Last week, a whole lot of my friends had their whole life rearranged! Their (and my) Mothership had crash landed! They had been restructured and their current positions at Whole Foods Market did not exist any longer. They were given two options: take the money and run(severance pay) or hang around to interview for a new job somewhere in the company, working for a much lower salary, without any guarantee about that new position. Within a week, so many of my friends lives had drastically changed and ironically, so had mine!
Although I left WFM over a year and a half ago, I still hadn't completely shaken the WFM label. I often am still mistaken as a being a representative of wfm and I still have deep roots in all the San Diego stores. With last week's employee purging, those deep roots were completely uprooted. The Local program, which I help build and grow, is no longer. The Local Foragers have been restructured right out of WFM, along with their support for local products. All my Marketing friends were eliminated, along with scores of long time employees that gave each store its own unique character and soul.
The purging of all the old to make way for a more profitable future, I believe, is one of the reasons for the meteoric decline of WFM in the past couple of years. I am certain it is far more complicated than my simplistic explanation. However, I watched WFM give up all the things that made it okay for people to spend their whole paycheck in their stores and still love coming back each week. Among those things was the passion of their employees for what they believed in: whole foods, whole people, whole planet. They believed in that simple mantra and they(we) were going to make the world a better place through organics, zero garbage policies, animal compassion, veganism, gluten free living, micro loans for women and so much more. We were making the world better through food! They believed and so did I!
That belief was shattered, last Monday, when they learned that their mission had been aborted! Many of them were left feeling betrayed, bitter and perhaps duped! I, because I am much older than all of them, know that they are in fact, a whole lot wiser for their experiences! They and I were truly blessed by our time at WFM and we can now move on. We can carry our old mission to new places or find a new mission and a new Mothership!
Personally, I can now let go. My friends are gone and most of the work that I was most proud of will be wiped away, as if it never existed. What I will never let go of is the gratitude I have for the ten, life enriching years that I had at Whole Foods Market. And, most importantly, I am grateful for what has become the family of friends that I can carry with me on my future journeys! Finally, as I let go of all things that do not serve my highest purpose, I am absolutely certain of one thing: We must be willing to let go of the life we had planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. EM Forster