Who Did I Think I Was?

Hustle Muscle

Definitely not a fit!

I never fit. Never got it. Always felt like a spy dropped in to some alien territory to participate in a strange ritual. I was 35 years old and lived a white knuckle existence in the food and music world. Had no idea what a life inside a corporate behemoth like Dupont or Bristol Myers Squibb would be like. I knew from Vietnam that Dupont made napalm but that was about it.

I quickly learned that the way I approached any assigned function was considered by co-workers,”over the top” and to them, foolhardy. Having been used to being judged solely on a very high level of performance lest I be banished on the spot, I was quick to jump in to some very difficult, stressful situations despite warnings from my peers. I volunteered for everything. Coming from where I came from, this was child’s play. I couldn’t understand what my co-workers were grumbling about.

I soon became the go-to guy for job assignments the other guys wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. I would routinely volunteer to cover for someone who worked remotely while they took vacation. Remote people can be pretty stingy with work- arounds and shortcuts so you will sweat and stress out then tell everyone in house how difficult their job is. No fools, those guys.

The stress of those experiences would mess me up for weeks afterwards but it never kept me from the next assignment. To top it off, I was deathly afraid of flying.

Still, I thought of this as kid’s stuff and couldn’t believe they paid me for such foolishness. And, you got a Bravo Award on top of it. I mean, you got awards for everything. You got awards for giving out awards. I was waiting for the launch of “The Biggest Poop Award” but I got relocated before I could take it. I once saw a rep give out 45 Bravos at a business meeting in a hotel in Scottsdale once. I said, “Hey, you forgot the bus boy” and everyone got pissed at me. Hard to take any of this seriously. I didn’t.

Nothing seemed to be that important or critical to these companies. There were hundreds of people on this site. How did this all work? Surely you couldn’t successfully manage that much humanity. I was told by my boss once it would take an act of congress to get me fired once I was in. If he was trying to make me feel good, it had the opposite effect. Talk about taking the wind out your sails. Corporate tenure.

I’ve been out on my own for the last eight years, while doing a majority of my work in the corporate world because I understand it and can fix things.

The more I do it, the worse I feel. Same bullshit, tired rhetoric, politics, favoritism, (which you’d better know how to curry) multiple levels, structured environments and a strict, time based atmosphere.

I was recently asked to present to a very fast moving, quickly rising organization about how I could help them with their messaging. While proceeding down a long open hallway, I looked over to my right and saw this sea of people, desks, computer screens and bodies hustling and bustling soundlessly through the maze of humanity. There was no sound. None. Nice place to hang out in the winter I’m betting.

I had to stop to take it all in. My irises overloaded quickly. What in the fuck is this all about? Look at all these humans with nowhere else to go is my usual thought process. I mean, they’re gonna do this, like, all day? Imagine this after a big lunch?

Who is going to move, manage and massage all this? What are they all doing? Does anyone even know? There has to be some stressed out director sitting behind a glass office door, where he can’t even scratch his private parts, trying to cope with the trappings of his impossible position. Usually way out of the loop and prefers it that way.

Good place to get lucky too, judging from some of the conversations. Very young, attractive group this one. But they probably make as much per hour as I leave on the hotel night stand for the cleaning lady.

You kids play nice and make sure you don’t start having babies or you’ll have to move out of your parent’s house and then start having to do career limiting moves (CLM) like asking for more money. You will lose your “team player” status in a hurry.

I’m betting $30,000.00 will, if it isn’t already, be the ceiling for most of these happy little dreamers. This morning my wife asked me where I’m going with all this. I thought for a minute and said “I have no idea”. Nice to be able put it all out there, though.

If you have any questions or need advice, please feel free to reach out to me here.

Bob O’Hearn

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Please note: I welcome comments that are offensive, illogical or off-topic from readers in all states of consciousness.

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