Sunday, June 19, 2005

camera one, camera two

It is all about perspective.

Funny how when you've got something on your mind, every movie and TV show focuses on the same issue. I'm a big fan of Queer as Folk, and good ole' Brian is having a problem coming to terms with how our roles in life change. As much as you feel you stay the same, people change, or as you change people look at you differently. Over the weekend I read The Devil Wears Prada, where a girl discovers that giving up her life in the short term to win a better future in fact puts her future in peril.

I love all the experiences I have had in my life. One of the things I love most is being the kind of person who has had all of those experiences. I had fun on Friday, and then the rest of the weekend I have spent on the couch in hiding, living vicariously through fiction. This much media consumption is not so new to me, I have always been a reader and a movie lover. What is different is I could not stop thinking that I was dreading my current choice in life. My new job.

It only took about forty hours, but suddenly at I looked at my situation in a whole new way. Why, for heaven's sake, would I be dreading becoming a full-fledged manager? I am great with people. I love change, I adore challenge. If anything, I am better at working with people that I am at working with systems.

My whole reluctance boils down to a conversation that came up with my promotion. I have heard it before, but this last time it really stuck in my craw. I was told that I couldn’t be fun anymore, that it is lonely at the top and now I am there. That I have to watch everything I do, everything I say. I have to become a machine. A robot. An automaton.

There is something you have to realize. At work, I hold back a lot now. Yes, I do it to protect my superiors, I suppose in some ways I do it to protect myself. But mainly it is because my words hold more weight now; a casual comment could really hurt someone's feelings. Friendly conversations are kept PC, and I try to be encouraging. Work related conversations are very carefully planned out, even rehearsed in some instances. I have put a lot of thought and effort into who I am at work.

But I cannot become a new person. Even more importantly, I don't want to.

When people meet me, they always guess my age to be within three years of theirs. My boss likes me because she thinks she is like me. Most people see themselves in me, and therefore also like me. I enjoy relating to them. Thus, by nature, my boss thinks that my easiest road to success is to be a clone of her, which she honestly believes is not a leap.

My newest challenge is to prove that I, rockstar, can be a manager. If they felt they could promote me and then change me, it is unreasonable. The beauty is, my boss is flawed, mainly in the social area. It should not be too hard to prove my competence.

I did not move to New York to become someone different, to fit into someone else's mold. No wonder I have been feeling so weird about this promotion. I have not felt this much pressure to conform in four and a half years.

Fortunately I have thirty years of experience in recognizing my individuality as a blessing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It will bring some changes, but as you say, you are great with changes! You are lucky in that you have already made your friends and that most of them don't work for the company anymore, so you won't have too many conflicts on that end. The boss is always thinking about the long term and I'm sure her next plan has you becoming CEO with mousy brown hair and below the knee skirts.....but I'm sure you'll be well on your way to the "next thing" ...medical school within the next 5 to 10 years. In the meantime, your style and talents will continue to win you more success and benefit everybody you lead. I encourage you to remain true to yourself as much as you can. I only wish you had better people to lead though! That's always been the trouble with that spot!!!!!! Go get'em tigress! Enjoy the cash and privileges of your new spot. You've certainly earned them! Stay GOLD! So far you've come in such a short time. You should be tremendously proud. Class reunion coming up by any chance?!? You've got a lot to brag about!