“If you’re not in the parade, you watch the parade.That’s Life.”
Here’s the routine:
1. Wake up in the morning.
2. Check Facebook and Instagram.
3. Get ready for work.
4. Drive to work thinking why can’t you be like one of those women on Instagram or Facebook that seem to have it all together.
5. Get to work and immediately feel bummed out
6. Roll your eyes at your boss if she thinks you’re going to keep doing all this stupid shit for only $10.00 an hour when you know her job better than she know it.
7. Do the extra shit anyway. (Snap Chat your annoyed face)
8. Get off work.
10. Watch reality television, while thinking… “That damn Nene got it going on, I could be her. She don’t have any real talent anyway.”
11. Check Facebook and Instagram.
12. Go to Sleep.
If any part of this routine rang true for you, you are clearly on the street watching the parade. Not only are you watching the parade, you are holding out your hand for candy and beads while standing in the same spot hoping that the people in the parade will see you fiercely waving your arms around like a crazy lady. I hate to tell you this, but they don’t see you. I mean, how could they? What part of your routine shows a person who is tired of the same ole, same ole? If you do the same thing day in and day out, when will the people in the parade notice you? The bigger question is, when will you notice yourself?
Meet Lisa. Lisa is in her early thirties. She has worked as an Administrative Assistant for the past seven years. Since getting hired at her current job, she has been sent on countless trainings on how to coordinate events, how to create infographics, how to update a fully functioning website, and how to effectively market to the masses on social media. Ideally, Lisa shouldn’t have to wear so many hats, but her boss is a cheapskate and she refuses to staff the company with the necessary manpower. Especially since Lisa can do everything, and has shown that she doesn’t have a problem doing everything.
Lisa was a top performing student in high school, and finished her Bachelor’s degree earning the distinguished honor of Magna Cum Laude. She completed her program in four short years, majoring in Marketing and Advertising; however, this is not how she envisioned her life. After graduating, Lisa just couldn’t seem to find her footing. She went on countless interviews, and applied to all types of internships, but they all said the same thing.
“You just don’t have enough experience. Earning good grades is one thing, but showing us you know how to apply what you learned is something totally different. Good luck with your search. At this time we have decided to go with another candidate.”
Because Lisa has never been one to sit around and do nothing, she eventually got a part-time job at a retail store to hold her over. Several months passed by and she found herself waitressing during the day and folding high-end sweaters at night. The tips were good and she qualified for some awesome discounts at the department store. That kept her family happy. That kept them off her back.
One day, a very sharp dressing woman came into the store, and needed help finding an outfit for her husband. Lisa had a knack for working with people. She learned early on that in order to thrive in retail, you have to have exceptional customer service skills and a love for people. Lisa swooped in and delivered her beaming white smile, perky attitude, and ability to implement her marketing skills by convincing the woman to purchase the whole one thousand dollar suit over just a nice shirt and tie. Needless to say, the woman walked out of the store with the suit and later returned with a job offer to work at an up-and-coming small business.
Lisa was interested and knew God had somehow placed this woman in her life. She quit the retail and waitressing gig, and worked like hell to prove herself to her boss. At first, the woman noticed every little detail. She praised Lisa when she added extra details to reports, she applauded her for staying late, she rewarded her for helping the company to meet goals…but all that stopped after just one year. Lisa found herself clocking in to a list of “to-dos” already stacked on her desk, and more emails opposed to personal contact. It seems that the company was doing well and expanding, but Lisa’s position wasn’t heading anywhere.
Fast forward to seven years later. Lisa is the same Administrative Assistant that she was prior to using her marketing/advertising know-how to help the company land clients, prior to helping the company brand itself on social media networks with over thirty thousand followers respectively, prior to working in the background to help her boss land the title of “Top Forty under Forty: Women You Should Watch Out For”. Not to mention, most of the deals her boss was being acknowledged for, Lisa made happen. At first she told herself that it was her job to “assist” the administrator. She blamed herself for going outside of the job description to do extra. I mean, it’s not her employer’s fault that she willingly did more than what was asked. Well, what about the stuff that was asked that had nothing to do with her job responsibilities? What about landing all those clients and not receiving any commission from the deals?
Lisa became resentful. She began to view her job as a career dungeon. She began to view her boss as a selfish bitch. She began to water down herself and her role in the company. She did the bare minimum. She stopped being the self-starter that she once was, she only answered when called upon.
Now you may be saying to yourself, “that’s what I would do!”
But I must ask the question, who is that hurting in the long run? You are changing everything about you that makes you you because someone failed to acknowledge or reward your worth. Lisa’s boss can easily replace her with someone who is just as eager, enthusiastic, and gullible, but where will that leave Lisa? Once you start diluting your talents and work habits, you are essentially rewiring your brain to be less than who you really are. Nothing you did prior to owning this negative attitude exists anymore. You can’t go to a new job and say, “Sorry I’m not performing, I use to be better than who I am today. My old boss screwed me up.” More than likely, your new boss will tell you to hit the door until you gain some self-control.
I tend to wonder if Lisa is more resentful at the fact that she never stepped out on her dream to open her own agency, or if she’s mad at herself because she truly did trust the promises her boss made her. Every negative and lasting feeling in your body is connected to you, not someone else. They may have triggered the feeling of disgust, but it’s something deeper in you that is keeping it alive. It’s your job to be transparent and real with yourself. It’s your job to figure out what’s making your life heavy, and it’s your job to get rid of it.
Let’s be clear, being in the parade doesn’t mean that you have to be the person calling the shots; your own boss. Entrepreneurship is a great thing, but it may not be for you, it may not have been for Lisa. Lisa may have flourished in her own agency, or she may have flourished if her boss would have promoted her and valued her just a little more.
Being in the parade simply means that you are present in your life, that you are an active contributing member in the comings and goings. If you are not an active contributing member, you are just an observer. Are you one of those people that blame others for your mistakes, or are you someone who accepts responsibility? Are you going through the motions and hating every minute of it, or are you constantly trying to be/do better? It’s true with anything, either you are in or out, either you’re getting better or worse, either you’re in the damn parade or still sitting in the corner waving your arms wildly, hoping to be seen.
Here’s to not only being seen, here’s to doing something about it. Don’t just sit in the back and wait for the candy and beads, walk up to the float and take them.