I’m a failure as a corporate executive. Twenty-five years post MBA I’m no longer a VP, I have no department, I run nothing, and there is no one reporting to me. I can be difficult to work with – sarcastic, condescending and maybe even a little bit rude. Also funny, but no one remembers that! For years, my employee evaluations from my bosses always said the same thing: “Smart – but can be emotionally reactive.”
My reaction to that?
I failed in the corporate world because I have a soul. HAHA. Just kidding, I really failed because I can’t control my emotions. My parents were literally unaware that emotional control in humans was even possible. So how could they teach me anything different? Oh, sure, I’m an adult now. I believe I already told you to shut up once, so please pay attention.
When my Dad got angry, he would throw a lamp, or sometimes one of his offspring, against the wall. One year my Mom didn’t like her Mother’s Day gift, so she dramatically threatened to burn us with the iron we had given her AS HER GIFT. Like a witch casting as spell, she swore from that day forward she would give each child’s birthday and Christmas gifts ONLY the amount of care said child exhibited towards MOMMY’s Christmas, birthday (and presumably, Mother’s Day) gifts that same year. Selfless, my Mom was not.
Well, Mom is dead now but she lives on in me. Bless her heart! When I feel generally disappointed in life, I express myself through emotional outbursts at strangers, because as I said above, they don’t like it when I do it at work.
Three weeks ago it was the day before my birthday. My plane into DFW was delayed, so I missed the last connection home. It was pouring rain like a freaking biblical deluge, and I was stuck at DFW at midnight, no luggage, no toothbrush, and my flight is now at 6am. The stupid airline gave me a stupid voucher for a hotel room, so I ubered over to the Sheraton to get some rest.
When I got there (soaking wet!) the Sheraton, in their wisdom, refused honor the free room voucher. I tried everything. I told them it was my birthday. I raised my voice. I demanded a manager. I called the airline. I offered to pay for a room – sorry, still nope, they’re full. I was standing there, crying some very real tears – I mean, it was my BIRTHDAY – at the front desk, when a woman rolled a suitcase up to the desk to check in.
I turned to her and announced: ”Hope you aren’t looking for a room here because they are all sold out!” Her eyes opened wide.
“No, no no” the desk clerk jumped in and assured her, “If you have a reservation, we have a room for you.”
I went for him: “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This voucher is my reservation!! The airline paid for a room and you’re not going to give me a room! This is insane! Why are you not honoring my reservation??”
And then, this big-haired blond woman with her pink suitcase, instead of joining forces and making those guys give me a room which I was clearly signaling her to do, just jumps in and attacks ME! In a Texas accent, no less, flipping her big hair all over the place. “WAIT A MINUTE, Ma’am. I made MY reservation MONTHS ago!”
Oh, hell no. It is ON. Who did she think she was? First of all calling me “ma’am” And secondly, supporting the patriarchy against me ON MY BIRTHDAY? I turned around and took a step toward her. I might have even pointed my good finger at her and shook it.
“LOOK LADY, this DOES NOT concern you. AT ALL. SO ….YOU CAN JUST…. ZIP IT!” And I made the ZIP IT motion at her and just glared at her until she broke eye contact.
Friends, I’m not proud of this moment but I can report: she DID zip it and it STAYED zipped. (Don’t you flip your big blond hair at ME, hooker!!)
The manager turned his face to the wall, so I could not read his expression. Luckily he was a good guy who didn’t call the police on me.
(Why do you bring that up? Call the police? OH, NO REASON.)
The manager hurried me out of the lobby, separating me from that big haired “B.” He gave me a free water (score!!)and personally called another hotel to get me a room.
The moral of this story? NEVER TAKE THE LAST CONNECTING FLIGHT ON THE DAY BEFORE YOUR BIRTHDAY. Thank you.