Monday, May 16, 2011

getting out ahead of the story

there is an episode of the show modern family where gloria lists off things that drive her crazy about manny (her son). she assumes manny is out of earshot as she is saying these things - but he hears them all. she then makes a desperate attempt to convince him that this is not really the way she feels. a summary of that scene is that it is okay to complain about your kids - but not okay if they hear you.

while i was home last week, i heard my mom talking on the phone. my mom has a voice that booms with the authority of somone yelling to small children who have wandered into the street, but it gets to the level of someone yelling at small children in the next zip code when she is on the phone.

this is when it hit me:
most kids don't know what there parents say about them behind their back until they are much older, but in the case of my sister and i, we knew in real-time from a very small age.

i would be "napping" or "sleeping for the night", and hear my mom discussing the mis-adventures i experienced over the previous week. many times, i hadn't been previously aware of these mis-adventures. this may seem mean - as i overheard criticism, generalities about myself, and situations in which i interacted with the world discussed from a mother's critical perspective.

but it is not, in fact, a bad thing. it enabled me to get out "in front of the story". when i heard what i was "doing", i was then able to correct the behavior and therefore spin the story from a very young age. many see this as learning to be emotionally distant, but i see it as learning to control the conversation, and career practice.

i have been in sales for my entire adult life. some folks refer to the early stages of this as "retail", or "working at gap" however, those people did not go on to make a career of walking in and out of stores all day (to my knowledge the only people that do this are vendors, district managers, and the homeless and/or mentally infirmed).

as i look out toward the next years of my life, and anticipate a career change, i wonder what job will call out to me next, saying "do this now, you have prepared for it". i can only hope that the job that calls this out to me will do it with the volume of my mom talking on the phone; as now i have suffered some hearing loss and may not hear it otherwise.

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