Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chill Out

All work and no monkey business

"Anastasia, we need to talk." As my breath quickened and my entire body tensed, I tried my damnedest to not let my internal breakdown crack my cool visage. While I waited for the other party involved in this conversation to return from the restroom I couldn't help but think that we need to put a moratorium on that phrase, "we need to talk." I mean, never in the history of mankind has that phrase been uttered with something positive hung on the other side of it. People never say, "We need to talk, you are awesome let's get married" or "We need to talk. You are awesome here's a raise." It's always "We need to talk. You haven't done anything wrong, things just aren't working out...you're fired/I'm breaking up with you."

So when my boss of three months uttered those damning words and followed them up with "You haven't done anything wrong..." my eye stayed trained on his but my mind when for a quick spin on the fear merry-go-round. I knew that despite my best efforts my performance had not been exactly extraordinary and that a large portion of the company's future was hitched to the success of my region. I also had a sneaking suspicion that the company owners would not fly down for a long weekend just to help me set appointments to make my bonus. The minute those words were put on the table my mind quickly added 1+1 and came to the conclusion that I was being fired. All I could think was, "How much of a loser am I? I'm being fired form the only full time, salaried job I've had in my field." Then immediately I thought, "How the hell am I going to pay my car note and rent now?" The next thought--again all of these thoughts are taking place in the time it takes for one guy to go to and return from the restroom--was "So what if they fire you, you'll find another job." My breathing immediately relaxed followed by every muscle in my body, because I knew that this thought unlike the other was true. I'd put in my two weeks at one job and walked right into another, and was hooked up with this job by a friend not long after being laid off. I also never went hungry and none of my bills ever went unpaid thanks to my hustle mentality, unemployment and my daddy.  In that moment, I knew that no matter what was said and done, I would be all good because something bigger than I am had always had my back. I took a deep breath and looked my boss in the eye, ready for the worst. 

It didn't come. Instead, I was given the answer to a prayer I'd sent out the night before. After struggling with how exactly I was going to go back to school later this year and manage a job where I was supposed to be home 2-4 days out of the month, I'd decided to give up on my job and look for a new one. But on Monday morning, after reminding myself that things usually work out for the best whether I know it or not, my bosses told me they were putting me in the showroom and hiring a more experienced salesperson to work the territory. Whew! Not only was I not being fired but everything was working out the way I needed it to. I would be home more often, able to focus on my writing and going back to school to hone my skills, and I wouldn't have to worry about money since my pay would stay the same. 

Would this situation have worked out had I not taken the time to refocus my thoughts and let the chill in? Of course, but instead of hearing that they are hiring someone more experienced that I can learn from and share the workload with, I would have heard that they hired someone and my job was being threatened. Same story, different perception. In the end, what you perceive in a situation holds more importance than what is actually happening. 

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