I’ve been in a very uncomfortable place these last several days.
A place on the outskirts of Thankfulness, within the suburbs of Gratefulness, and smack in the middle of . . . Humility.
You see, I recently left my job in the wild jungles of retail, where I’d been entrenched for the last ten years. (The details of which I’ll get into at another time.) I expected a lot of things upon my leaving. Worry, relief, fear, happiness, guilt and excitement to name a few.
What I didn’t expect was the level of love, kindness and gratitude I received from my coworkers over the last days of my work. People I barely even knew let alone knew I’d left any impression on. People with whom I felt I had little “positive” influence (or any influence at all) came up and expressed sadness at my decision, sorrow at my leaving, and thanking me for being a friend, a mentor.
That was weird!
I’d never had that experience before. In any position, at any job I’d ever held.
Who was this guy they were talking about?
I know me, and it certainly wasn’t the guy I’ve gone to work with for the last ten years . . . especially the last couple. I’m the antagonist, the pot stirrer, the one that says the things everyone’s thinking yet has the common sense not to air. Still, one of my coworkers called me a “voice of reason.”
I’m the guy that ranted and raged over the direction I feared our company was headed; how corporate profits and the drive to up the stock price had caused our most upper executives to sell the very heart and soul of the company I started with ten years ago (don’t get me started!!). Yet several coworkers called me the “best manager they’ve ever worked with.”
No, no, no. Certainly not me! I’ve been unhappy there for a year or more. Didn’t they see that? I hadn’t “enjoyed” going to work there, hadn’t found satisfaction or fulfillment for even longer. Didn’t they know?
Well . . .
Sure they did.
Apparently, they liked me anyway. I had no idea.
I had no clue the depth of relationships I’d created. I had no idea the breadth of influence and connection I’d made. And, I guess that’s the take-away from this past week.
I had no idea. Do you?
When you go to work on Monday, take a look around. Take a look at your bosses, your coworkers, your employees: Think about the relationships, the influence, and the connections.
Where do you stand? How do they truly see you? Who are you to them? Do you have any idea?
The oddest thing for me to understand is, even though “work” may suck, the work environment is a completely different animal. I didn’t know that; hadn’t a clue. Yet even in spite of my ignorance, relationships developed anyway. Good ones. Ones I hope to somehow keep.
For me, “work” will never be the same. The term “coworker” will never be the same. It’s just one of the things being drummed into me lately. Everywhere I turn, the same thought, the same idea, the same inspiration keeps hitting me.
It’s all about relationship.
Everything. (Even the stuff that sucks!)
It’s all about the relationships you build.
Many (most) of which you may not even know.
So . . . you can teach an old dog new tricks. And I appreciate everyone who took the time to “teach” me.
It’s led me to believe that everyone needs to spend a little time in Humility, within the suburbs of Gratefulness and on the outskirts of Thankfulness. It’s not a bad place to visit.
Maybe even live.