Listening between the signposts
Often I’m so driven and focused on the direction *I* think a path is taking me that I don’t really hear the guides as they take me happily, or clawing as the case may be, forward on my life journey. The messages from the guides come in various forms. They can be from the words my boss speaks, or his silence, or his ommission of the truth; from the HR director’s color commentary about the direction of corporate communications; or from the lack of response to a direct question I pose to my boss which he doesn’t want to answer; or how I’m hurriedly dismissed from his office when an exec comes by; or how my meetings are constantly canceled or he shows up late. Or how he tries to pacify me by saying he has my back and I’m doing such a great job. I no longer believe him.
Clearly the message is this: the job I think I have is not the job I have. Or the job I have is not the job I want. The responsibility I’ve assumed is not the responsibility they want me to keep assuming – or at least they don’t want to pay me for it or give me the title. They (they being corporate america suits) seem happy to keep me pegged in some square hole in which I do not fit.
I’ve been working in corporate America for 25 years now and the story is the same. I get a glimpse of opportunity where I can show my strength, smarts, and skills and I’m allowed to do so, but without the pay or the recognition. I stupidly do the work, blindly faithful that I will be rewarded at the end. Really now. How many vendors do you know that will come in and perform all the work with the hope that they’ll get paid? Seriously. I’m kicking myself right now. If I were a consultant or a 1099 employee, I would have lost my shirt by now, not to mention my house, car, and everything else I owned, just because of these rose colored polyanna glasses I’ve worn for too long.
Ok. So. What do I do now? I need to listen. I need to speak up. Maybe. Sometimes what I think I want is not what I really want at all. They were talking in a meeting today about needing an editor (uh… what am I? Gee, I thought my title had the word editor in it.) But they want one that can create and manage an editorial calendar and write and manage articles for the company intranet. Uh. Gee. Have you READ my resume? Criminey. They’re looking straight at their candidate and seeing someone else. Why if you put the word “technical” in front of “editor” does everyone – absolutely everyone – assume that you can’t write for all end users. Sheesh. I edit end user manuals. How much more end user focused can you get? Freeking A.
So, I’m thinking to myself to go speak to the HR director and tell him that I want to be that person. And that I don’t want to be boxed in, that I can do more and contribute more, and for heck sake, BE more.
My mind ponders this.
The meeting ends and I’m chatting with my consultant friends and somehow the topic of the doggie Valentine dress I just made came up. He mentioned how he has a friend that owns a high-end doggie boutique down in Seattle. He asked me to send him a picture. Hmmm. Wheels are churning in my head, quick math, how much fabric, making my own patterns, designs, gee, even what brand name to create.
I drive home. I talk to my mom about the doggie boutique. She mentions how fun it would be to do that but of course, she says, I wouldn’t want to give up my job I love so much. <tires come to a screeching halt> Has she never listened to anything I say? I hate corporate america and the only thing that keeps me there is the standard of living I enjoy. If I could make the money I make now doing something else, something I love, and not have some stupid man in a corporate suit saying when I can have a pay increase, believe me, they’d not be able to catch their breath in the backdraft I cause as I race out with my hair on fire.
I need to have some quiet time to listen, really listen, to what the guides are telling me. Then I’ll know the right steps to take.
What better place to practice my zen, enjoy solitude and serenity, than in my sewing room? Oh, Yeah! My guides are sewing guides! Go figure.