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Is it me or is the rest of the world crazy?

Honestly, I flip back and forth on my opinion on this matter. Somedays I think it’s me, I’m nuts, something is seriously wrong with me and other days, I look at others around me and I wonder how they function. I guess the truth lies somewhere in between.

I was writing a job description for a new position at my shop yesterday and one of the concepts I wanted prospective employees to know about my company is that we have a “Think of it Today, Implement it Tomorrow” attitude. I’m thinking that this line really says it all about how I operate and how I expect my operation to run. Think of a great concept and act on it. No over thinking, no waiting, just do it. I’m the queen of just do it. Hear about a great marketing idea, well…no waiting, act on it, do it. Notice that something is dirty, well, no waiting, clean it. That’s me, that’s inside my head and so that’s what I do. I react to things around me, always seeing a better way or something that needs to be done. A good thing? I’ve always thoughts so but ask those around me and I’m sure they will tell you it’s exhausting.

What’s a girl to do. Honestly, I find the negative, do nothing, heaven forbid we change anything attitude of those arround me to be a drag. So much of a drag that I feel like my main role at work is to be a nag and truthfully, that has become such a negative influence in my life that I’m ready to sprint in the other direction. Am I complaining? Am I actually doing so on paper (well, sort of paper)? Yes, I am.

Ok, story time. These stories help demonstrate the above. Me, 19 years old, go to the big city (New York City, that is) and get a job as a secretary. One of my responsibilities is to keep the store room of all the office supplies organized. This office of 40 people rely on this room to be filled with everything from calculators to pens. I walk in and I was shocked by the kaos of this room. I walked into the department head and ask him if it was ok to reorganize and if there was any particular reason why that room was organized that way. He smiled and said “it’s your room now, do whatever you want with it”. Ah ha!! Control. I was in heaven. For the next week I reorganized, cleaned consolidated and even made a few trips outside to speak to my coworkers who used this equipement and supplies. Who better to ask how things get done and how they would like to see thing run.

Now remember, this is 1982, no one really has computers at their desk. No voicemail either so part of my job was to type things on demand for those 40 people whenever they need it. Switchboards, I became a master!! I could run back from that stockroom, answer that 40 person switchboard, take a message and be back to organizing in seconds flat. Ah, to be young again. I miss those “easy to sprint” days.

Anyway, the point to this whole story is that in one week, I had that room in top condition. One week. That, mind you, was a supposidly a large part of the job and it was done and I would keep it that way (it’s a gift I have, I put things back from where they came from). What next? Well, there was definately things to learn, I had only been there a week. Next everyone noticed, “hey, she’s fast at stuff, give it to her to do” so that was good. People gave me little projects, so that kept me busy. The truth was that if you did that job well and kept organized, it was probably barely a 20 hour a week job. My problem? I had to be there 35 hours. Boring. I also didn’t really care for the part where I made the lunch reservations for the bosses but then got left behind. They bent the rules a lot and brought me along to supposidly take notes, but the truth was they knew I was bored, that I wanted more responsibility but there was not much more to the job. Footnote: the person who was in that job before me - had been there 5 years. Poor girl!! Thank goodness she was promoted. Well, I lasted 14 months. It was time to go back to school and hopfully land myself a job that had a secretary, but I wasn’t it! I saw the the next step looming for me but those sad faces at the office. I was shocked when they threw me a party and gave me gifts and hugged me goodbye. All these years later, I understand why. They didn’t like change and certainly they appreciated my “can do, will do it now” attitude. I made their job easier. I was their support. Their day was better because I was there and they didn’t want to see me go.
So, how does this bring me back to my title, “is it me or is the rest of the world crazy?”. I’m a “think of it today, get it done tomorrow” person but fast forward 26 years and I’m now the boss. Imagine working for someone who always wants to change things? Always has new ideas, some that take thought and others that take elbow grease. I feel bad for them but actually, I feel worse for myself. How exhausting it is for every minor thing to be a battle but the last time I check it is my signature on those paychecks. If I want something done, sure I can do it myself but is that what I went into business for myself for? What is the purpose of having 20 employees if I’m still the one cleaning the bathroom? I have bigger, more important things to work on. When you put it like that it makes sense, huh? I don’t think Donald Trump cleans the bathroom but by golly, if he walks into one of his buildings and notices it dirty he’s going to get it cleaned. Does that make him a nag? Maybe, but that time I checked I did not go into business for myself to be a nag. I went in thinking I would build something great and I would empower people to help me make it great. Somewhere along the line, I’ve become a nag.

Case in point. Almost 2 years ago I brought on a young guy who was going to be one of those employees that helps you get stuff done. One of my first ideas for him was for him to brainstorm how we could make an aging, dated looking cooler in one of our shops look a bit more hip. A bit more fresh and new. Well, I posed the question and what happened? Well, nothing actually. I know if he reads this he is going to cringe but nothing happened. I nagged about it, I asked a few other people and when all was said and done I gave up. I let it go. About a month ago, I again posed the question. How can we make this now even more outdated cooler look hip, fresh and clean. I gently reminded him that this was a project that I had asked him to make happen almost 2 years ago. Funny, but he did not remember that. Unfortunately, I forget nothing. Another trait my employees (and my husband) wish I did not possess. Ok, so I bug him, I bug others and a week later, the outside of my old, dated cooler, has a coat of fresh paint!! It looks fantastic, so much so my husband is inspired to have us spend some money for a new floor around this cooler. “We should have done this years ago”, he exclaims. Hm. My blood runs cold. If anyone had not seen me as a nag 2 years ago I would have had my fresh, hip cooler two years ago. Funny how everyone sweeps in at the end and says “Yeah, this looks fabulous, look at me, I did this”. That’s ok, I don’t need the glory, I truly just want it to get done.

So is it me or is the rest of the world crazy? Yeah, I’m crazy and I’m a do-er. I get things done and it’s one of the things that has always made me great, made me successful. Am I going to change? Probably not but perhaps it is time to change some of those around me. I’m not crazy about my role of nag. It’s degrading, unhealthy and down right exhausting. I might not need to change. Perhaps it’s time to change those around me and this time, I’m the boss. Hm, maybe that’s what Donald Trump does, you get the vision or you get out. Food for thought.
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