First 30 Days Blog

20 apr

So Much Alike

Choosing not to appear to be better than anyone else, he had selected an office on the same level as all the other brokers. He sat quietly behind his desk when I entered the room, and pointed to the chair in front of him. I sat down. After a few seconds, he looked at me and said, “It’s difficult for a right brain person to make it in this left brain world.” I wasn’t sure where that thought had come from. We talked for a while, discussing what happens when we try to fight and struggle against the rules and control of those who refuse to understand us. And how much we abhor following orders and working in this environment. It was a topic he knew I would understand.

He was known in the company as the “maverick manager.” He wore dress pants, a casual shirt and no tie to work and occasionally brought his dog or his guitar into this very professional environment. There were times he felt the sales assistants were not given enough recognition and praise, so to show his appreciation, he would rent a limo for us, bring his guitar (we would all sing while he played) and take us out to dinner or to a baseball game. Yet, he ran a very successful office, which is probably why the higher-ups accepted his idiosyncracies. I didn’t know what he had done on the corporate level that led to such a title, but I liked it. I secretly wished that I could be more open with expressing my own indignation to rules and regulations.

I had my own maverick tendencies. I had been taking time off, with his permission, to do auditions for acting jobs. At least once a week I went after work directly to my acting coach for a class. I did a commercial for a local television station and a small part in an industrial film. Also, several years prior I adopted the practice of being holistic.

Some of my coworkers were curious about my behaviors and asked me questions. Like him, I was different and I didn’t hide this fact. Instead, I was and still am I am proud of who I am.

LIKE A TIGER IN A CAGE

Our conversation that day helped me to understand why I had such a difficult time conforming to the work place. Why I was always searching for something else, but didn’t know exactly what. I just knew that I was bored, and never had the drive or inclination to be an overachiever.

He understood, though, and it was in that instant in his office that I knew I had a choice. It was the fact that the words he said were spoken out loud for both of us to hear. I think up to that point we were hiding in our misery. We were both trying to fit in a place that we did not want to fit in, but felt we had to. How else were we to earn an income working at a job if we didn’t do what they asked?

I quit a short time later, but I couldn’t think of anything that I could do other than getting another job. The time I spent in creative classes, the auditions, the two acting jobs were the beginning of knowing that I wanted to do something creative. Acting would not be it, though. I talked with one of my acting coaches explaining that I had a very difficult time saying the words that someone else wrote and make it sound believable. He said writing would make much more sense since it is my word and not someone else’s.

The Maverick Manager also quit a short time later–packed his guitar, took his dog and moved to a town in the mountains. He was doing what he wanted. He had found his freedom. Me? I got a new job, thinking maybe it would be better, hoping it would give me more freedom and more money. It didn’t.

I still had to figure out what I wanted. I was not as brave as he was, nor did I have a concrete talent to use as a way to make money. The only way I knew to make money was to work for someone else and because of that belief that is where I was stuck. I went right back into working for someone else.

WHICH IS IT?

Every day I go to work, or just thinking about going to work I live under the abusive threat of being yelled at or fired. The managers grating and angry voice sticks in my mind. Why would I want or be willing to work under these circumstances, if not for the fact that how else can I make money? Certainly not because I enjoy performing a degrading job, but that is what I’m doing. On the days I am not working I fear not having enough money. Where is the happy medium? By what means do I actualize loving my work and enjoying prosperity and freedom?

The reason I have not been successful in my endeavor to have freedom, and be self-reliant and wealthy is that I remember being scolded for believing in something so ridiculous. Scolded for being a dreamer.

CAN WE HAVE BOTH?

Which is worse, not having money or not having peace and happiness?

I am working part time at a job, gradually phasing it out. Full time, though, I am writing. The pieces of the puzzle are not quite in the place they need to be, but time is on my side. A practice called determination and focus on my dreams will win out.

EXERCISE

  • Did someone in your past make you feel your dreams were not worthwhile?
  • Do you ever feel like a caged animal?
  • What do you dream of? What work do you really want to do more than anything else?
  • Is there a way that you can save enough money to quit your job and work at your dream?

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Posted by JoAnna Boccard on April 20th, 2010 in New Directions, Personal Stories | 0 comments

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