Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The gift of perspective

Last Monday wasn't the best day in the history of the world by any stretch of the imagination. It was just what that woman in "Office Space" meant when she said she thought Peter had "a case of the Mondays."

I might've let out an exasperated sigh or two and asked my wonderful officemate (who was having the same kind of day), "What is UP with today?!" but that's pretty much where it ended.

That's right ... I didn't mope. I didn't dwell. I didn't worry. I wasn't overcome with feelings of failure or inadequacy. I just took note of the issues (and determined whether they were anything within my control) and let things go.

And my Facebook status that night reflected it:

"Lindsay Allen thinks that PERSPECTIVE is the greatest gift of all. Even though today was what I'd call a challenging day, I didn't feel worried, scared or discouraged when I left the office, and I'll sleep just fine tonight. What a difference a year (or so) makes!"

So, what did I mean by that?

Simply put, I'm finding that being in the right place doing the right kind of work for my skill set has made a huge difference for me. And I have the perspective (and appreciation for my current situation) that can only truly be gained by being in a rather opposite kind of situation -- the kind of situation that has you feeling like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole because your strongest skills are seen as less valuable or are perhaps even seen as a liability rather than as an asset. My uncle, Scott Allen, very eloquently wrote about this type of thing already, so I won't try to reinvent the wheel in explaining the phenomenon.

Bottom line: Even the hardest or most frustrating day at my new job (and there honestly haven't been many at all) has been more manageable and less stressful than most of the days -- good or bad -- at my previous job. And that has everything to do with being in the right place, doing the right thing ... and having the PERSPECTIVE that allows me to truly understand and appreciate the difference.

Being able to put the day behind me because I know the next day is a new chance is the No. 1 gift that perspective has afforded me. What are the others? In no particular order, here are the rest of my "Top 5 Gifts Provided by Perspective":

- Learning the importance of making sure you land at a workplace where your supervisors truly understand what your strongest skills are and are committed to focusing your responsibilities in those areas (while also providing opportunities to explore other skills that interest you).

- Recognizing the value of really being valued.

- Realizing that taking work home *every single night* is not healthy.

- Knowing that taking a lunch break helps prevent mental and physical fatigue.

It might sound simple, but it's the truth as I've lived it for the past seven weeks or so. And it's why I know I'm where I'm supposed to be ... and that I got here in the manner in which I was supposed to get here.