Often times, we may fall short of our goals and expectations.
Often times, we may make mistakes others seem to avoid.
Often times, we may find ourselves in trouble.
Often times, we may find ourselves with no money.
No matter your particular hardship, the fact remains, difficult times do exist. You WILL experience life's difficulties. There is no way around that fact. But, it is in times like these when we must remember what we are made of. We must remember "when we fall down seven times? get up eight." It is necessary to understand that life is not a series of uninterrupted success. Life is not a relaxing, fairy tale journey all the time. Sometimes, you will face pitfalls. There is absolutely no question about that. Rough times are an inevitable part of Life. What separates the Winners from the Losers is not the amount of rough times versus good time any particular person experiences. Winners and Losers are discovered based on how they react to the most uncomfortable situations.
In my days before becoming a university professor, I used to work in the print industry. It was my first job out of college. I was young and newly-degreed, and I was excited about making the transition from student to employed adult. Because of the huge change in lifestyle, I was full of anticipation and anxiety. My first employer was Consolidated Graphics? large printing company. This parent company, Consolidated Graphics, owned 63 smaller companies nationwide. I started my career at one of their locations in San Antonio, Texas? and it was called Clear Visions, Inc. I was hired as an associate in the Management-Development training program. The idea behind this program was to groom recent college graduates into the mid-level managers of the future. In three years time, I was to go from a novice in the print industry to a person who had the knowledge and skills to manage one of their 63 other facilities. I enjoyed the idea of success at this company? but, I soon learned that I did not like the actual job.
I didn't like the people with whom I worked. I didn't like the weekly company meetings. I didn't like evaluation process. I didn't like fighting the traffic to and from work every day. I didn't like much at all. -but, I held my breath, and did the best I could until I could secure other employment or change my route in life, altogether. I was seriously unhappy.
Then it happened. One day, I made a mistake that I thought would last a liftetime. At the request of a salesman with whom I worked closely, I signed his name on a document so that one of his jobs would be expedited through the process. He strongly persuaded me to sign his name. I knew that it was not the right thing to do. But, I did it anyway. I figured it was not a big deal. Wrong. An elder associate in the accounting department spotted the forgery? and questioned me.
I did nut confess. I lied. told him I had nothing to do with it. He knew it was not true? but, he accepted my response. The situation only got worse. I became paranoid. I assumed the associate told other people about the incident. He did. The word quietly spread through the associate ranks. I grew weary. But, I quickly learned that I made a bad situation worse because I lied when asked about it. Because I chose to lie, I missed an opportunity to correct my first infraction. My paranoia grew by the day. So, now, a once uncomfortable place to work became completely unbearable. I grew sick and tired, and regretted each day I had to face my colleagues.
But, then I had to remember what I was made of: My Constitution.
I had to remember that I was a person who lived according to a Principle. I operated by a code. Living in spirit and truth was a part of that code. So, I had to right the wrung. I had no choice in the matter. I had to meet the associate who questioned me; and I had to sit down and explain the situation and my actions in their entirety. That is exactly what I did. I met with him, and I explained my actions? and I admitted my mistakes. He listened and accepted my apology.
Doing the right thing did not instantly change my work environment. I still remained generally unhappy with my job. I don't believe it fully mended the relationship between the other associate(s) and me. But, what it did was prove something to me. It showed me something about myself. It showed me, in unequivocal terms, what I was willing and able to do about a mistake that I had made in the workplace. It showed me that I was willing to "do the right thing" even though it may bring me embarrassment and shame. It showed me that even though I may not like the people or the place, I was willing to perform the correct actions because these principles were important to me.
More importantly, this moment showed me that one mistake doesn't define who I am. I am a person who is open to learning the lessons that success, as well as failure, brings my way. In any situation, I must be true to myself? and courage enough to keep doing my best even when I'm not popular.
"Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is."
By Prof. eRic Durham
Dept. of English Language and Literature
GOODDOCTOR'S LETTER -
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