Money. It’s what makes the world go round, right? Long gone are the days of bartering for your necessities; trading your neighbor tit for tat. Innovation and technology in all their glory “simplified” our lives, but it seems no matter how much we have we are never satisfied.
I worked in corporate America for fifteen years. I started in an entry-level position as a clerk, low man on the totem pole a.k.a. the one who does all of the work no one else wants to do. I quickly worked my way up the corporate ladder to an account rep, senior account rep, trainer, and finally to an analyst. This is where my journey stopped. When I initially interviewed for this company I was so excited to even be considered, so you can only imagine how thrilled I was when they called and offered me the position. I worked for peanuts but I had my foot in the door and I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I could make something of myself.
I put my blood, sweat, and oh so many tears into my job. I always gave it my all. If I made a mistake no one needed to reprimand me because I was always harder on myself than anyone else ever could be. I would beat myself up until I knew I would never make the same mistake again. Many years later I would learn a very important motto that changed my perspective ‘I am human and imperfect’ and I never claimed to be otherwise.
After being hired I made several attempts to bid up to a new position, all unsuccessful. I was disheartened. Everyone gave me rave reviews on my performance and work ethic. Other people came to me if they had questions, but I was consistently overlooked for a promotion. I know now it was because I was so very young. Although I was very determined and knew I could handle the additional responsibilities they were hesitant to give me a chance. I did get some internal satisfaction when they passed me up for an external applicant who didn’t bother to show up on her first day or any day thereafter. And also took some pleasure in watching them have to deal with the man they picked over me who continually propped his feet up on his desk and answered most questions with a shrug of his shoulders (he was eventually demoted). Remember, I said I was only human. Even
Being human is a roller coaster of emotion and I believe those emotions differ somewhat with age. Something that is perceived as the end of the world for a teenager is most likely trivial to a senior. I think about how I felt through the entire process. Excited when a job posting would be announced. Indecisive on whether or not to apply for the position. Nervous waiting for an interview. Scared while waiting for a decision. Heartbroken when the decision wasn’t favorable and a mixture of all of the above if it was favorable.
One fact that remained consistent no matter what position I held was the pecking order. If you walked in to work and saw that your superior was having a bad day you might as well be prepared because you would most likely be having a bad day before all was said and done. It is the trickle down effect. If someone at the top of the pyramid takes heat for something it will slowly trickle down until it reaches the very bottom of the pyramid and it is usually the little guys who get the worst end of the bargain. A particular trend for this company was not to address individuals for their mistakes but rather repetitively collect the group as a whole to chew them up and spit them out. The problem with this method is the people it applies to are usually not listening and the ones paying attention are getting irked for having to hear the same redundant message.
As time went by I consistently felt less like a person and more like a robot. I was hollow and empty all of the time. No matter how hard I tried something didn’t get the attention it deserved. Like so many Americans today I had so many roles to play at once–wife, mother, employee, and we own our own small business so everything that entails. The last year that I was employed, I noticed a change in myself. Some of it had to do with external factors, but most of it had to do with a change of heart. Money isn’t everything after all and if I was living a miserable existence then it was finally the time to be brave; brave enough to make a change, brave enough to put myself out there, brave enough to realize that even though I had so much invested that it was okay to take a leap of faith. With so many other responsibilities, it was a very difficult decision to make and it really came as a surprise to my fellow coworkers. Even though it is probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done it has by far been the most rewarding.