Every weekend I think to myself; this is it, I'm not going to sit around the house. I'm going to get out and do something fun. More often than not I sit at home struggling with my attempts to process whatever went down at work during the previous week. This past weekend I went to the bridal shower I had been invited to; but I left early, before a single present was unwrapped. I missed work, but I didn't go in, and I'm proud of myself for that. Periodically I download free books and read them. This past weekend I found an email I had overlooked earlier, and read the short PDF files. I took some screen shots and started thinking about how to put what the book recommended into practice. According to the author, people have three primary relationship needs; I feel as if there are more, but whatever. He lists security, connection, and status as the three things people need, and he also lists the positive and negative sides which I liked. Connection is a need; but taken to an extreme it means that someone can be clingy, needy, or desperate.
His theory is that you can transform your life by identifying which need someone might be trying to meet during an interaction, or a cooling off, he doesn't say that, but I can see it and extrapolate. Another article I read talked about embracing your femininity as a woman. Since this is an area where I tend to struggle, I thought this might help me. The blog post stated that being feminine is all about receiving. Not that you can't do things yourself, but allowing others to help and (adore?), I can't remember the exact words, but basically if a certain person is hard wired to protect and provide, and you're doing that all on your own, there isn't a role for them, or it is diminished and they will seek someone else. I tried it at work today. Last week a guy had offered me a pack of gum when I asked for a piece. Initially I refused, but today I was bold and asked for another piece, and then the pack. He gave it to me and it was really something when I thought about how that made me feel. I can't remember if I wrote about this yet; but another guy has a private art gallery of pieces I did. Now the pieces that had no home previously are safe in his work area.
I was in such a good mood when I felt about all the things I was receiving from other people. It lasted until lunch time and then I forgot and dropped back into my old ways for a while. A customer that has really been on my nerves left me a voicemail and instead of dealing with him, I wrote the sales person a note and left it on his desk. I apologized for not being able to arrange an appointment for the customer, mentioned that I was sorry and felt bad, and followed up with him later. It was one of the best things I could have done for myself and I was inordinately proud of the moment. I didn't need help exactly, I needed a break from the dirty work I do on a daily basis. Being able to say no to even one thing I did not want to do was so empowering I wanted to hug myself and cry. Over the weekend I wrote a bunch of letters. The unsent letter is a favorite tactic of mine and really helps me in numerous ways. I could have handed those letters out, but I chose to keep them to myself for reasons I am not sure I fully understand.
Friday afternoon I had some dialogue with a customer who had a flat tire. Apparently he took his bad mood out on the receptionist and I didn't like hearing that. I set up an appointment, but asked if we could touch base today to make sure that the tire was actually in before his appointment. Normally I receive most of the tickets from the parts department. I walked away from my desk, I do this a lot, and I came back to a vibrantly colored note that was sticking to my computer monitor. It had the date, the time, including AM, and the note was actually signed. This is significant to me for a couple of reasons. At work I write in a notebook. Everyone knows it is mine mainly because it has my name and the date I started it on the front, and my handwriting is fairly distinctive. When I take notes I write the date on the far right, and go down the left margin with the time of the call. Then I write down whatever I feel may be relevant or necessary. I staple notes to the opposite side of the page, and stick notes in there if I have those.
Essentially you can go back and get a decent idea of what was discussed during a call, you can see what date and time the appointment will be for, and you can go back to see if maybe I have an alternate number in case we are unable to reach someone using the one we have on file. Friday afternoon this guy was pissed after he received his bill. He said that I had quoted him numbers that were several hundred dollars less than the bill he was being asked to pay. I was so upset after hearing this. I couldn't find the paper I know I had somewhere so I wondered if I had accidentally gotten it mixed up with something else because I couldn't imagine tossing it. Today it fell out while I was handling other papers. When we took a closer look we discovered that he has two vehicles, he was given pricing from me for the smaller one, but the one he brought in was the larger of the two, and the brake pricing was actually correct. The guy got a hell of a deal on those stupid brakes and I hope he did feel a bit guilty and remorseful after I called to explain the discrepancy.
Anyways, my point about the note that was left for me is someone went to a great deal of trouble to give me a present that may not have seemed like much to anyone else. That guy does not take notes the way that I do, and I was touched that he went out of his way to imitate my style as well as let me know that the tire I had ordered had arrived earlier than expected. I took his note; pulled out a complementary colored pad of paper, stuck his note on top of it, and walked my reply back to him. His department was full of people when I arrived, but I didn't need to talk to anyone that time. I stuck the note on top of his phone, and I hope it made him feel as good as seeing his note made me feel. I told him that I had called the customer to let them know how incredibly amazing the note leaver was; and added his role in the organization. Then I signed it; XoXo, J. Work is such a strange place at times. But now that I am better able to see what needs others have, and whether I should be trying to meet them, or examining what needs of my own I may be ignoring or neglecting, it was an interesting day.
I was at my desk when I saw someone else enter our department. A woman had come in with a punctured tire; and she was given several options. Patch the tire, buy two new ones, do her brakes, or wait because they didn't need to be done right that day. I admire humility and honesty in others. Not everyone there is someone I respect and admire, to hear someone sacrifice their own paycheck so a woman would have choices, I felt like crying it was so therapeutic and healing. Earlier in the day I was talking to a guy who has two young children. I told him I would watch them if he and his wife wanted to go get a couples massage or go out on a date. He said that he felt like he would be a burden to others, and that he had people who lived closer that would take his daughters. When I pointed out that I had offered, and that he wasn't taking these people up on their offer, he kind of shrugged it off. I told him that I hadn't done things like that and my marriage had suffered for it. Then I told him that if a daughter of mine needed help, brakes, or some other car repair, he would help me and her, and not think twice about it.
After I hugged the guy who had given the woman choices another guy said something about it and I told him I had given him plenty of hugs. I was seriously annoyed by the comment, one thing that bothers me is when people get greedy, or feel like other people receiving things somehow short changes them. I made a comment, and I'm glad that I did. I can hug whoever I want at work, and I will continue to be grateful to people who are that honest and giving. That is the kind of behavior that I feel should be rewarded in my book; I can't pay people more, but I can make them feel rewarded if affection and my recognition mean anything to them. Building a team takes time. People have bad days, bad moods, bad habits; and I do too, but we are growing together instead of drifting apart and it is so cool to see walls come down, guarded looks turn into smiles, and be on the receiving end of packs of gum and notes that seem to be completely factual in nature, but are cleverly done so as to make me feel special. Sometimes people are so breathtakingly brilliant; and sometimes that person is me. It's a role I cherish, and I'm beyond grateful to them for this opportunity.
P.S. I did a lot of soul searching this weekend. I have a deep need for connection; I don't need physical safety, but psychological safety is important to me, and I guess I like status and recognition a lot more than I realized. I chatted with a woman who said she has always wanted to learn how to paint; she likes the color mint and she is so breathtakingly gorgeous that it's hard to believe she is a real person. I was pretty stressed, but I also recognized that and took a break. I did a lot of things that I'm very proud of, and I'm glad I stayed up to write this even though I am so tired it seems as if I have never had a good night's sleep which isn't true at all. Looking forward to tomorrow and more practicing. I can hardly wait to see what the day holds...