Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sticks and Stones

I sat at my desk this morning. Blank stares at my computer screen. Lost in thought.

I've been at my new job for almost 2 months now.

I sell digital advertising and online marketing programs to local companies. It's a great fit. Sometimes it takes experiencing something better (my current job), to realize how bad where you came from actually was.

Somewhere deep in my soul lies this uncertainty. Not about my current company, the products I sell or the people I work with. It's uncertainty in myself.

Last year around this time I was a direct import footwear developer, designing shoes for companies like Walmart, Kohl's and Dick's Sporting Goods under their own private labels. We made skate shoes, and I managed a professional team of skateboarders in California. I traveled there to meet them. I shopped markets around the country and determined footwear trends. My job was literally to shop online for shoes at times. I worked ridiculous hours, but it was often "fun work".

Behind the glamorous job description lied a list of hurtful experiences. Days often filled with tears when I got home.

My boss had a severe anger problem.

He was the owner, the manager, the HR department. He answered to no one.

What started off with passive aggressive comments in my first few months on staff morphed into hateful, deceiving lies about myself and my performance. He used intimidation to scare and silence me.

"When are you going to step up and doing your f****** job!?"

No room to "back talk". He would just get louder.

"I'm going to shame you for making that f****** mistake. You have no idea what you are doing."

My job was big. Millions of dollars of business determined whether or not I selected the right shade of pink for a kid's sandal. If I didn't forget a single shoe in the hundreds we brought to meetings. If I didn't stay till 8pm to send designs to our factory in China.

My job carried so much weight in that company. And I was 24. I hadn't even been employed a year. Still I heard:

"If you do that one more f****** time, I'll fire you!"

Yet he took me to meetings with the largest buyers in the world. I sat in front of million dollar decision makers. And I was incompetent?

Just hours after these comments, we would eat at a fancy restaurant, at $50 a plate. He would talk to me like nothing happened. Tell me I had the potential to do anything. Say my presentation materials looked perfect.

I was stuck in a cycle of verbal abuse.

I wasn't the only one. My coworkers were treated the same way. Often worse. And it made it all the more confusing. Even now, it's hard for me to admit it affected me the way it has, when it looks as if it hadn't affected my coworkers near as much as me.

But it shouldn't matter.

All I know is, I should not, will not, ever be treated that way again.

I turned in my resignation in February 2014. He yelled, cursed and threatened me as I walked out of the door of the job I loved. I cried. Trent encouraged me I did the right thing.

A year later, these words unconsciously flow through my mind. They quietly tell me I'm not good enough.

This morning as I sat at my desk, I saw a glimpse of the affects this has had on my life. On my confidence at work.

And it's not ok.

Driving home to lunch today, tears streamed down my face. A fire lit in my soul to rid myself of this heavy self pity.

I am not a product of one man's opinion of me.

I have confidence because of Jesus who lives in my heart. Encouragement by Trent who lives in my house :-) And coworkers past and present.

And so I will continue the journey, to throw off the burdens of this world which so easily entangle. And hold fast to the promises of Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). Who believes in me, loves me and has called me by name.

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