Dreaming in the Rat Race
During my long term employment with an insurance company, I had one bad performance review. My job was interesting and stressful – just the way I like it – my job was to check underwriters’ ratings back then done manually without the automated assistance of a computer - and…present them with the areas that needed correction. Pointing mistakes to coworkers is not an easy way to make friends.
My humor and joking demeanor got me through it. The underwriters accepted my findings and issued corrections. My manager, while happy with my production, was not pleased with the only thing that, in her eyes, I had done wrong: be noticed by the female Vice President as a good worker.
My manager was notorious for her ambition and reputation that nothing stood in her way. I was far from being a threat to her. Nevertheless, at the end of the year, my performance review was below average; I refused to sign it and told her I would be writing a rebuttal. Many others in the department advised me not to fight her, "sign it" they urged me, "next year she’ll give you a good one”
I was young and a dreamer. I believed that the truth would prevail; I believed that the corporate world was fair, that life was fair. I was a good worker, I did a good job and I was determined to prove my point.
To make my narrative short, I ended up leaving my department when the woman tried to cause more harm.
Fast forward many years later. I no longer work for that company and neither does she. Two years ago I searched her name and found her email address. I sent her a couple of lines: “After a while memories fade, hearts soften. Sometimes we don’t even remember what triggered the events of past years”. I ended by saying that for whatever it was that stood between us in the past I offered her my sincere desire to move forward in a healthy way and to leave behind whatever divided us in the past.
I received a reply first thing in the morning. She told me how surprised she was, how my email had “taken her breath away” and thanked me for it.
Sharing that story with a friend she challenged me, “Why would you do that? You admitted guilt”.
I didn’t see it that way. Guilt had nothing to do with my decision. Ridding myself of hard feelings, freeing myself of grudges, unloading my emotional baggage of resentment was my subconscious purpose if there was one.
Reaching out and extending my hand in friendship was far easier than fighting my enemy to prove a point that was no longer valid.
My former manager and I have not been in touch since then but I know that if we ever meet it will be good. And that is what being a dreamer is all about.