Have you ever experienced a work situation that you couldn’t control? It really sucks. Especially if something happens in the first week into your new job…
On the second day after starting my contract, I found myself wound up in a communication problem with a client. Classic. As communication is usually at the heart of any conflict in work at all, it wasn’t a great surprise. But it isn’t sweet if such a situation possibly leads to a law suit against your company and your name is stuck to the label. Yep, even if you should have never had this responsibility during the first days in the first place. You are still meeting new colleagues and working out which wifi network you should use.
Instead, I was called to justify myself in front of the entire management team on day 4.
Oh my god.
But I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it. I learned the best lessons of my life during that time. That’s why I didn’t work there for much time longer. I resigned 3 months through, this false start being one of the reasons. And that, resigning, was the most empowering thing I ever did.
My life lessons
Needless to say I was heavily impressed with things going wrong at first. Perhaps it was my mistake and I could have prevented it. That’s food for self-doubt and that never works very well.
So after a while, I just stepped out of the emotion. I looked from it with a more distant view and discovered it wasn’t ok with me. I should not have had that assignment in the first place. And I did handle the situation well. I wanted the recognition for it, because that’s a basic human need that sparks motivation more than anything.
So once I had that cleared up for myself, I just explained that to my manager and bosses. I explained why the situation was not ok with me. With respect and without emotion; I just presented the case like I saw it. And I explained what I needed to happen next for all of us to be better off.
I know that me and many of the people I know (especially ladies) would be horrified with this. Being critical of your boss, in his face, oh Heavens! But I found that what it really delivered me (yes, after initial, non flattering resistance), was respect. My boss thanked me for my feedback after it became clear I wasn’t going to be persuaded.
I still didn’t get what I had asked for. But I had gained self-confidence and respect. Actually, I felt so strong that I decided to resign. And in my final week one of my final clients offered me a job at his company. I still work there today and I love it. There’s no greater acknowledgement that I took the right decisions by standing up for myself.
If there is one thing I learned from all of this it is to speak up when your boundaries are crossed. Yes it is scary, yes someone will dislike you first, you might not immediately get what you want. But they will respect you second and forget they disliked you third. And you might get what you really want as a bonus. Power!
Fun with script writing
The job itself taught me I actually really loved it. I really disliked leaving the company for I really enjoyed the work.
- I absolutely love to analyze people
- Help them
- And write for them
So what did I do? I wrote countless scripts for explanimations, animation videos that explain a complicated idea of product in just 75 seconds. In just a few hours time, I got into a session room with the clients, an art director and myself and understand every bit of the topic to be explained. Then I’d write the script in 1,5 hours time together with the art director, who would draw the storyboard. Pretty stressy, but the limited time forces me to focus. And then we’d present it to the client after which they would often give relentless critique out of fear. It often just seemed too simple to be true to them. But it really was true; complicated stories can really become very simple once you make choices, cut it with the crap and leave out the details.
I loved it. And by knowing what I love to do, I make the right choices in everything I do.
By the way, I have never seen a flawless company. Despite it all, this one is really great at what it does. It has the most passionate employees and inspiring atmosphere I ever saw. I didn’t regret my decision to resign one minute, but I will always miss the crew. Get a glimpse of it in this cool video: