the cherry on top

last week my direct supervisor was out of town, so mike, the operations manager, was sitting in her office, which is just accross from my cube (why am i still in a cube?). the last time he sat in like this, i ended up demoted, kicking off a real shitty time in my work and personal life. to make matters worse, this was my week to break and cover the front desk, my old position. ever since they decided for me that i couldn’t separate my thought life from how i treat people and therefore shouldn’t be working face to face with customers, i have felt super awkward when i break the front desk person and management is around. i know that my direct supervisor trusts me, but i feel judged and self-conscious when i have to do my old job around the people that took it away from me.

so last week. not only can mike hear me on my calls when he’s in his office, but he sees me and works with me when the front desk person goes on break. i was dreading it a little bit. but at the same time lately i’d been thinking about this unique experience in my life. i’ve struggled with this, i’ve rarely gotten in trouble at work, and i’ve certainly never been demoted. being fired would be easier in a way because then you wouldn’t have to face people, you wouldn’t have to interact with the people that reprimanded you and put on an act like everything is ok and pretend you don’t feel humiliated everyday. i’ve only just recently started to get in touch with how deeply this has hurt me, hurt my confidence, to be judged on the ugliest of my personal thoughts by people that don’t really know who i am. it has affected me in complex ways.

on the other hand, this is a challenge. this is an opportunity for me to be resilient. so a couple of people got the wrong idea about me…. so they generalized me and judged me… so they deemed me a bad person. i can believe them and internalize, or i can move on doing the best job that i can. slowing down and connecting with people, listening and being empathetic, being annoyed and irritated at aspects of my job and still being a good person, shaking it off and moving on. and that’s what i’ve been trying to do.

midway through the week i smiled at this challenge i’m receiving. how funny that it turns out my break week comes on the week that mike is sitting in. at first i was too nervous to do my best job. but then i refused to be intimidated and decided to just do what i do. and it was a tough week, super busy. thursday at the end of the day, mike called me into his office. oh shit, i thought. did my mom send me one too many emails and now i’m fired??

“lola. we had a meeting a while back,” he started, a half smile on his face. “we had a meeting a couple of months ago where we asked you to make some changes. and i just want you to know that the way you have reacted to this has been pheomenal. and i want you to know that it hasn’t gone unnoticed. i’m very impressed.”

wow.

i thanked him and told him how much i appreciated that. and then i biked on air all the way home. this has all been such a humbling experience, staying at a place where you feel unwanted and unappreciated, trying to find another job in a time when it’s so difficult. but still finding the small ways to keep your sanity, and beyond that to keep trying. not that i haven’t had my days of fuck this, i don’t even care about this stupid job and this company, why bother? i’m not a saint. but it’s been nice to experience grace through this, to be strong and push myself. for myself. the cherry on top is when people notice the good things.

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