I’m 43. Unless my children turn into Phineas & Ferb and invent a time machine, I’m not going to get any younger. (However, I do bring up relentlessly that they need to cut down on the sports and invent a teleporter. It would make my life so much more fun. Dinner at Disney, anyone?)
When I entered the workplace after college, over 20 years ago, there was a very clear structure to how things worked. You knew your place as an entry-level invisible, do-whatever-needs-to-be-done person. And, unless you were Michael J. Fox and pulled a corporate takeover, you worked your way up slowly.
You did what you needed to do. You moved up. Got paid a little more. Then did the next thing you needed to do.
Every team had a specific structure to it. There was a leader, and depending on his or her personality, you were given specific times of input.
I remember feeling that tension of wanting to be the person in charge, thinking that I knew better than those who were over me. Their ways were antiquated, and I saw the changes that needed to be made.
Then I messed up big time on my job. I made an editing error in an interview that made the person look bad, and we had to reprint ALL copies of the magazine I was in charge of. ALL. Every single issue. And mail them out to subscribers again.
I cried. Literally. I felt so awful that I had made such a big mistake and that it affected so many people.
And the boss who I felt was antiquated, who seemed to be holding me back, showed me an incredible amount of graciousness. So much so that I learned from the situation instead of being devastated by it.
And no longer did I see her as someone in my way, but I began to see her as someone who was protecting me, covering me. someone I could learn from. someone who could actually help me become better at what I loved to do.
I learned many lessons from her over the years, and I am the editor/writer I am today because of her guidance—and her red pen.
But it all had to start with learning grace.
©2012 tim walker. All rights reserved. Used with permission.