How empathy got me fired and do we need e-PPE?

I was fired from my job in 2012. The company I was working for was planning to move the whole manufacturing facility to a neighboring city. Up to this point, I thought of myself as energy sensitive but that was as far as I took it.

I am not sure what a smooth manufacturing facility move would look like, but I am quite sure this relocation was not it. As the receptionist, I found myself trying to help it go smoothly and the whole stressed and irritated company was coming to me to tell me what was wrong and ask me to help fix it.

I did feel myself collapse under the weight of it, even though I didn’t know what it was. I was numb when I was at work and crying at home. My boss became very demeaning and I was terminated.

During the healing that followed, I did a lot of soul-searching. I read the StrengthsFinder book and took the test. Empathy was in my top five strengths. As I read about it, it said that I often feel others’ emotions–even emotions that they do not realize they have. A light bulb went off in my head. It made sense of so much of my work life.

At work, there are limited accepted options for expressing yourself as well as forced interactions with people that you don’t necessarily like. This causes people to suppress a lot of feelings. So, I was feeling my own feeling plus the stressed-out feelings of an entire company. I wasn’t conscious enough at the time to navigate that situation without getting fired. But getting fired caused me to learn something I wouldn’t have learned as vividly if it hadn’t happened.

And just before getting fired, I received the idea for the novel I just published, Remembering My Monk. My time on unemployment, before I landed my next job, gave me an opportunity to get part of a rough draft done.

I was reflecting with a friend this week on how we didn’t miss not having to be in other people’s energy during this quarantine. We just have to keep our energy field clean from our own stuff. We don’t have to be in the energy of other people’s suppressed emotional garbage. For an empath, a suppressed emotional energy cloud is like the cloud around Charlie Brown’s Pig-Pen. Or like that person who has so much perfume on that it assaults your senses.

The PPE everyone is talking about should not only be making us more conscious what microbes we are spreading, but also of the energy we are spreading as well. Do people need energy protection to be around me? I feel very certain that we will continue to gain more consciousness around this issue. Especially when we come out of our shelter in place and begin to interact in the larger world. In the meantime, if you are spending less time with people, I invite you to take some of this time for some honest introspection to see if you can release some of the suppressed emotional garbage that you carry through your day-to-day. It is as contagious as a virus.