I was having a rough day at work, at the time I was doing some work related to marketing for magazine space. The magazine was a quarterly document and it solely depended on people or organizations placing advertisements for its survival. Marketing not being my area of expertise it posed a challenge. For months I had been trying to convince the relevant organizations to place an advert but they all gave excuses like they did not budget for it or they do not want to invest in a new magazine yet.
I had visited at least thirty organizations and none of them gave me positive feedback, some of them did not give any feedback at all. All this time my executive director is looking at me and wondering what I am doing in the organization. She had recently changed our contracts to performance based. This had been faced with debate and fights with all of us asking questions like, what if you worked hard and put all your energy into a project but things did not work out? It was a challenging contract because it stated that one will not get paid if they do not bring business to the company. The same contract stated that one should be in the office for eight hours a day including Saturdays. I constantly asked myself how I would survive without the certainty of getting paid. As we all know it is possible to exert ourselves into a project but it fails.
These few months I had been extremely stressed thinking I would not be paid at all considering all my clients had negative feedback. Naturally as human beings we get worked up when we are short of money and are unsure of our next meal or house rent. I was in that exact situation and Christmas was also around the corner. I was constantly getting called by the landlord and I did not even have money to get me to the office.
I talked to my cousin about it and she told me that sometimes quitting is not such a bad thing. I however, wanted a sense of security. I was afraid of how things will work out for me or if I would turn out to be homeless and penniless. With that thought in my mind, I kept at it, but things did not work out.
My colleague who was in the position before me was one of the best marketers in the organization. The job came to her naturally. She did not struggle at all and I was slightly jealous at her effortless success. She was however extremely rude and would make everything about her. If she needed something from the office everyone else had to stop what they were doing to cater to her needs. She would rant to the boss about everyone and would say everyone was useless and that she did not understand why we were employed in the first place. One of my colleagues noticed my struggle and said, maybe you need to have an attitude like Laura. That was not an option, she was always alone. I always wondered if she had friends but I never dared to ask. One day we came to the office and she was not there. The executive director called a meeting and told us she had to let her go because she was extremely rude and inconsiderate. Pointing at me she said, you will be taking up the position Laura has left, you are good at communication and this should not be too difficult. She couldnt have been any wrong than that.
Laura was the master in her art, a head chef in her kitchen and the best of all in her field. The worst thing was the constant comparison to another person who had more than ten years of experience while this was only my first month.
I started losing sleep and stayed up late thinking of what I could do to improve the situation. I went online to look for other marketing strategies but nothing seemed to be working. Another human weakness I have come to notice is that when a challenge imposes and a solution does not seem to be found, we tend to feel sorry for ourselves and this leads to neglecting the very thing we are seeking answers to. I lagged, I stopped pushing on and just let myself go. I was the early bird in the office and was always there by at least 7am but after the frustration I would get to the office way past 10am with a lousy or no explanation at all.
My executive director left for Minneapolis one time to train on Integrity and good governance. This means I was left with no watch dog. At first I thought this was the perfect period of time to restructure, reboot and re-strategize, but this was not the case. I did not find any motivation to continue with the job at all. I talked to my best friend about how I considered quitting. She told me it was not in my place to quit if the boss did not fire me. I was slightly confused considering I wanted to quit to save myself the agony of being fired. She thought it would be wrong to quit when the boss would have given me another chance.
On this particular day my frustration had hit the ultimate infinity point. I sat on my desk and did a small research on how to draft a resignation letter. I had decided it was time to move on. As I am placing my address on a new word document I hear my name from across the office where my executive directors office is. I pause, I feel the cold shrill on my spine. My colleague touches my shoulder, "The boss is calling you." I stood up from my seat and was heading to her office when I suddenly left to go to the washroom. I remembered how as a child when my mother called me using a certain name I was in trouble. In my heart I knew this was it. Did she know I was drafting my resignation letter? Did she find out how unhappy I was? Only one way to find out, get into her office.
I went straight to her office and asked, "You called?" "Yes, please have a seat," she responded. Her desk phone rang. The 20 seconds she was talking on phone were the longest I had ever encountered. Then it came like a drum in my ear drum being hit by a scout who had just learnt how to play, "I dont think this is your kind of job, some of these things work for some people and they dont work for others, I am giving you until end of this month to look for something else to do, otherwise please hand over your work to William."
I thought I would be devastated but I wasn't. I thought this was an opportunity to find my own strength, somewhere. I could be the winner without too much struggle. This experience gave me the chance to be the best I can be in my own field.
Sometimes quitting or getting fired is not the worst thing that can happen.
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