Retrospect

I went to a Sting concert last night. It was groovy. I’m not the concert going type. I never was. But last night was cool. I was wearing one of my Apple earring pairs, a gift from a former Apple colleague. My unusual earring are conversation starters. Conrad got to tell someone that I actually have a job waiting for me there, for the two months we’re in California. It has been confirmed on Monday in great terms. I’m excited!

I just read a rant piece written by a google employee who feels that they have done nothing of consequence, noteworthy or impactful while working at Google, thought the tag line that enticed him to work there, besides the famous employers’ name, was “Do cool things that matter”. Then he proceeded to dismantle this tagline piece by piece.

We place too much responsibility on our “masters”, our employers, our parents, our teachers. They have to show us the way, give us tools, give us permission but also push us through over and over again. But nobody can cure us of dissatisfaction, or of apathy. The more I think about it the clearer it become that the hardship in the early days of my schooling prepared me to do more than survive, but look for ways to thrive despite the expectations and context.

I spent 4+ years at Apple, and it was hard and it was rewarding. I may have selective memory, but as we allowed ourselves to be motivated, inspired, bottoms-up the positivity, the surroundings did not contort our beliefs, and we kept our personalities intact. It was never even suggested that I changed who I was, and different I was. I stood out like a sore thumb, with my short haircuts, my accent, my style. So as I try to dig deep, to remember what is it that I loved so much about my job, I remember the human connections with my leaders, my colleagues, “my peeps” aka team members, and customers. And there isn’t a blue print for navigating them all. We just have to put heart into it. I gave myself fully and I got a lot more out of it.

You don’t like something, change it. Smartly look at what can be done differently, who can help you accomplish that, and keep at it. If something doesn’t feel right say something, call it out, or leave. There are so many options! I told my store leader something in passing but for him it clicked. I said something about reinventing myself, reinventing the way I look at things, my approach, my take.

I have seen great people wilt because they didn’t know how to cope with the “free moving market” even at a small scale, how to humbly take opportunities and transform them, because they felt entitled. The world does not owe us opportunities, encouragement, recognition.

I got my thrill from taking the time to look people in the eyes and genuinely helping them with their immediate problem. I did what I could do best in the current circumstances with my current resources. And that made me happy. And that happiness breeds further good things.

In this same job I have been offended, berated, treated with contempt, I stressed a lot at times and reached the brink of exhaustion (physical and intellectual at once) the way I have never experienced before, yet when I drew the line I saw the results of my work, I saw the change, the impact I’m making, keeping at it with determination and integrity.

So I say it is about People. I matter. I know it deep down. I feel it and accept for myself. And thus have the ability to pay it forward.

Do the best work you can, in the context you’ve been put, and don’t look over your shoulder. Your hard work will be seen and rewarded.