By Judy Berman
Sometimes, it’s best not to ignore those nagging voices inside your head. The ones that tell you, maybe, you should rethink what you’re doing.
My moment of clarity came when a recruiter at a place I wanted to work at told me I didn’t appear to be the “go-to person” at my job. That’s not exactly what I expected – or wanted – to hear.
In basketball terms, the go-to-person is the one who other players throw the ball to when they are in a difficult spot and they want their team to score.
His harsh words prompted me to assess what I was doing and what I needed to change.
Just what were my options? Curling up in a fetal position and pounding my fists on the floor? Carrying the taste of defeat and bitterness with me for years? Or resigning myself to working in a job that I didn’t enjoy or find challenging?
His myopic view of my capabilities didn’t mesh with my own. Negativity just wears you down and out. It distracts you from achieving your goals. I’m reminded of Sean Connery’s character, (as Jim Malone, an Irish beat cop), in the movie, “The Untouchables.” Connery confronts Eliot Ness about how he plans to respond to mobster Al Capone, “What are you prepared to do?”
I chose to re-evaluate my career. I looked at the work and actions of those I admired. My mission was to become the type of person employers wanted.
Then, a strange thing happened. As I transformed, my stock rose in management’s eyes.
About three years later, no longer the mild-mannered reporter, I wrote a letter to that recruiter and thanked him for his comments during that job interview. I told him that he had inspired me to make changes at work, and the response from my bosses was positive.
Shortly before I wrote that letter, my employer had named me Employee of the Month for front-page stories I’d written about a man who had been in isolation for three months even though a jury had cleared him of any wrongdoing in a prison riot. After my stories ran, the state reversed its decision and released the man to the general prison population.
That same week, my editor wrote in my annual review that I’d become the “go-to reporter when we have a tough nut to crack.”
How sweet that was.
I never received a response to my letter. But that wasn’t necessary. I had turned a negative into a positive. That brutal discussion, years earlier, forced me to re-examine what I was doing and to look at alternate ways to approach my job. As I did so, I fell back in love with my job. I felt valued and I was in a working environment where I could bloom and grow. The bonus was I was working with and for people I liked and respected.
Sometimes life’s lessons reveal that the only thing that needs changing is how we look at things and how we respond to them.
As Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”
Movie clip – Nine to Five – I didn’t work 9 to 5, nor did I have these experiences. But, many workers can relate to these characters.
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Photo: Reporter – Lois Lane – cartoon – Lois Lane in a scene from the cartoon, ‘The Arctic Giant’ (1942). http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/25/Lois_Lane_en_la_caricatura_%27The_Arctic_Giant%27.png
Photo: Jobs – Superman – cartoon – Still frame from the animated cartoon “Superman: Billion Dollar Limited” (1942). http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dc/Superman-billiondollarlimited1942.jpg