*ding ding ding*** Revelation time people!
I was chatting with my coworker about life and people we’ve worked with and her kids and my kids and you know how it is, you start with one conversation and it goes off into all these tangents.
I believe we started with Palm Sunday and whether either of us went to church or not and that led to why we should or shouldn’t have gone and then belief in God and it snowballed and before you knew it we were talking about how this new generation of kids have such a huge sense of entitlement and how it may or may not be our fault as parents.
I love conversations like this! You learn so much about each other! I was mentioning to her that I have always been an overachiever. I remembered in grade school I always wanted it to be my name that was said out loud as the person who:
1. Read the most books
2. Colored inside the lines the best
3. Earned the highest grade
4. Spelled the most words correct
5. Finished her homework first
You know, all those things that kids get praised and rewarded for in school. It wasn’t even about the reward or a certificate, I liked hearing my name being first. This led me to work really hard. I would like to think that I wanted to excel for the sake of my parents or teachers, but nah..I just wanted to hear my name be first.
Fast forward to present time.
We have monthly company meetings between our three offices. In our corporate office there are probably 22 employees including the bosses. My office has 2 in it and the 3rd office has 3 employees. One part of the meeting is where a member of management reads the names of the Account Manager(s) that have retained all their accounts during the month. Everyone claps and that's the extent of the reward for our hard work!
I work really hard at retaining my accounts but sometimes things are totally out of my control. For instance an account may not renew because they go out of business. This could be because of retirement or death or financial hardship. Hardly my fault, but if I lose that account, even for a reason totally out of my control…it counts as a loss on my part and my name is not read. That kills me! That should not count against me!
Once after a meeting I was complaining about that very point to my coworker and she said, “Why do you care so much? You know it was not your fault and that you couldn’t retain the account, why does it bother you so much?” I didn't have an answer, I didn't know why it bothered me so much. But it did!
During our conversation was when I had my *ding, ding, ding* “AH HA!” moment! I want my name to be read, I want my hard work to be acknowledged, and I’ve wanted that ever since I was a little girl. I haven’t changed in that respect! That is why I worked so hard in grade school and in junior high and then in high school. In high school I was the Salutatorian of our graduating class and I didn’t even mind that it meant that I was #2, only that it meant that my name would be called and I would get to give a speech.
Is that Narcissism? Is that something you are just born with? Is it something my parents instilled in me? My brothers and sister are not like that. What creates that force in a person and is it a good thing?
When I went back to school as an adult to get my Bachelors degree I was in a group that had to do projects together so we had to get together a couple of times per week to complete the projects and present them to the class. In this group there was not one person that wasn’t exactly like me! It wasn’t enough to accomplish the project and pass the class, we had to be first! We had to be the #1 group!
Once, when we were not the #1 group, we got together and did a presentation to the professor as to why we should be first and why we should get the acknowledgement and he just laughed at us and told us it didn’t matter, the point was to pass the class. It didn’t sit well with us, let me tell you. The joy of just passing the class was not enough, we had to make do…but it wasn’t enough.
Regardless of whether I'm an Over Achiever...a Perfectionist...or a Nut Job, it's something I've been since a child and it's worked for me, so I guess there's no point in changing now....is there?