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Monday, May 25, 2009

Inner Critics Last Stand

There has been a disturbance in the force growing for sometime now. At first it was this vague sense of not rightness similar to the confusion I experience trying to figure out just when democratic meant big government. When I was a girl Dad said the Republicans wanted all our money, to tell us what to do and when, while receiving the reverence the Pharaohs enjoyed (read exploited). Now it is the Dems that seem to advocate some kind of anti-us-ism. I don't know when it changed. But it did. And, no, that's not what this post is about. That is just a sample of what I mean by things are different. The weirdest part is that everything I watch and the conversations I have seem to indicate that it has always been that way. Disturbance in the Force kinda stuff. But recently, in regard to work, that vague and unidentifiable not right has grown into this nebulous, semi-formed portend that keeps me up at night.

It began with a partial meltdown at the end of last Summer which left me feeling very "Chernobly" toward two guest workers. I couldn't quite get back to my initial performance levels and endured less than direct comments indicating that others had noticed the change in me. So I spent most of the Fall wondering when I would get fired, hoping to last as long as the Christmas party. In my short 39 years it would have been only the second work holiday party I would have attended. I did not want to miss it. I went. I lasted through the Winter and to present, ever wondering when would be my last day. Yes, my inner critic is horribly, terribly antagonistic toward my self.

My inner boss is a short-tempered, ill-mannered, sharp-tongued and super critical Ogre (no offense to Ogres, real or imagined) who likes to make sure I feel as good about my self as a wart on Quasimodo's little toe. The IB likes to pile more work on my shoulders than an anti-grav platform could handle. Not only does he remind me that I am the Exec Housekeeper's Number One, but that because I am in the building I should be expected to perform Geordies, Worfs, Beverlys, Keikos, Miles', Data's, Guinan's and Wesley's jobs. Instead of telling that imperious, flying monkey's arse to shut up and go home, I shut up and do as much as I can do. The IB can not be appeased nor can one illicit an "atta-girl" from him. I can, however get a thanks and an atta-girl from just about everyone else. Obviously that's why I do it. Besides, it needs to be done and most of this Winter there really was no one else there to do it.But I have to tell you, it wears you down. And the IB is such a tyrant that you never believe anyone when they tell you that you are doing a good job. Because the IB is always willing to bust your ass back to less than acting ensign, you are always anticipating getting fired.

That isn't to say that I didn't come close. I did. It was my own fault and totally an act directed against that Inner Boss that no one else has met. So it looked a lot like my own personal HMS Bounty... nearly walked the plank on that one too. But Brad saved my job and things smoothed out. But I never did let go of the idea of being fired. With the recent incidents of insubordination and the crack down from two weeks ago, our Supreme Commander's displeasure over our excellent (and higher-than-normal) score for the last inspection, things have been pretty shaky. To support that sense of impending doom, we had a shake up in scheduling. There has also been the added stress of trying to house another management team in our hotel while we are finishing the other one. In all of this chaos the nebulous portend began to coalesce into something more definable. I still couldn't see its final shape. That it was taking shape before my eyes was scary enough. Then I went to get my paycheck on Friday.

It was like any other Friday in which I would have picked up my paycheck. Except that I had it off because of the scheduling shake up. I chatted with the Exec Housekeeper about Saturday's potential to suck the life out of us, chatted with front desk about something truly inane and geeky and was getting ready to leave when I heard, "Hey, I need to talk to you. Come with me." Gulp.

How bad is it when you can't have a conversation in same room as people who know you better than a full-blooded Betazoid has any right to know anyone? Gulp. Yikes. Doom.

I wish I could remember the exact conversation. All I clearly remember hearing is "your personality", "ability to talk to anyone about anything", "do anything we ask on short notice" and "We really need someone like that at Cambria." Yes, knocked over with a feather. Yes, stunned is an understatement. But holy Carpe! Did she say "My personality?" She did! She said it was my personality! Holy Carpe! Holy Carpe! Holy Carpe! In a more sedate inner voice I did say, "It's good to be a Geek." So I pretty much floated home. Floated into work on Saturday. And then I met the faces of those I was betraying by accepting this hugely cool thing.

As Linda, our Exec. Housekeeper, was telling the new trainees who was going where I came around the corner. She teased me by calling me a traitor. And then... a pretty weird looking shoe dropped. "I've known you were going since January." What? Since January? "You don't know how many times I wanted to tell you..."
Yes, I've been considered for this new position since January. They were only waiting to be close enough to opening day to justify bringing me over.

I shouldn't have to tell you this; you've been dying to get to the end of this post to tell me yourselves that my IB is a douche that needs to hit the trash bin. But, I will tell you anyway. That inner critic, mine happens to be a slave-driving Inner Boss, needs to be shut up. Not only does it get in the way of taking chances and putting some of that really awesome stuff out there that each of us produces, it, more than anything else IS KILLING YOU! ME! ALL OF US! On my part, I consider this Winter of elevated stress, deflated enthusiasm and persistent warfare against the temptation t o hibernate an EPIC FAIL.

How many times does Uncle Willie have to write a post condemning our inner critics/bosses/tyrannical Ogres before I listen to him? How many writers, artists and entrepreneurs have to tell me to get my head out of and keep it out of my ass before I will do as directed? How many times do I have to NOT fail to know that I DON'T always suck? People, our inner tyrants do not have enough d20s to even touch our armor class when it comes to keeping us down. We are just giving in to fear and failure because we feel bad about something associated with success. How many times does Uncle Willie have to tell me that too?

This was an unexpected surprise, delightful and relieving for the simple fact that something cool and wonderful that will totally exploit (in the best sense of the word) every one of my talents (okay, not the writing or the artwork) was thrown in my path. I didn't know such a thing was possible or I would have asked to go a long time ago. But this is the last time that I let that tyrannical critic make me feel that bad for anything.

I don't expect to be the next Martha Stewart, Bill Gates or Donald Trump. I don't need more money than Warren Buffet to make my life work for me. I only need to do what my soul compels me to do, live a sustainable life and spread some joy around. I need to not care about status. I need to shut up that inner Ogre and ignore the outer ones that can not say anything constructive or make helpful suggestions.

So says Uncle Willie, so say we all.

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