“You Need To Care A Little Bit”

Not all the best advice comes from someone you love or care for.  It sometimes comes from people that you would rather never think of again.  This is the case when I was 20 years old in my first real grown-up job in Credit & Collections with a Vice President who was a complete…. Well, let’s just say I didn’t like him.  Anyway, to be in Credit & Collections you have to be pretty tough.  It got to the point where this VP called me in his office and he sat me down and was surprisingly gentle.  He said, “I know it’s a tough job you have and you do not care what anyone thinks of you.”  At first I thought this was a compliment.  He then went on to say, “But you really should care…. A little bit.”  I looked very perplexed and he explained that by being too tough (externally and internally) I was actually going to hurt my career and upward mobility.  UGH… he was making it very difficult to not like him.  Here I could not stand the guy and he’s helping me with my career

He then sent me to an expensive “Business Communications” Seminar in NYC which was extremely eye opening.  I had no idea because of how I dressed (i.e. - wearing red), how I stood (i.e. - with hands on hips, aka “Bitch Wings”), and even the intonation of my voice was communicating WAY more aggression than I ever felt.  At first I was a prisoner to the class because I was not open minded because I felt insulted.  “How DARE he send ME to a communication class!  This is just jealousy, that’s all!” was my initial attitude at first.  But by the end of the class I became HIGHLY aware of how my actions, dress, writing, my whole being was projecting a person to the world that I never intended to be!  I did not realize how much of a disconnect there was between who I thought I was portraying and who I was actually projecting to be.  At the end of the class I was very humbled.  Well, really I was extremely embarrassed looking back for how I behaved previously.  And it was not for the lack of people telling me, I just didn’t “get it” until it was presented in a way that I was able to be open to receive it.  I often now revisit what/how I am presenting myself to the world and if it is in line with the person I have in my head or the person I want to be.

It actually took someone that I DIDN’T like to get my attention.  So I still didn’t like my VP too much, but I will still be forever grateful that he took the time (and money) to invest in me.  Come to think of it, he probably didn’t like me either which makes it even more amazing he did this for me - LOL!

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