Yesterday afternoon, I rode my bike to the top of Humbolt Mountain, elevation 5200 feet, a 3500 ft climb according to Strava. Sitting atop the summit is a radar tower, most likely a key component of the southwestern air traffic control grid. It was a hot afternoon and I was angry. What better way to cool off than riding up a mountain?
A few hours earlier, I had received a call from the Crims VP of Development, informing me that my position was being eliminated for strategic reasons. In other words, I was being laid off. My first reaction was relief, because for the past few weeks I had been ruminating over how to quit working for that company on good terms. A few hours later, and even now, I’m feeling hurt and angry. In fifty odd years in the workforce, never before had I been laid off. That only happened to other people; I was too valuable. I was proud.
Pride is not a good thing. In Mere Christianity, one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, talks about pride as the greatest of sins. After reading the book the first time many years ago, I decided I had learned to replace pride with humility. When I read the book a second time, the following passage caught my attention:
“If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realise that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.”
So ok, I guess I’m proud, though striving earnestly to savor my humble pie.