I was raised to be a good Catholic girl and true to form, I readily adopted the altruistic approach to life. Turning the other cheek, putting others before myself, forgiving those who trespassed against me (so to speak). And I really believed that such behavior was the right thing to do, that putting the interests of others before my own somehow served a higher purpose.
And I carried my altruism into adulthood – still believing that others would act in kind toward me. However, recently I’ve come to realize that in fact people just think you are a doormat and have low self esteem when you act that way. Believe me, I have the battle scars to prove it.
Little did I realize that as a child I set the pattern for being continually exploited and used for the benefit of others and just could never understand why I didn’t get anywhere. And while pondering this recently I realized that I have never really tried to serve my own best interests.
Now, I don’t mean this in an arrogant or haughty way. I don’t propose that anyone, myself included walk around with the attitude that they are the best thing since smart phones. However, a good healthy dose of self value can go a long way.
If you study successful people, whether they are business magnates, inventers, artists, or celebrities you will find that they have good self esteem, understand their strengths and weaknesses but most importantly act in their own best interests. Meaning that they are motivated by what will be best for them. And if you study the average Joe, you are likely to find the opposite.
For example – how many people out there practically kill themselves for their jobs? A woman hired as a administrative assistant for example, allows her employer to exploit every ability she has (most of which were not included in the job description) all for the privilege of making $13 per hour and feeling like she was run over by a truck at the end of every week. This hypothetical woman is not only not serving her own best interests but likely also feels unappreciated, underpaid and overworked. However, none of that could have happened without her consent. And ironically, this type of scenario is probably more frequent with really capable and competent people because of course, they naturally have a larger skillset. Competent people are proactive, do not require supervision, like to learn, tend toward activities that improve their skill and abilities.
In my case, I always believed that if I showed a prospective or employer what I was capable of then he or she would naturally offer me more money and opportunities, a better office and benefits package. In reality, they just figured they were getting a better deal and only worked at extracting more work, talent, and creativity for the same bargain basement price.
In the case of clients, you at least have the option of finding better clients who are willing to pay you what you are worth – in a job not so much. An employer is always going to frame things in such a way that you will feel that they are somehow doing you a favor by providing a job to you. And that you should feel grateful for the work and allow them to extract every possible talent you possess into a benefit for them.
But you know what? You don’t have to do that. I’m not suggesting you quit your job or demand an enormous pay raise but I am suggesting you act in your own self interest.
Obviously a job is beneficial because it does provide the wherewithal to pay your rent, put gas in your car and buy food. These are good things and we all need them. However, you can have your own game plan. You can accept a job and in accepting that job determine what you are willing to exchange for that job. In other words, you don’t have to reveal every talent you possess only the ones you are required to have in order to perform your duties. Don’t offer ideas, or mention other talents unless it means you will improve your situation. Believe me, if you feel you have to prove something to your employer you are already the underdog and you will spend your nights and weekends proving just how good you are and still never get anywhere.
My new attitude is that I will work a job because it benefits me. And that I will continue to work the job until it stops benefitting me. Or I decide I will work for this employer for this length of time until I can gain the money, experience or some other benchmark to get a position that will benefit me greater. What is really amazing is the difference I feel in the adoption of this new attitude. I no longer worry about jobs or clients, or what they do or don’t think of me. I don’t worry proving anything to anyone. I simply do the work and when I’m done, I leave it there. My free time is now once again my own and I have to say I like it.
How about you? Do you serve your own best interests?
A couple of years ago I made an observation which I found startling. I worked for a couple of fellows who were very talented artistically, but where awful businessmen. The constant juggling and borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, drove me, their general manager, nuts.
I couldn’t understand how they could operate that way, much less live that way. Yet, they did and managed to pull off some very impressive things.
I also have friends who have done what I considered to be some very risky stuff and came out the other end on top. One friend in particular has become quite successful and it’s funny to me because I knew them when, so to speak and remember many times in the not too distant past when they would have been happy to be working at McDonald’s.
I became curious about this thing called success and so I started to really watch them, the boys and my friend, looking for some common denominator. One, which, apparently I lacked. I started to really listen to the things they said, how they dealt with others and there general approach to life.
What I found was that my friend and the boys and in fact, as I thought about it, anyone I knew personally who was or had been successful was ego. I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. But they all do/did have quite the ego. They all believed that they were somehow superior, better, more capable, smarter, talented (you name it) than most other people.
This really floored me. Just to realize that the difference between constantly trying and getting nowhere and succeeding and ultimately getting what you want, was about having an ego that in some cases, actually lied to you. Sometimes quite often.
I looked around a bit at other people whom I didn’t know, to see if that was the deciding factor. I certainly found many examples. Madonna is a good one. She is marginally talented – accept for her dancing which used to be pretty good, and may still be but I’m not up to date on what she’s doing these days – yet she is one of them most famous and successful women in show business. David Letterman, a very popular talk show host, who clearly has a big ego – and not that talented. On the funny scale he rates about a 3, yet he’s making a bagillion dollars a year while many of my blogging friends who are hilarious are working 9 to 5 jobs. John Grisham is a another example – his writing style actually causes me pain, but everything he writes sure do make good, formulaic movies which of course make millions of dollars.
So far, it seems to be bearing out.
But here’s the rub – what am I/we supposed to do? I even tried to sort of emulate my friend – walk with a struth and swagger, think of myself as hot shit and all I got was my little voice chastising me for being a jerk. I try to cop an attitude and people just look at me and laugh. It’s pathetic really.
Since I’ve been on this quest to get an agent and somehow manage to do the impossible and get published it’s been beating up what little ego I have. In fact, my ego is so sore that it can barely move. Yet, I know that is what I need. I need to act and believe like I’m hot shit. Be confident though nobody in the world wants to represent me or publish me. Know that they are all wrong and I am right. Quite the challenge. Possibly the impossible dream. But what’s a Irish Catholic girl from the Midwest to do?
Nope, I don’t know the answer. But I do think I’m onto something. So starting today, I will practice my affirmations, come up with ego boosting mantras and look down my nose at as many people as possible. I will act like I have a million bucks in the bank and I don’t need a thing. Act as though I am motivated by ambition alone. LOL. Think it will work?
When I was a kid, my mom used to say I always had an answer for everything, which was code for ‘you’re such a smart aleck’ but I enjoyed nonetheless.
Well, this isn’t really a post about that though.
Debi of Ms Crankypants has posed three questions for me to answer -an off-shoot of the whole Alabaster Crippens meme – and I decided to answer them here.
So here goes:
1) What event from your childhood or teen years still has a lasting effect on you to this day?
This is a tough one because it is quite personal. But what the heck… When I was about 12, I was very excited because I had managed to save a good deal of money for Christmas gifts. I really wanted to buy something special for my mother. So, I really budgeted the money for the other gifts on my list so I’d have enough left over to buy her a real gold cross on a chain. She had mentioned many times how she had wanted one and I was thrilled that I was going to be able to give her one. I bought the cross, tiny though it was and on a very delicate chain, it was still 14k gold and I couldn’t wait for Christmas day to arrive.
After weeks of agonizing waiting Christmas day arrived and I gave her the gift. Beside myself with anticipation. When she opened it, she cried and I was elated that she was so touched. But then she said, ‘It’s so small. Is that all you think of me, to give me something so small?’ (or words to that effect). I was crushed of course and disappointed. And I think I tried to explain to her but honestly, it’s a bit of a blur what was said after that point.
At the time, I thought she was being mean. Or maybe that she just didn’t love me very much or less than my brothers and sister. And I vowed I would never buy her anything that would ever enter the area of ‘special’ again because I couldn’t bear that kind of reaction from her again.
But in retrospect, I don’t think she was being mean. I think that she had many insecurities and self doubts. And that for some reason that necklace reinforced those insecurities and doubts. That in her mind, it validated her fear that she didn’t matter. And to me, that is even sadder that my mother wouldn’t know how much I was trying to please her and make her happy.
It has always affected my relationship with her and I’ve always felt tenuous with her and worry whenever I have to buy her a gift or send her a card. I try to pretend that it doesn’t matter but it does. She has a birthday coming up and I spent days trying to find something to send her that I thought she would like. I settled on something but I have little hope she’ll like it. I know she’ll say she does but…
Anyway, that’s the answer to that one.
2) What is the purpose of imagination and where does it come from?
I believe the purpose of imagination is to bring about the future. Without imagination, we would not have any of our modern technology, music, art, literature – artists are the dreamers of our society and they through their art dream and bring into reality products of their imaginations.
3) What book would YOU want to have written, and why?
Without question I would have wanted to write Atlas Shrugged. There are several reasons why. I strongly identified with Dagny Taggert, a true individual who did not care what others thought of her and was guided by her own conscience and values, despite incredible influences to act otherwise. She would not compromise her beliefs or ideals. Also, I believe it is one of the most important books ever written because it makes the case that we are each responsible and accountable for our actions or inactions and that no one is owed a living, wherewithall, possessions, or status that is not earned. To me, a definitive text of the 20th century and modern society. And probably most importantly, because it was an elegant and flawlessly written story that continued until it was truly over. Rather than ending on a specified page count.
Well Debi, there you have it. That was interesting…
Okay, I admit it – I’d sell out a friend just to get rid of my fat ass. Shallow, huh? Still, the fantasy of wearing a size 8 again makes a woman do desperate things. What’s your bad, evil wish? Hmmm? I know you got one. Eveybody has at least one. Right?
Yay! Another useless test that we can do that will tell us what we probably already know about ourselves. But hell, I love to waste time, don’t you? Don’t peek, but begin the test as you scroll down and answer. Okay, I know you’ll peek anyway but you have to sort of play along with these guys, right?
Answers are for who you are now — not who you were in the past. (glad they cleared that up, eh? )Have pen or pencil and paper ready. This is a real test given by the Human Relations Dept. at many of the major corporations today. It helps them get better insight concerning their employees and prospective employees. (Now, I really doubt this because it probably comes under the heading of profiling or discrimination or some such based on all the stupid ass laws we have on the books now, but it sounds good, huh?).
1. When do you feel your best?
a) in the morning
b) during the afternoon and early evening
c) late at night
2. You usually walk…
a) fairly fast, with long steps
b) fairly fast, with little steps
c) less fast head up, looking the world in the face
d) less fast, head down
e) very slowly
3. When talking to people you…
a) stand with your arms folded
b) have your hands clasped
c) have one or both your hands on your hips
d) touch or push the person to whom you are talking
e) play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair
4. When relaxing, you sit with…
a) your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side
b) your legs crossed
c) you r legs stretched out or straight
d) one leg curled under you
5. When something really amuses you, you react with…
a) big appreciated laugh
b) a laugh, but not a loud one
c) a quiet chuckle
d) a sheepish smile
6. When you go to a party or social gathering you…
a) make a loud entrance so everyone notices you
b) make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know
c) make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed
7. You’re working very hard, concentrating hard, and you’re interrupted…
a) welcome the break
b) feel extremely irritated
c) vary between these two extremes
8. Which of the following colors do you like most?
a) Red or orange
c) yellow or light blue
e) dark blue or purple
g) brown or gray
9. When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep you are…
a) stretched out on your back
b) stretched out face down on your stomach
c) on your side, slightly curled
d) with your head on one arm
e) with your head under the covers
10. You often dream that you are…
b) fighting or struggling
c) searching for something or somebody
d) flying or floating
e) you usually have dreamless sleep
f) your dreams are always pleasant
1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6
2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1
3. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6
4. (a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1
5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 2
6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2
7. (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4
8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1
9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1
10. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1
Now add up the total number of points.
OVER 60 POINTS: Others see you as someone they should “handle with care.” You’re seen as vain, self-centered, and who is extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don’t always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.
51 TO 60 POINTS: Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, who’s quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once; someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.
41 TO 50 POINTS: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who’s constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who’ll always cheer them up and help them out.
31 TO 40 POINTS: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who’s extremel y loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.
21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy. They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.
UNDER 21 POINTS: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions & who doesn’t want to get involved with anyone or anything! They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don’t exist. Some people think you’ re boring. Only those who know you well know that you aren’t.
Wasn’t that fun! Don’t you feel like you’re more in touch with your feelings now? Did it give a sense of I’m okay, You’re okay? Hahahahahahahaha.
(I scored 39 points by the way – which apparently means I am only semi-neurotic. – WC)
“I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do!. That is character.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
(Known both for his larger-than-life personality and his many achievements, Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest US president at age 42. He was born in 1858 in New York. He led the Rough Riders, a motley volunteer cavalry, to victory in the battle of San Juan Hill. As the “Trust Buster” president, he instigated some 40 lawsuits to break up monopolies. An ardent conservationist, he put 230 million acres under federal protection. The Panama Canal was begun under Roosevelt. He died in 1919.)
That Teddy was my kind of guy. Course today in this politically correct world, they’d probably destroy him. Thank God, he was around when it was okay for men to men and for leaders to lead. God bless his soul.
Recently I’ve mentioned problems on the job front – the company I worked with for almost 3 years was having trouble. Well, I’m sorry to say that the trouble didn’t end and I have left what I affectionately called The Land of Fun.
It was a fun, easy-going place to work – since we made movie props and I guess were sorta kinda in show business, there was no end of make-believe going on. But I guess there is more than make-believe needed to keep a business going.
No worries about me, as I’ve gotten another job, which I start Monday. It’s a far cry from the Land of Fun and it will be a brand new adventure for me – or them, I guess we shall see who experiences the most surprise.
I felt kind of guilty leaving my old job. We’d all become such comrades it rather felt like deserting the ship – but I had to admit that I needed to take care of me first and so left I did.
Now, I could have started my new job this week actually. I could have just jumped right into the fray and let the chips fall where they may. But, I decided (since the folks at Land of Fun didn’t require me to work out any notice) to just take a few days off.
I reasoned that there were lots of stupid, little things that needed to be done that I never seem to get around to doing. That I was some time to decompress and chill out. I wanted to go to my new job, fresh and relaxed. That I deserved a break. Because truth be told I don’t take vacations. Oh sure, I went away for a few days over Thanksgiving and as much fun as it was to see my friends, it was work. Try tagging along with a mother of three ages 9, 2 & 1 and you’ll know what I mean. Hell, I needed a vacation after the vacation.
So, okay, I’m having a little vacation. I’m catching up on sleep. Reading. Doing things around the house. Reveling in the solitude (did I mention roomie got a job?) and silence. I’ve been taking long walks with the dog – collecting bouquets of wild flowers – taking long showers, tweezing my eyebrows. Really important stuff.
Yet…the guilt. After a day and a half I started feeling like I was committing a crime. I felt like I should call my new job and confess that I was goldbricking for a few days before I decided to come in. I’m blowing off that idea the consultant had about going in on Saturday to get a little orientation. I’m not answering the phone for fear it might be someone who might want me to do something. I peer through the kitchen curtains to see if the Job Police are cruising my neighborhood, looking for layabouts.
I’ve parked my car a few houses down from mine, in case somebody I know drives by won’t think I’m home. When I go out I wear dark glasses and slouchy clothes so I won’t be recognized. I haven’t called any friends because I don’t want them to know I’m slacking. WTF is wrong with me? I mean, why the guilt?
I’ve been on my own and working for a living since I was 17. Even when I lived with my parents, I worked, bought my own clothes and textbooks, was always doing something. I’m not wired to lay around and do nothing. I mean, not that I’m doing nothing – I’m doing stuff. And it’s stuff that needs to be done but…I still feel guilty.
If I’m not out somewhere doing something, or writing about something or reading about something then I feel like I’m letting my fellow man down. Why can’t I simply enjoy my sloth week? Why can’t I revel in being bad. In being lazy. In doing nothing? Why????????
Do you think it has anything to do with being raised Catholic? I man people always say that the Jews have the corner on guilt but maybe they haven’t had any run ins with the Nuns. The ones who give you the look. You know the look? The one that can put a crease in your slacks, while you’re wearing them? The one that can make you pray for forgiveness even if you haven’t done anything? I’m telling you – the guilt, the guilt, the guilt. I can’t take it anymore!
Gotta go…somebody is lurking outside my house and I’m afraid they can hear the keys tapping.
When I was a kid, Mom said some of the weirdest things to us and even at an early age they didn’t make sense to me. Of course, back then I couldn’t respond with what I was thinking for fear of being grounded or worse. But I sure had answers for them….
1. Always wear clean underwear in case you get hit by a truck.
A truck? Really? What if I’m only hit by a car, can I wear dirty underpants then?
2. Finish your dinner, there are kids starving in China.
Well then, let’s mail the leftovers to them.
3. You’re just like your father.
Is this supposed to be an insult? Cuz, I think my dad is pretty cool.
4. The Milkman is your father.
Then why does he go to the steel mill every day?
5. Why do you always have an answer for everything?
Why do you keep asking me questions?
6. Why are you kids trying to drive me crazy?
Because you won’t let us drive the car.
7. You have big thighs just like your father.
Do I need a thigh-ectomy?
8. You were born 40.
Then why don’t I have my own apartment and a bank account?
9. You have funny teeth, just like me.
At last, something in common!
10. Wipe that look off your face.
Okay, got a handi-wipe? And what expression would you like me to wipe on my face?
11. Don’t play with matches.
Are candles included in that? Really, I didn’t mean to set the bunkbeds on fire – it just sort of happened…
Anybody want to add to the list?
Life is cruel sometimes and often crueler to me than most. I mean, look I set off with the lofty goal of quitting smoking – after I’d been doing it for a bagillion years. So, I wrongfully concluded that life would do me some sort of favor by doing so. Perhaps I would be able to sing well enough to audition for American Idol. If not that, well enough to not crack the bathroom mirror. Or maybe my teeth would become sparkling white. Or better still, that I’d find I’d have more energy and get all zippy and perky.
But nooooooooooooooo. No way. No how. No, no, no. Instead, what did life give me for my ultimate sacrifice? Yes, right. a big, fat ass. No kidding. My ass went from just big – to ginormous in like 2 hours. Still, I persisted. I went without. I cursed, I cried, I screamed at pretty much everybody – but I didn’t smoke. Still my ass grew, like the tear in the ozone layer that Al Gore (who also has an ass problem if you don’t mind my saying so) is always whining about. In fact, I recieved a notice from the post office the other day that my ass officially has its very own zip code.
So, now after a year of wedging in and out from behind the steering wheel, trying to count how many new chins I now have and eating chocolate non-stop I have decided to put my foot down. I have made a pact with my fat ass. I have promised to let my fat ass wear stretchy comfortable pants after work, after I work out. My fat ass in return has got to get out of the chair and work out. Frankly, I don’t trust the ass any further than I can throw it – but I’m willing to go on faith for the time being.
I’ve also gotten my big mouth to agree to remain shut when in the vicinty of food. And my thunder thighs to agree to squats – providing I buy talc to cut the chafing. My hair on the other hand has been quite cooperative and for that I am thankful.
So, anyone else out there have a misbehaving fat ass that you’d like me to talk to? I can give it some tough love. I can whip it into shape. And I’ll get right to it as soon as I finish this hagen daas.