Who I am...

I was reading a post on Penelope Trunks The Brazen Careerist about dealing with social awkwardness at work. In reading this, it was as if she had been writing about me. That is because I have always had social skill issues in dealing with people, in and out of the work place. It contributed to the down fall of my marriage (which has rebounded). It has contributed to lost friendships and possible employment opportunities. To pull a quote from her, "I don't do office politics", is exactly how I feel. I have no use for them. Or I didn't until yesterday. For the past two days I have been working on a report detailing the items on my warranty schedule that are not paid for one of my stores. It seems that there has been a little battle going on between the dealer GM and the Director over all of the service and parts departments. Blame for claims over 30 days that have not or cannot be paid is being directed all over the place, including at me. Upon completion of the report I created the journal vouchers for items that were to be charged off. The Director had instructed me to call the GM so that we could go over the items and have him sign them. This is something I avoid like the plague as I try to stay as distant from management as I can. I always felt that if I just did my job and avoided people I would be recongnized for my work instead of for my social interaction. I am finding out that doing good work is only part of it. Due to my extreme insecurities I contact with people. So when I was told to go over these items with the GM I told the manager directly over my department that I really didn't think I would do that, I would just let him do that. After some thought, I decided to become involved in the meeting with the GM. I am thankful I did. Because of animosity built up between the mgr and GM, I actually was the more calm and composed person to explain the issues to the GM. I don't like office politics but I must at least become socially involved in the processes of the deparments I work for if I am to successfully move to another level. I had a manager tell me over 15 years ago that it was my attitude that would hold me back. And he was right. I work hard, do a very good job but by continually being brash and obnoxious, I do not make the right impression for advancement. I have cultivated such a persona that I get exactly what I wanted, that is to be left completely alone. No matter how well you perform your job, who wants to put a crabass jerk in a position to make decisions, especially decisions where a large amount of the company's money is in the balance. Bless my Dad, I love him to death, but when I was a boy, he used to tell me "I can be finished with ___ while you are still thinking about it". This is true, but it did not teach me anything to just be a helper. I needed to "do" the work. I became my Dad at work because I kept taking on more and more responsibility. I thought the more I could do, the more job security I would have. I also refused to delegate or teach as I beleived this would only lead to my downfall. What if that person became better than me at my own job? I have learned the flaw in this thinking due to the fact that if you take on too much, you will not perform at a high level. What I am trying to say is, it is better to do a smaller amount of work with a high level of accuracy than to do too much and all of it suffers. I am now training someone to do exactly what I do, and if she becomes better than me, it just means I was a good teacher, not an inadequate administrator. All of this comes back to my lack of confidence in myself, something that has been with me all my life. Many of us are not part of the "in" crowd during our formative years but many leave that behind. For whatever reason I was not able to do that. I surrounded myself with people that I wanted to be accepted by, instead of accepting the people that wanted to be around me. I never cared about my appearance or how my clothes fit me. I felt that if someone judged me on that front, they were not someone I wanted to know. But I see flaws in that, as I finally learned that it is not your physical appearance that people see, it is the illusion of your physical appearance. Very few people, even the good looking people, have perfect bodies. But it is the people that take the time to where good clothes that fit right, have good hygiene, keep their hair cut properly, that get taken seriously. I have watched as overweight men have been called "hot" or "handsome" because of the way they carried themselves or their dress. It is because they are confident on the inside that allows them to look good on the outside. As I left childhood behind, I continually created an atmosphere of me against the world, spirally down until I hit bottom, which is when my wife sent me away. Since that time 3 1/2 years ago I have continually searched myself to learn more. But now I seem to have finally reached a point where, instead of insisting I do this myself, I seek out others, learn from them, accept that it is ok to have to listen to someone else. I beleive it was fate that I came across Penelope Trunk's writing as for some reason, her words come across as if they were meant for me. She has a way of saying and teaching without having a superior attitude. Because of my insecurities I have always been weighed down by that chip on my shoulder, the one that said I was not good enough for anything. I hope I do not offend her by what I say here, I just know she is doing for me right now what Dr. Phil's book did for me 3 years ago. Helping me find my way. Now that I know who I am, I am learning what I must do to succeed.

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