My favorite job for a long while was working as a receptionist in Phoenix Arizona when we were newly-weds. Maybe it was the joy of getting married. Maybe it was just the joy of being who I really am and connecting with the people. Maybe it was something else. Whatever the case may be, I absolutely LOVED my job. I loved everything about it. The organizing. The interacting and welcoming clients to the building. Connecting phone calls to the people they needed to talk with. It was exhilarating the day I had learned where all 40+ extensions took the callers and I no longer needed to look it up. Life was great.
I remember many occasions when my co-workers commented on how friendly and happy I was. My boss would often compliment me on how well I was representing the company and clients were telling everyone what a warm and happy place it was, citing my welcome on the phone.
Once a co-worker insisted I tell him what I “was on” so he could feel good and happy as often as I did. All I could refer him to was having a happy life. (Odd fact: I have never had or even been offered drugs of any type other than medicinal. Tylenol is about my limit. There’s a fun story here for another time about drugs.)
Everything was great until I decided I was getting bored. They couldn’t find enough stuff for me to do since I was so efficient at answering the phones and sorting/delivering the mail. I would type up a few things here and there, but that was getting too easy too.
When a position came available for the accounting department I thought it would be a fun challenge. I liked the girls in that department and we got along great. Just like I got along with everyone great. My boss (of course) didn’t want me to switch and advised me against it. He said he would try to find me more to do, but I ignored his wisdom.
The accounting department is drastically different than the front desk. Competitive with deadlines and numbers all over the place. There was no way of knowing from an outsider’s view that the department was not really friends with each other. They were devoted to getting things done and that was it. They fought to get the best numbers. It wasn’t long before I was overwhelmed and grumpy.
Life at work affects life at home.
Experiences that cause discomfort help us to see who we are and what we love. I am grateful to have had this learning and I am really glad I am not in the accounting department anymore.
This week on the Layers of Communication show I visited with MaryAnne Adams. Her focus is on business relationships. As we visited I saw a familiar thread from my own life. We can’t be happy with anything if we aren’t happy with ourselves.
Here are the top take-aways this week:
- You can re-write your story. It doesn’t have to be a story limited to what you want in your future. You can go back and see the experiences in life from a different point of view, like imagining yourself as a fly on the wall, and write your history in a different way.
- Gratitude is key. We know this and I mention it often, but it’s still worth repeating. When you wrap your history in gratitude for the learning you have gained, even when it’s an abusive relationship or worse unmentionables, if you have learned from it and wrap the experience in gratitude it can be forgiven and accepted.
- Forgiveness is letting go. Not forgetting or releasing from consequences. It is possible and MaryAnne has done so. With her parents gone from this life she was still able to forgive them and she says she can’t wait to meet with her father again after this life and start over. There were things she misunderstood as a child that he didn’t know how to convey better. She knows he loved his family.
I asked MaryAnne how this has affected her business relationships and her answer rings true for every relationship. Nobody wants to be with someone who is always grumpy and blaming people. Forgiving and accepting has allowed her to attract people who she loves to be around and she loves too.
Knowing who we are and loving ourselves allows us to interact with our co-workers in the most pleasant ways. The girls in the accounting department liked crunching numbers in a way that I can only admire. Knowing that I love the receptionist job helped me be the best I could at that position.
If you want more information for MaryAnne Adam’s book you can find her here: