Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Meaningful Encounter With a Stranger

Today I had a stranger approach me as I was finishing up in one of my accounts.  Well, to tell you the truth this happens all the time, but today's experience was a little different.  It wasn't one of my male stalkers offering their "business" card and asking me to call them for a "house inspection," or a Hell's Angel offering to whisk me away on a "romantic" adventure, or some misguided male trying to "help" me with my job so he could turn around and tell me that "damn, you're beautiful."  No, it was a woman who had an obviously strong urge to ask a few questions.  It surprised me at first that she felt so compelled to stop and ask a complete stranger about the company they work for.  At first I thought that maybe she wanted to know more about the organization and the job because she (or someone she knew) might be interested in coming on board.  Within a few sentences, I realized that she was looking for peace of mind and some sense of validation.

She told me that her husband had briefly worked for the company and had felt mistreated, unprepared to perform the required duties of the job, and disillusioned with the promise of the alluring world he thought he was stepping into.  She told me about how her husband's voice about valid concerns wasn't listened to, how he worked from 4 am to 9 pm sometimes to get the job done, how he lost a bunch of weight over the stress, and how he was expected to do things that he had never been taught.  She also told me how he had eventually just walked out and told them "they could have their job."  This woman wanted to know if the entire company was that way or if it was just all in her husband's head.  Luckily, this woman approached someone who would be completely honest with her-no spin.  Funny how the universe randomly brings the right people together sometimes, isn't it?

So, I told her a little bit of my story and of my co-workers' stories.  Yes, this company treats you like a number, voicing your concerns and opinions is typically pointless because it goes in one ear and out the other, the expectations are borderline impossible to impossible at times, they always find something wrong no matter what you do or don't do, how you sometimes have to go to extreme measures to prove yourself (like taking 181 pictures of your market and sending them to HR), and how the way they treat employees is a company culture issue (i.e. don't take it personally).  I told her that I've had a few other job offers.  One they talked me out of taking and being the too forgiving/understanding HSP that I am, I tried to give the organization a second chance.  The other was with a company that wasn't financially stable at the time, so I passed.  I also told her that I'm working on leaving soon-for real this time.

She expressed her appreciation and I could see that there was some relief in her eyes and her spirit.  She now knew that it wasn't anything that her husband did or didn't do.  It wasn't his fault.  He made the right decision by walking off the job.  I told her that happens a lot and that he shouldn't feel guilty.  At least he had the courage to do what those of us who are still working there don't.  Before she drove off, she said "I feel so sorry for you guys.  Good luck sweetheart."

I smiled, thinking this must be another one of those random coincidences.  Both for me and for her.  It reminded me that it's part of the reason why I'm here-to help shed light on some of my company's shadows.  At least I was able to help someone today and make a difference in the way they think about themselves.  It's also another validation of what I've felt about my company for years (not that I need anymore at this point) and that I need to truly follow through this time with my intentions to leave.  I'm not meant to stay here forever, like I initially thought I was.  And maybe, just maybe, I need to simply also just let go.      

1 comment:

  1. It is always such a blessing when something like this happens...Helen your writing is always so inspiring! I love your new layout! :-)