I have an inherent fear of authority. If you are somehow in charge of me and I disappoint you, then I probably will never recover from it and will replay the situation over and over in my mind trying to find a way to prevent what happened from happening in the first place. Kind of a Back to the Future thing, sort of. Okay, not really. But you get the idea. Someone’s disappointment scars me for life. Ridiculously.
My parents loved this trait of mine and used it to their full advantage. All they had to do was feign possible disappointment and I would stop whatever I was doing they didn’t like and continue on the righteous path.
Of course, that’s not to say that I never did anything they wouldn’t approve of. I just tried my best to never get caught. Ish. But mostly I never did anything they wouldn’t approve of, or at least tolerate.
So when I was about 19 or 20 (10 whole years ago OMFG!), as I mentioned before, I began working at the youth center on Fort Knox where the kids were not overly concerned with authority and, you know, doing what they were supposed to.
The center also had regular, overnight parties where movies were set up and some kids could swim, plus there were activities for those so inclined.
I hadn’t been working there very long when I was scheduled for my first splash bash. I was admittedly nervous. I mean, not only would I have to stay up all night, but I’d also not be able to drink to pass the time.
The leaders had a meeting before the whole thing started, telling everyone where they were supposed to start working and what to prepare for the party. I was told to start in the common area, which basically entailed watching kids play pool or video games.
I heard this woman tell me that, I swear I did, but for some reason I also thought I should help everyone set up tables and food and whatnot. I just didn’t understand the dynamic, is all.
I think part of the problem was that my dad has always told me that I should never look like I’m not busy at work. If things are slow, then clean something. If something needs to be done, then DO IT. So I saw tables that needed to be carried down to the pool area, so I did that instead of staring at teenagers. Also, I’m pretty sure there weren’t any kids around when I left my station.
So, fast forward about 15 minutes of me helping and one of the leaders of the leaders pulls me aside into an empty room. Obviously I think she’s going to praise me for taking initiative.
Is there some reason you’re not where I told you to be, Jaime?
Um, no, I was just helping.
When I tell you to be somewhere you need to be there.
Oh. Okay. SOB.
Did you hear that? That is the sound of me realizing I’ve disappointed someone. It is usually manifested in tears.
I left that room and went and sat in a chair in the common area IN PLAIN VIEW OF EVERYONE and cried. And cried and cried and cried. And I couldn’t even go to the bathroom to try to compose myself because I WASN’T ALLOWED TO LEAVE MY POST.
I had teenagers coming up to me to ask if I was okay. Do you know how embarrassing that is? TEENAGERS! Everyone kept glancing over to me to check out the crying, blubbering team leader and there was nothing I could do but stare at the wall and try to compose myself.
I was unsuccessful for quite a long time.
I’m convinced that the woman didn’t recognize my true, get-up-and-go nature. She didn’t see me as the good person, the employee who will work harder than everyone else, faster than everyone else, and who will do it better than most. BECAUSE THAT’S WHO I AM! AN OVERACHIEVER. It may not always be true, but it’s true often enough for me to identify with it. And it isn’t my fault she didn’t see that right from the start.
I’m also convinced she left me out there crying in plain view of eye-rolling teens and tweens to prove a point and to punish me.
But that’s okay. She got in trouble with the big boss the next summer for allowing kids to jump off the back of a pontoon when that was clearly AGAINST THE RULES, LISA.
(Also, I do not forgive you.)
|Not pictured - Evil Lisa.|