Thursday, July 14, 2011

life lessons from me and conan

Well I've not been posting much of late. I'm going through work hell right now. Its kinda absorbing everything in me. I got a few really negative anonymous pieces of feedback during our semi-annual review process. Its been really damaging and turned my world upside down. Luckily my boss and team have nothing but positive reviews of me and the majority of the company feels the same way. My boss and I were able to sift through the comments and work to find the constructive criticism so I can continue to progress. And in the meantime, those people who gave me such poor reviews will hopefully see my efforts and things will get better. Or even better - they'll actually come and approach me about their concerns instead of resorting to putting it on a review. But working through this stuff is easier said than done. And I've had to really work through my hurt feelings and my insecurities about the positive relationships I thought I had with every person I work with. Its hard not to look at everyone suspiciously after receiving such harsh feedback like that and wonder how they might really feel about me. In five years, I've never gotten anything but perfect scores on my reviews and I've always prided myself on being a fabulous employee. These last few weeks really threw me off of my game and for the first time in five years, I haven't enjoyed work. I think I've pretty much trudged through all the crap now and I'm starting to feel better about things. Management listened to my concerns about the feedback process and are working to improve the review process as a result. So hopefully things will get better.

All of this stuff really got me thinking about failure.
For the first time I started to really consider what failure means to me and if I had somehow failed my boss or my company or even myself. I thought about the extraordinarily delicate balance I have between work and church and marriage and everything else and how my marriage and work have always been so solid that I've never had to worry about them. I could worry about everything else. But worrying about work so much made me bring it home with me. And bringing it home with me caused strain on my relationship with my husband. I started to feel what it must be like for people who bring the baggage of work home with them all the time and I worried about failing at all of it. What if one thing snowballs into another and I can't get the pieces untangled enough to stop the momentous fall?
But this is what I came to in the end: sometimes we juggle everything and something happens and we can still somehow juggle everything and fix it simultaneously. And sometimes, we juggle everything and something happens and it all just falls down. And we sit down and cry and stare at all the broken pieces and think that we'll never get it all put back together. But, somehow, amazingly, we do. And sometimes, we just move on and juggle new pieces or less pieces.
This all probably seems really elementary to you because you are so dang smart, but for me it was the first time where I think I allowed myself to let everything fall. And you know what? I didn't even get a crack or a dent in my marriage. And my other obligations just waited on the floor patiently for me to pick them back up when I was ready. And work let me take my time and put the pieces back one by one.
It made me think of this awesome commencement speech I heard from Conan O'Brien, whom I love dearly, in which he imparts some life lessons. Its brilliant. Its long. Its 24 min long. Its worth every minute. The first 15 min or so are funny and lightly interspersed with tidbits of wisdom but by the end, ugh, man...its just really amazing.

So here it is:

Work hard. Be kind. And amazing things will happen.


Tanya said...

It's really awesome, and thanks for sharing it! Have you seen "Can't Stop?" It's been on my to-do list for the past two weeks. Going to watch it soon. By the way, I had a couple not so great things happen at a former job in the oil industry which made me look pretty hard at myself - and although I felt sort of like a victim, I wasn't crazy about everything I saw in me. I do think it has made me a better employee regardless of where I work today.

Leah Stone said...

In reference your your recent comment on my blog post here
I have written this response "Aren't you grateful that doug's parents did the hibbidy? Just a fact of life."