The key to what makes them so special has to be, in my humble opinion, the degree of encouragement they bring to our life. Which has made me consider again what it is that we need for life to be happy, enjoyable, positive, fulfilling. Encouragement has to be up there with love as one of the key things we as human beings need to survive and thrive. For without it, if we feel that our contribution to life and the world is insignificant, unwanted or unacceptable, we can so easily believe the lie that our existence is futile and of no worth. But just think for a moment of the difference it makes to receive a "well done", a "congratulations", a pat on the back or a job offer - and you will perhaps understand what it is I am trying to say.
Redundancy - for whatever reason - is a massive kick in the teeth/wherever. Even if it's to be explained away by the end of a contract a little bit of you will always think "if they really wanted me they could have...." It's so easy to waste time going over conversations, projects, meetings and emails - trying to work out what went wrong or why you were "let go". How do you hang on to any semblance of self confidence when the stark message you've been given is "we don't need you"?
Subsequent job applications, interviews, callbacks and rejections can sap your confidence even further. The "ideal" looking job that a dozen friends send to you - only for you to have to reply that yes, you have seen it and yes, you applied, only for you to have been told that they will not be taking your application any further. The hours spent on competency based applications, hopes raised as you realise how well suited you are, before the email to tell you that others matched the criteria better than you did. the numerous CVs sent off to be surveyed by panels who don't know you as a person, the sum total of their knowledge of you being a series of bullet points listing your key achievements.
And then today - you get a call. Out of the blue, unexpected. In fact you suspect it is to tell you to stop hassling them as there are no openings. But instead it's to say they they would like to offer you an opportunity. One day a week, and just for a month. But finally a chance to prove yourself and show what you can do.
And all of this has happened on the day when you decide that maybe you need to go it alone and start building a website, a business, a way of earning some cash doing what you do best. And in the same week as another two or three conversations have led you to think that there might possibly be openings out there...
Ups and downs, a rollercoaster ride, onwards and upwards. I read recently that cures for stress are a waste of time - life is stressful (and perhaps we should get over it!) Maybe the key is to relax into it all, trust that what will be - will. And enjoy every moment, as life's too short and would we really want it any other way?