole time. I realized that I had been the person in charge of the situation the entire time. It was up to me to take ownership of the situation and the problem, rather than feel victimized by it.

I had emerged from that thought experiment a same person on the outside, but a different person on the inside.

With that, I turned off the shower tap, dried myself, and put on my clothes. That night, my reality was changed permanently.

What Happened Next

I didn’t leave the job. I decided to stay on because the company still had much to offer in terms of learning opportunities. The assignment and manager might be sucky, but nothing is permanent—it was a matter of time before I got an assignment shift and a change in manager.

True enough, I was shifted out after six months, where I had a juicy role with gratuitous responsibilities, an awesome manager, fantastic colleagues, and finally got exposed to the best-in-class practices the company had to offer, hence equipping myself with the critical business management and analytical skills which would come in handy later on.

It would be another six months before I quit to pursue my passion and start PE, but that’s another story for another day.

Lessons I Learned that Night

That night struck me because I received paradigm shifts to a problem which had tormented me for months and which I had thought was unresolvable, only to realize the torment was self-created. I finally broke out of the problem when I shifted my perspective.

These lessons stayed on with me long after that night/episode and changed me into a different person, a better person. They are the reasons why I’m able to remain positive and highly composed, even when faced with highly intense problems. They are the reasons why I hardly flinch when I’m faced with cr*ppy situations that typically throw people into fits.

I learned that many problems we think are unresolvable in life are actually solvable. It’s just a matter of looking at them in a different light.

I learned that when we are stuck in a problem, it’s not because the problem can’t be solved. It’s because we choose to be stuck in the problem. By letting the problem consume us, it will consume us. By outgrowing the problem, we will break out of it.

I also learned that every path has its up and downs. The ups are the benefits we get from being on the path; the downs are its liabilities. If we choose a path, we should suck it up and be prepared to deal with the downs just as we enjoy the upsides, because both are part and parcel of being on the path. Stop cribbing about the downsides because we can’t have our cake and eat it.

Finally, I learned that every situation can be viewed in two ways. We can either see the negative side or positive side. See the negative side and what do we have? Misery. See the positive side and we get to build a life of positivity. Which one do you prefer? I know I want the second one.

Whatever problem you are facing today, chances are it’s not going to be a big problem next week, next month, or even next year. If it’s not going to be a big problem, then why waste your energy worrying about it? Why not see it positively and make the best out of it?

And even if the problem is a dire one, what do you gain from stressing yourself out with it? What are you, a masochist? A sadist? No and no, right? Why not get a grip of the problem and think about how you can resolve it today, rather than spend needless time and energy worrying about it?

I’ve written articles before on how to address life’s problems, which you can check them out here:

If you enjoy being unhappy, here’s a piece just for you:

I hope my little sharing today has helped you to gain a different perspective on whatever problems you may be facing. I hope you can realize that you are never alone in your problems. I’ll always be here for you, together with the rest of the PE community.

Here’s to a happy life for all of us. ♥

Images: Alone, Light

  • Nirav

    Thanks Celes! A lot! This piece of yours couldn’t have come at any better time.

    Today, I feel like crying heavily because I broke-up with a buddy! I thought she was my buddy as I sought her help to reconnect after 20 years. We chatted last week but I still couldn’t find my buddy in the conversation. I felt very bad and then when she stopped the conversation, abruptly, it hurt a lot as I felt very lonely!

    I still feel very lonely, but after reading your article, I think I need to give it a macro-view. I truly need to understand about the exact problem that I am going through. I am actually a loner and have no friends. I feel as if I am not wanted or do not belong here. I have a job but it sounds very redundant! I need to boost myself again and somehow come out of all this. I am 34 and worry that I might lose my self soon. I have to get to fitness regime and music which are my passions. I think that since I have not played badminton for a long time and not tried my guitar has made me feel like this. But, I need to get out of it and I will.

    Celes, please tell me if it is okay that I consider you as my friend!

    Thanks, Nirav!

    • Celes

      Hi Nirav! I’m sorry to hear that you have broken up with your buddy. Without knowing what happened in the conversation, it might be that she didn’t mean to cut you off and she still viewed you as a good friend. Sometimes small actions can seem ultra hurtful when we are in a sensitive state. I’d recommend to give her one to two more chats before writing her off.

      I don’t want to jump into a “yes I’m your friend” response (though it goes without saying that all of us here at PE belong to the one and same family) because that wouldn’t be helping you with your situation at all; it’ll only create a dependency situation. I’m more interested in helping you to resolve your situation.

      You mentioned being a loner and being afraid to lose yourself; I say that it’s great that you are looking to get back to fitness and music which are your passions! Use this period to rediscover yourself, your passions, your goals, and get working on them. You may find this piece on finding your inner self useful:

      I’m not sure if making new friends is one of your priorities now. If it is, this piece of how to make new friends will help:

      At the end of the day, remember that being alone and being lonely are two different things. If you feel lonely, making new friends may or may not be the solution. It’d be good to take this time to reconnect with yourself, rediscover yourself, and heal the broken fragments in your being (if there are any). Loneliness reflects that there are broken pieces in our soul to be healed. If we can mend those issues, we become whole and there shouldn’t be any feelings of loneliness, because all of us are always one and whole with the world.

      • Nirav


        Thanks a lot for your response!

        You hit the nail. I truly need to reconnect with myself. And I guess, this is the most appropriate time I can expect. I am going to review your link and get back to the drawing board to understand what needs to be done.

        I think you are bang on target when you say it is not about being alone but more of feeling lonely. I concur that. It will be more interesting to gauge and analyze the forces around me as this has occurred suddenly in the past couple of weeks. There might be some influencing factors that have shaped this situation. And you are perfectly right in suggesting that it is me, more than anyone, who needs to dig deep and talk myself out of this.

        I am sorry as in the heat of the moment, I talked about the friendship request. You are actually more than a friend through your articles that I have been reading since the one you wrote about Steve Jobs.

        I will work this out for sure! It is a challenge and challenges make life worth living, right!

        Thanks, Celes, for your kind help!

        I will update my developments, here!

        Have a Good time,

        P.S: Regarding my buddy, she replied me with a Good luck and Good Bye! I guess that I got the message.

        • Celes

          Hey Nirav, beautiful. You are such a wise soul and I’m so glad that you have identified the next steps to move forward in this situation. I’m so glad to be a part of your life in some way, be it through the articles at PE or my reply to your comment.

          Please don’t be sorry about the friendship request! I’m so glad that you are being so upfront and honest, and wearing your heart on your sleeve, as I like to call it. I think the world needs more people like you and less people who hide behind their walls out of fear and insecurity. Please continue being you, for sure!

          Please keep us posted on your developments. You already seem to be on the right path and you have such a great head on your shoulders, just based on the two comments you have posted and how you are intelligently and consciously breaking down your situation/problem. I’m excited to see what’s next in store for you. :D

          • Nirav

            Dear Celes,

            That was a real confidence-booster! Thanks a ton!

            I have been like this, all my life. I really hate fake or plastic relations and expressions. How I wonder if the whole world can be honest and true with everyone!

            I will be extremely glad to share my progress as the feedback will more than anything ensure that I have all you friends around me.

            I am firm believer in feedback system and get annoyed with the lack of feedback rather than the feedback. However, Celes, I am not sure about how and where I can present my updates. I will check the forums to see if it is the appropriate place; else, please guide me.

            Thank you very much!

            Best Wishes,

            • Celes

              Hey Nirav! :) You are right – the PE forums would be a great place to share your updates! Consider starting a journal in the Live Your Best Life Journal forum, where several other members have their own accountability journals going too. That’s where you can share your goals (any goals, really) and your progress achieving them. Self-discovery goals would fit perfectly there. :D

              • Nirav

                Thanks Celes!

                I will check that and soon initiate the first step.


  • Janisia

    Very well written. Thank you for sharing.

    • Celes

      You’re very welcome Janisia. :)

  • Cornelius

    Hey Celes,

    Your post reminded me about a casual conversation I had with a colleague, back when I was in P&G :) I was upset about something at work and after discussing with her for a while, I ended with “But what can we do?”. And she said “There is always something you can do. You always have a choice”…

    It was something so basic, so common-sense. But it hit me, like it was a big breakthrough idea, as it enabled me to look at the problem from a completely different point of view. When you are so deeply involved with a problem, you sometimes fail to become aware that there are alternatives.

    Thanks for sharing this personal story with us! I’m sure it will help readers in re-framing their problems.

    We always have a choice!….

    • Celes

      Cornel, thank you so much for your comment. You’re right! We always have a choice.

      A friend once referenced to this pick-up artist challenge I did a few months back. He (the friend) was referencing it as, “…the pick-up challenge which your date coach made you do it…”, after which I promptly corrected, “He didn’t make me do it. I chose to do it.”

      Confused, he then asked, “But he made you do it right?” And I responded, “Yeah, he asked me to do it, but I could have chosen not to do it if I didn’t want to. I did it because I wanted to do it.”

      My friend then responded, “Then what would you have done if you didn’t want to do it?”

      “I don’t know. Just tell him no. Or just walk away,” was my response. “The point is he can’t make me do it if I didn’t want to.”

      I think if all of us recognize that we do have a choice in everything, and the only reason why we are facing the problems we face (be it mental, emotional, or physical sufferage) is because we are allowing ourselves to be in those problems, life would be so much simpler and happier. It’s part of gaining ownership over our lives.

  • Alexa

    Aww Celes. :heart:

    As someone who cries pretty often (not sure if that’s good or bad!), I totally understand these feelings. I’ll get lost in these feelings of hopelessness, that no one understands, that no one tries to understand. Many nights I’ll feel utterly lost and lonely and like I have no one to talk to. Even though I know I have loving friends who’ll listen to me, part of me always gets paranoid that they see me as needy, stupid, or just attention-seeking. That reflects badly on me: why do I feel so suspicious of my friends, even when they’re being there for me? Surely they have better things to do than spend time listening to and comforting someone they don’t actually like!

    I suppose I just gave an example of what you went through here, that stepping back and readjusting how you see things. I struggle with it because I seem to automatically want to see things negatively. I over-think about what people say (why did they say that? do they not really like me as a friend? should I not be here?) and as you can imagine it makes it very hard for me to relax! Constant worrying is just as fun as it sounds!

    Thanks for sharing this, Celes! It’s a nice reminder on top of the other fewer “epiphanies” I’ve been getting lately that sometimes I just really need to step back and realize things aren’t always as bad as I think they are. I’m glad things ended up working out for you, though I’m sorry for the pain you experienced before that. -hug-

    • hass

      “Even though I know I have loving friends who’ll listen to me, part of me always gets paranoid that they see me as needy, stupid, or just attention-seeking”

      “I over-think about what people say (why did they say that? do they not really like me as a friend? should I not be here?) ”

      I know how you feel Alexa and I wana say be cool..
      whenever you feel such a thing keep this in mind coz I go through the same feelings each day..
      i got this from a socila network post i guess , and it hit me hard..

      “Those who mind don’t matter”
      “Those who matter don’t mind”
      Simple as that..
      Hope it helped.. cya!! :)
      :heart: :hug:

  • hass

    Hey Celes!!

    You know what??
    I was reading this and thought “Hey That’s Me!!” :D
    this was my exact story 6 months ago and I did the crying part alot.. but unlike you realization hit me late.. still, I am grateful that it did hit me.. there are people in the world who don’t like to delegate work.. they do not trust another with it simply forgetting how they reached their position all along, they were amateurs at a point in their lives right??

    And there are some who are really scared that their subordinates would outperform them , so they tend to trample us.. and there are some who are good employees but bad bosses.. can’t help themselves..

    but what I feel now is that all things happen in life for a reason.. This particular episode in my life taught me how not to treat people who would work under me in the future..

    I could be a great manager in the future coz my past taught me how not to be one.. :D

    I am grateful for what happened.. :)

    Thanks for sharing this piece of ur life Celes.. It is so humbling.. :)

    Thanks again!! :)

    • Celes

      Hi hass! I’m so glad that you turned that negative experience into a positive learning lesson. That’s the way to go.

      We can’t change the cards we are dealt with, but we can change how we play the hand. (Randy Pausch)

      Like you, I also took my experience as a learning point on what *not* to do in being a good manager/leader the next time. It’s the same as how people who grew up in abusive households can either succumb to the negativity or use that as a learning lesson on how to be good parents next time.

      Thanks so much for leaving your kind comment, hass! :D

  • Tania

    This was timely, and incredibly meaningful to me. This is the exact situation in which I find myself, and have been in for quite some time.

    But first I wanted to say, I have been lurking around here, reading your articles for a few weeks since I first found this site. I have found you to be an extremely insightful person for one so young. So many things you write could easily have come out of my own mind. Once again confirmation of something I learned long ago, which is like minded people can span large age differences and connect with each other on a very meaningful level.

    I first encountered this when I took a job at 25 and my closest co-worker was 40. My initial reservations became a joke once I realized we were basically the same person in two different bodies. She taught me so much about opening up to other people on life, not putting them in a little box that says “you’re too old, you’re too young, we can’t relate because of our different backgrounds, ethnicity, gender, etc”. What have you, fill in the blanks. All utterly ridiculous limitations to what could otherwise be incredibly meaningful relationships. So I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate the way your mind works, young lady! :D

    Back to my current situation. I have been increasingly frustrated over the past few years after coming to the conclusion over time that where I am at simply is not, cannot and will not ever “become” the place I thought it was going to be. It is never going to live up to its promise or potential because the person at the helm is not personally capable of taking us where we could go, and I cannot do it without her. I have beat my head against a wall with frustration over this situation, watching something that could be so incredible for us both stay just out of reach because of her personal limitations. Once I accepted that it just was not going to happen, then I thought, of course I need to leave. I can’t stay here, chained with this individual who is not only sabotaging her own success, now she’s holding me back as well.

    But as I have looked around at my options, it came to me over time that there really isn’t anything else that holds my interest, or as much potential for me personally as this field I am in (commercial real estate). When I picture myself doing any other kind of job, or going back to the corporate world that I was in for many years, I start to feel a little panicked because I realize I’d be going back into a box where someone else decides my value and worth, both literally and figuratively. In this field, I can set my own success. I can determine what I earn, and how I get things done.

    But right now, I do still have things to learn. I am continuing to learn and gain experience (and contacts) that are beneficial to me. I am at the point you described – once I stopped focusing on what was being “done to me” or “taken away from me” and really started focusing on “what am I gaining” and “how does it benefit me to stay here a bit longer”….there was a shift in me that was really quite profound. Yes, there are still frustrations (daily, sometimes hourly!), but they don’t effect me in the same way. I have even started looking at those in a different way, instead of letting it drive me crazy I now think “well, I’m not only learning what I should do, I’m also learning what NOT to do, as an agent and a manager and even as a person”. When I think about my future in this business now, instead of thinking of it in terms of this particular company, which simply is not going to progress – I think of it in terms of MY future and how I am going to be able to use my time here to create that.

    So thank you! Thank you for writing this, giving me the opportunity to review my thoughts on this again, and keep myself focused and dedicated to being solely responsible for reaching my own goals.

  • Julie

    Thanks for sharing this life experience.
    Knowing oneself is great and fascinating worth the try, really worth it :heart:
    This sharing helps me to shed a new light on some dire life events I suffered from but learnt me a lot on myself and the way I choose to see life

    • Celes

      Hi Julie, you are very welcome. :hug: I’m glad that the sharing has helped to shed a new light on those events. You are a beautiful soul. :hug:

  • chris

    Hi Celes,
    Thank you so much for this very timely article. I think I’ve been overlooked for higher duties. This will help keep me on track & looking at the bigger picture. Thanking you as it has made my day.

    • Celes

      Hi chris, thank you taking the time to leave this comment. I’m glad that this article was a timely one for you. :D

  • Bob

    Hi Celes,

    “I had been assigned to a role with redundant responsibilities, a result of very bad organizational restructuring.” Many large companies go through cycles of employment/redundancy when the economy expands they employ more people, when the economy contracts they make redundancies. Redundancies have to be paid for, and then companies are sometimes left with residual workforce that may or may not be useful in the future. Rather than making them redundant(with various benefits) they park them in low-level administrative tasks and hope they leave of their own accord and hence save the company money.

    Good paradigm shifts Celes, – another one used in West Wing(USA TV series about the White House) is that they never mention the word “Problem” it is always “Situation” which gives a location to start from.

    • Celes

      Hi Bob! The redundancy in my situation then was not intended and a result of very poor management foresight and decision. They realized the issue after that but didn’t do anything to rectify the situation (at least not in the two years I was in the company). It’s okay though for it was a great learning lesson (and led me to arrive at the paradigm shifts which I wrote in the article).

      I absolutely agree with you regarding seeing “problems” as “situations”. Boxing “problems” as “problems” is already giving power to those “problems”. Seeing them as neutral occurrences, situations, help us to get an objective view of them.

      Thanks Bob for your great insight. :hug:

      • Bob

        Hey Celes,

        About “the parking of people in dead end jobs” it was not only concerning making people redundant.

        Thought you might like this quote re. Paradigm shifts:

        “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else. And for everything you gain, you lose something else. It is about your outlook towards life. You can either regret or rejoice.”

  • Anand

    Looking back, it will not even look like a sad story. :)

    • Celes

      Not at all, Anand. :)

  • Neeraj

    Great story … thanks for sharing … :)

    • Celes

      You’re very welcome Neeraj. :)

  • Wajahat Ali

    You have inspired a lot of people including me. I have been following your articles since a while now but never commented though, I was surely benefiting from them. I am looking forward to see you in person as well if I get a chance to visit singapore.

    • Celes

      Thank you, Wajahat. :hug:

  • Kay

    This article could not have come at a better time for me. I’m recently going through a process which is totally, completely out of my control. I am immigrating to a country to be with my husband but the process is taking very long, and we have absolutely no idea how long more it is going to take. I’ve been away from my husband for over 5 months now. And since getting married have only lived together for 3 months because I worked in Singapore and he in the place I’m going to now.

    It’s been very difficult because initially I thought the process will be done in a couple of months, but then 2 months turned into 4 and now I’m in the 5th month of waiting with no idea when I’ll be done. The problem is that my passport is with the embassy and I can’t even travel to meet my husband, conversely he can’t travel to where I am right now because of his job. I’m not in Singapore but in my place of birth where I had to apply from, so I’m not even with my parents or have any friends here. I have my extended family but the hardest part is that I had to quit my job.

    So I have felt utterly alone and miserable for 4 months. I cried all the time, cursed my fate, thought the worst, like I’m unemployed and therefore I will have to explain this to my future employer, this lull, how will I do that? I’m very ambitious and a meticulous planner, but I let that get the best of me, I was never able to see any other way out of the situation, I thought it’s either my way or the highway.

    And this current situation totally broke me down. So when I read this piece about crying, it brought back memories of the past 4 months where I cried continuously. And how I DECIDED to be happy, like you did Celes, you found a way out of the miserable situation. So the moral of the story is: FIND your way out, TELL yourself that there is a way out and go for it.

    • Celes

      Dearest Kay, I’m so sorry that you have to be away from your husband (and without a job) for five whole months. And I’m so happy that you DECIDED to be happy. That’s so brave of you to make the decision. Happiness is a choice and there’s no reason why we should be unhappy just because circumstances aren’t in our favor.

      What’s the status of your situation now? Do you know when the embassy can return the passport to you? Any followup you can do with the embassy?

      • Kay

        I have travelled extensively, all over the world, to over 16 countries, and lived in 3 including my place of birth. So they are in the midst of background checks.

        I guess, it’s a lesson in life, when you get handed lemons, make lemonade!

        So my lemonade is taking courses in subjects I have always been interested in such as philosophy, economics etc. I shied away from online courses initially, scoffed at them actually because I said ‘Where’s the certificate? Or degree? What weight does it hold?’ And this process has made me re-examine my stance on life’s achievements.

        I’ve realised it’s better to grow as a person than to hold 5 degrees and only have bookish knowledge, and any chance at personal enhancement should not be given up.

        So I thank my lucky stars that I live in the Internet age, and I can take classes from Harvard, Stanford and practically any university. It may not get me a degree, but it’s more important that I understand the world around me a little bit better. And make me a more interesting person to talk to at cocktail parties!

  • rai

    ”I learned that many problems we think are unresolvable in life are actually solvable. It’s just a matter of looking at them in a different light.”
    Dear Celes, this is so true.
    I’d gone through this before, and during those moments, I felt such an indescribable pain. The pain that no one could understand but me , or so I thought. But at one point, I took some time to look within myself, changed the way I look into things, and finally I realised that nothing is unresolvable. The problems and the pains won’t be killing me. And after giving it so much thoughts, ignoring the naysayers, I chose to quit.
    It hasn’t been an easy route, but I’m truly grateful I made this decision. I learned that there’s more to life than just frowning and fretting over things we can choose to do, or not to do.
    Thanks Celes, for the sharing :)

    • Celes

      rai, I’m so glad that you came to that realization for yourself. It reflects you are such a wise soul on the inside. Thank you for taking the time to leave your mark here. :hug:

  • krishna

    hi celes, I had a similar experience.
    I stay here in hostel and do not have much access to net.
    I came across your blog in January and from January to march I was reading your articles regularly.

    I was doing my engineering in EC but every moment I was struggling to understand the technical aspects.
    While reading your article on PE about Quitting to Win I felt as if it were for me only. That night I went through similar experience like you.. I cried a lot and felt I was totally alone…nobody could understand me…

    That night I decided to quit EC and I told my Parents about it.. From October onwards I changed my branch and I am very happy..It is as if I have lived my entire life in these 5 months.

    Thank you so much celes from the bottom of my heart for changing my life……

    • Celes

      Hey krishna, thank you for the bottom of my heart for being so dedicated to your growth. :hug: I’m so glad you found PE when you did and you are diligently digesting the information from the articles and applying to your life.

      One question – You said you came across the blog in January? Was that last year January or this year January? I thought you meant this year but you also said you read the article Quitting to Win and quit EC in October, so that confused me a little bit.

      • krishna

        hi celes sorry for the mistake.. it was in january 2012 last year.
        Thank you for giving all of us such a wonderful blog to refer everyday….Continue with this forever….

        • Celes

          Hi Krishna! No worries and thanks for clarifying. :D Hope you continue to read this blog forever. Congratulations again for making the decision and taking the action to change your course. I’m so proud of you. :hug:

  • ikponmwosa gold

    hi celes. The Night I Cried reminds me of a lady who found herself in similar circumstance.
    in her own case she refused to cry which was what led to early death.
    sometimes, being able to cry it could increase ones life span.
    thanks so so so much for sharing this piece.

    • Celes

      Hey ikpon, thank you so muc for sharing that story. Where did you read that story? Can you share it with us? (News article, etc.?)

  • Christina

    Hi Celes,

    I really love this article–so empowering! It helped me reconnect with my own truth and shifted my perspective.

    Thank you!


  • Lin

    Hi Celes,

    Your article came timely for me. I am bonded to a company for 2 years and have 1 more year to go. The journey was trying for me and I spent months being so upset and affected by it. I wanted to leave to pursue my further study and not stay in this company with poor management and leadership skills. I felt trapped, thinking that I would have a better opportunity. I was also not properly guided and had to learn everything on the job. It was esp challenging as this is my first job. On top of that, there was office politics and I was also being backstabbed by my colleagues without knowing the reason.

    I feel alone and miserable.

    Your article has offered me a fresh perspective. Indeed, the problems which seem insurmountable to me now will not a problem next time. Furthermore, I have read in your other article that the best way to become street smart is to get in there and to handle things.

    However, I told my in-charge that I intend to further my study last year and now the whole office had the impression that I will be leaving. My thinking changed during the one year and I figure that the best way for me to grow as a person is to persevere in spite of the tough situation. Since I have managed to persevere for a year, I believe I can hang on for a year more by applying all the useful insights you have offered in this article. My issue is how should I break the news to my leaders and colleagues to convince them that I have decided to stay in the company?

    Thank you Celes for sharing your story with us! :)

    • Celes

      Hey Lin! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. :hug:

      “My issue is how should I break the news to my leaders and colleagues to convince them that i have decided to stay in the company?”

      Hmm, if you ask me, I think that since you decided to further your studies and then decided to stay on, it’s also possible that things might change that make you decide to leave again (with valid reasons). I would personally not focus so much on “communicating” that you are *not* leaving, but instead use concrete actions to show that you are a valid asset in the company with intentions to be a long-term valuable team member. You can let people know of your intentions to stay on (if you are really decided on that) through informal conversations with colleagues and during your formal one-to-one meetings with your manager (I suppose your manager needs to formally know this since he/she is your in-charge), but there’s no need to draw too much attention to that decision as it might make people feel that you are “fickle” or trying to draw attention to yourself by flicking between wanting to stay and wanting to leave. Being a role model by actions (delivering valuable work and being a solid employee/direct report/team member) would be the key here IMO.

      Let me know what you think about that!

      • Lin

        Hi Celes,

        thanks for the prompt reply, really appreciate that.

        I think that it is a good idea to show my intentions through my actions rather than with my words.:) I am still committed to performing my best despite some issues.

        I am trying very hard to persevere in this company but somehow, I have been feeling rather unhappy on-off in this company due to backstabbing by colleagues and the intense atmosphere in the company. It is a rather small company with only 10 plus people. The manager of the company is highly suspicious of her subordinates and expects us to submit to her(eg: eat with her during lunch everyday, go out with her and not go out with other colleagues etc). In this one year at the company, at least 5 people have left due to unfair treatment and unhappiness. I used to be closer to a bunch of colleagues whom I find sincere and helpful, but they are somehow resented by the head. Thus, my manager thinks that I belong to the “gang” and is against her even though the bunch of colleagues had subsequently left. They left as they were unfairly treated and were not recognised for thier contribution. One worked for 8 years without any promotion even though she was capable and was valuable to the company.

        I find that the manager does not have a good impression of me. Furthermore, I am more to the introverted side and I am not able to “get on her good side” like some of the other colleagues who belong to her “gang”. The manager is someone who likes people to say things to make her feel good. She has recently promoted a newcomer within less than a month at the job. To add on, another particular colleague had been badmouthing me to the manager(I do not know the reason).

        I feel quite struck. I had wanted to pursue my study as I am keen to pursue university education. Now, I am thinking of putting it on hold(and stay on for a year) and I am not sure how the admisison criteria will fluctuate next year. I am feeling increasingly insecure. I wanted to stay to show that I am someone who can persevere in spite of tough situations. Some days, I feel well to handle it but somehow, I will feel very trapped when I am back at the company. I am currently stuck at the vicious cycle.

        I have been thinking of asking for a transfer. What do you think I should do? To continue to stay on or to find an alternative method?

        Thank you for listening to my long story! :D Hope you do not find me long winded, really needed to share my story and to hear some insight.

        • Celes

          Hey Lin! I don’t think this is the best avenue to seek advice (I recommend using the Ask Celes for that), but to answer your question, I think you should just do whatever feels right to you. If you ask me, it doesn’t sound like you’re very happy in your circumstance, and if you have already tried your best to make the best out of the situation but you feel like your light is being dimmed down, perhaps you should seek alternative avenues. Sometimes people are simply incompatible with each other and there is no point in trying to force fit a working relationship, not especially if they are not dedicated to helping you succeed (which seems to be the case with your manager) or don’t believe in your goodness. I personally wouldn’t want to be surrounded by such fear-based people. The only reason to stay would be if you see yourself gaining more than the costs if you do stay on and if you do not find any other option better than the current job, but even then it would just be a temporary option until you do find a better job.

          I hope that helps, Lin!

  • Jess

    Thanks Celes for sharing that very personal story. I’ve been in similar situations with my day job and when you’re in the moment, it sure can be difficult at times to see there is more than one side and there is a way out. This story brings to light that much of life is really not the situation, but how you react to it and although it’s easier said than done at times, always TRY to see the positive side of a situation and learn from each situation. Thanks again.