I attended a training session on how to make myself marketable for a new job venture at the university that I’ve worked at for the last 25 years. Basically, the ‘instructor’ wanted me to market myself as a product. Like a gym shoe made by Nike. A car for Motor Company. Or a new formula type of soda made by Coca Cola. I was shocked. Here I am, a human, being told to liken myself to an object. As you all know, that’s not me. I am very flawed individual. I’ve shared that fact with all of you on many, many occasions.
One of the things they told us to do was change our privacy settings on Facebook. Basically hide who and what we really are. In my mind, I stomped my feet like the insolent child I am, and adamantly opposed doing so. It didn’t matter that no one in the room knew of my rebellion. I did, and that was all that mattered. I’m an author, and I have to write. I want my words read. And felt. And shared. So the setting stayed public.
At our break, I met a fellow employee that I had corresponded with over email and the phone. We hugged and laughed. And talked way too loud. We were then shushed by the ‘instructor’. I nearly lost my ever loving mind. I wanted to say ‘fuck you’, I’m talking to a human being and I don’t have to take your shit. My colleague and I stared at each other in disbelief. She shrugged her shoulders. Everything was changing around us. How we ‘marketed’ ourselves. Our jobs. Our lives. Even the interview process was going to be sterilized for us.
In retaliation to the shushing, I hugged my colleague again. Once seated, I jokingly told the ‘instructor’ we were colleagues that had never met. She looked at me coolly and said, ‘isn’t that nice.’ No smile. No warmth. Barely an acknowledgement that we were all going through incredible changes. She was a consultant and clearly didn’t give a shit. All she was focused on was getting through the workbook that we were working on.
I sat through the rest of the ‘workshop’. At the end, I silently left the conference room. Never looked up at the ‘instructor. I just kept my head down and walked out. And vowed that I would not attend another ‘class’. I did jump through the hoops of the resume and interview process. I waited patiently to find out if I’d been promoted. I guess 25 years of experience and supervising employees for 15 years results in a lateral move. I wouldn’t be supervising anyone. I couldn’t believe it! After a week of knowing my fate, I’m still struggling with the decision they made.
Now, I’m on extended sick leave until at least the middle of June. A major car accident and lengthy recovery reminded me that impulsiveness is a very, very bad thing. I know I have a job when I return. I’ll be back at my beloved faculty and staff at the SSW. For how long, I’m unsure. I’ve rediscovered yet again, that change is the only constant in our lives.
If I have to move to a new location that’s fine. It’s closer to where I live. I’ll walk to work. I can’t wait to see my colleague from the ‘workshop’ we attended. I’ll give her tons of hugs, and talk too loud. You see, these folks at my new place of employment have no idea what they’re in for when I finally settle in. No idea at all. I’m a leader, not a follower. I have big plans, and they don’t include sitting in a cubicle till I retire. I’ll do it, for the pay.
But my heart, ah yes, my heart, it will be living for another place altogether. It will be in the country on a blanket spread out in the backyard. French Bulldog lying in my lap. Pen and notebook in my hand. Flowers in my hair. And dirty bare feet. Yep, that’s where my heart will be….