How You Walk into Work is How You Walk into Life
This mantra came to me as I was talking to my previous boss about work ethics as we sat hunched between a half a million dollars worth of eyewear. The words have been repeatedly playing in my mind as I explore a new job that has shed light on the different types of people at my office and the variety of attitudes towards the daily grind.
First off, I am new to this corporate office life that began 6 months ago. Accustomed to retail and restaurants, I am well versed in the constant adjustment to each individual client and customer needs. It takes patience and sometimes a fake smile, rarely an edge of attitude and too often than not a great conversation stems from these relationships over a sale, an appetizer or a shot of bourbon. I miss the dialogue between customers because overall I have noticed that there is more regard for the person who is helping you and a concern from the employee who is there to listen and assist. Office life proves a different dialogue. Coworkers in the office space are sometimes seen as competition, a nuisance; someone you simply have to deal with. Client relationships allow you to put your best foot forward and I am missing that in my corporate bubble. Not that I don’t work with some incredibly hard working and considerate people but there are a few who show disregard for their work and their co-workers. Some relationships leave me dissuaded by the way people encounter work life. To me, it is a reflection of how they walk through their lives on and off the clock. After all, life outside does not stop when office life begins. Your attitude in which you greet the day is a clear reflection of your approach to life. Bitter stank on a Tuesday morning is a gnarled bite into the life you are living. I have had to consistently learn how to relate to co-workers who cannot seem to find the balance between personal and work life, which I believe are symbiotic. It is one thing to carry the temporary pain and trauma on the folded cuffs of your shirt as you navigate the day’s work flow but it is another thing to approach the work space as a group therapy session, a way to ricocheted your external dramas against sound boards that happen to be humans and who might possibly not want to take on the weight of that persons ‘stuff.’
Despite my frustrations with the politics and logistics of a growing digital company, I choose to be there, we all do. I will continue to pursue my goals and make the most out of this position, even on the days where the salt air pulls me from my office chair and creative impulses have me pining for uninhibited self expression. There are days where I am satisfied on the days experience and times where I doubt all of it. But life is too short to be quittin' on myself. To be hatin on the choices I make. If I get up and keep doing my grind and it isn't fueling the soul, or expanding my abilities, I try to find creative ways to do so or I move toward a new direction, the planting of seeds to attract a new opportunity. With time and allowance, every thing is impermanent. I can be bitter at-least one day out of the work week, oh yes, I am actually the funniest when I am being a cynical and judgmental foul mouthed girl. A proprietor of wit, if you will. The one-liners flow as I critique the world around. It is easier to be critical. I really think it takes practice to aim sight at the silver lining, to soak in it, to talk about it, to become the positive aspects you sometimes have to search for. It is this practice I continue to explore with a fierce grin and many times a forced laugh to pull my shit together and take everything a little less personally, both on the clock, and off.
Allen and I agree on the commitment to one's current situation, the importance of taking pride in the tasks that may sometimes seem beneath us. Well, these are our lives, these tasks add up on our timeline of life and we are them, we become them, and this shift in perspective towards our work, whether we are passionate or pissed off is what defines us for the future. This shift can even bring us some patience in the moment, a necessity if you ask me.
Allen leans into the glass and wood lined shelves, his reflection spins into the plethora of mirrors and is tossed towards the dusk light outside. We settle on this topic for a moment longer, 2 decades split the age between him and I. This attitude of gratitude we observe is applicable for every stage in life.
On my way home from work everyday I see a man. Dan stands on the corner of PCH and Heathercliff. An aged vet with sun spots and tortoise rimmed glasses. A sign, that reads, 'Vet, Anything helps.' A humble statement, something I cannot relate to. What would really help Dan? A full mouth of teeth to eat this overpriced turkey sandwich and peach I brought him? Would it help if he had someone along his path who had stepped down to pick him up when he fell over and over again? Would it take a check from the government and a home and a job for him to build a future? I don't know his story. Maybe someday I will.
I work with people who have been allowed to further themselves, they have either reached for their opportunities or been given the chance to prove themselves in a growing company. I fall somewhere in between.
I watch him shuffle from one foot to the other and with a slight tilt in his baseball cap I see the boy in him, in his dirty hands and beneath the smell of grease and concrete. My drive by Dan everyday reminds me that any of us could be on that corner strapped for cash and blinded by sunlight or we could be in our climate controlled offices, with lunch at the swipe of a card and the chance to educate ourselves at the many corners of our work days.
I am pursuing passion in the tasks that might possibly be small blessings, taking pride in the technicalities of my challenges and frustrations. Through seemingly small tasks our lives are built, how we walk into work is how we walk through our lives.