The long and short of “How was your first week?”

The short answer is “Great!” The people are really nice and helpful. The sales team defies the cliché image of the cut-throat sales world that I pretty much loathe. They seem dedicated to helping each other help the clients. I sense the importance of leadership, not management. And the leadership is really open and invested in the training process. Everything is very team oriented. Our job is to help the vendors and customers grow their business by offering offer the user the best product and service possible. I never thought I would be in sales, and I don’t think I could do it for company with a more traditional* business philosophy. I’ve never heard anything negative about the company, and my anticipation of hearing the truth of the underbelly of sales has met with silence. Apparently, the hype is true. I’m really excited to be a part of a company that really wants to serve with excellence and integrity.

*do what you have to do to make the sale, tick the box and move on

Those wishing for a deeper answer, read on.

The best way to describe it is to relate it to being in another country. My new coworkers speak a different language, dress differently, and generally live in a different rhythm than I know. Like a missionary that never thought she would end up in some remote village in the middle of India, I never thought Jesus would lead me into the corporate world. After 7 years of non-profit work and 2 years of being poor, it doesn’t seem like a natural fit for me. He gave me a heart for young people, families, and unreached people groups, allowed me to know the hardship of living in poverty, and then dropped me right in the middle of rich people that use words like profit margin and fiscal year. As I write this, I am shaking my head at how ridiculous and counterintuitive this step seems. And that is exactly why I know it’s where Jesus wants me. How do you know Jesus is leading you somewhere? Well, if it makes no sense at all, you’re probably on the right track. (take proverbial grain of salt) Maybe this is just a new application for the idea of not putting new wine in old wine skins. I am new. He has changed me. I am new wine. And in His wisdom, He is pouring me into new wine skins – a new culture of unreached people. It serves me right for asking Him to keep me dependant on Him.

Still I’m left with questions. Can I do this? I’m not exactly a gadgety kind of girl. The side of the brain that understands technology has been dormant in me since I gave up trying to figure out how to play with the Atari mom and dad got us when Reagan was still in office. I keep hearing that it takes 6 months to get a clue and about 12 months to get any good at it. But what if it never clicks? Yep. Dependency.

Speaking of clicking…Will people like me? What if I’m like that girl trying out for American Idol? You know the one. She’s heard how great she can sing from everyone she knows. But all evidence points to an apparent epidemic of tone deafness among those in her circle. People that know me tell me that I’m gifted and that I have something special to offer. But what if, when in front of a real panel of judges, my personality is chronically pitchy? I’m not cool. Well, not in the traditional sense. I know that. I know people who always have the right clothes, say the right thing, and seem to navigate their environment effortlessly. I am not that person. After one week, I am painfully aware of how different I am, and I don’t like it. I want to be all things to all people, but how to I stay true to who I am and still adapt to this new culture? Seriously. Tell me because I don’t know. That sounded way more spiritual that it really is. The underlying truth is that I want people to like me. I know that I can be an acquired taste. It takes a while for people to understand how I see the world. So I’ve decided to lay low and try to learn my new environment before I introduce them to the circus that is Cheryl. I mean, they’ve not even discovered angry Scotsman voice yet. I’m afraid I might be holding my cards a little too close though. I have a sign in my office that reads “Help Wanted. No Irish Need Apply.” In the lower corner, the sign is dates September 11, 1915. The sign gives homage to my heritage while serving as a little irony. I realized the irony didn’t translate when Fitzgerald (I don’t know his first name) stopped by to meet “the girl who doesn’t like the Irish.” Crap. On a side note, he and I have bonded enough that I call him Fitzy, and he promised to correct the misunderstanding with the boys in Tech Support.

I am digressing. A lot.

Then there’s the whole issue of money. I met with a financial planner yesterday. I figure that since I have finances now, I should probably plan how to use them. But saving for retirement? I don’t want to retire. The idea of living now to finance a condo on the beach that I would live in 30 years from now is ludicrous to me. It’s just not something I’ve ever wanted. That being said, I’ve spent too much time this week thinking about all of the fun things I’ve missed out on in the last two years, and about how I can enjoy them now. But in the last two years, I’ve also learned how happy I can be with so little. How do I marry these things?

Despite wondering how I will learn to live in this new country called corporate America, I keep coming back to what Jesus said to me. He brought me here. He promised to keep me aware of my dependency. This is the mission field I am assigned. And if get off track and distracted by all the shiny things, I know His grace will pull me back in line. Feel free to be used by Him if you see my heart wandering…

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5 Responses to The long and short of “How was your first week?”

  1. Levi says:

    Hey hey- so glad that the week has gone well, i know that this is super exciting!!!! i would offer my 1.17 pence in saying: don’t worry bout anything – u are awesome, and though it may take people a while to realize the full extent of your awesomeness, that is because of their selfcentredness rather than your uncoolness 🙂 So, you’re already “the who doesn’t like irish” eh? Hilarious! In spite of danger of sounding like a self occupied prig, i remember my first week working at Diamond in oxford, which, incidentally was also my first week living on my own, and i was so uncomfortable and anxious about fitting in and all- but give it time, and u’ll thrive 🙂 Love from LDN-
    Levi

  2. cheryl says:

    ahh. i love you too! thanks for the words!

  3. patty says:

    the circle that is cheryl.

    all i can say is it’s so nice to be connected with another girl who feels this way. i love you. and sure enough. the people in your new crowd will see the lights of a very cool jesus hanging out and in and around you. he’s the one catching eyes – how cool that he’s using you to do it. as for the money. keep me posted on how it feels to have some 😉 and amen to your anti-retirement dreams. wonder what you’ll be planting now for then… and where it will be…

    i LOVE you.

    (angry scotsman voice and all…. especially angry scotsman voice)

  4. patty says:

    eh hm. circle was supposed to be circus.

  5. Hope Clark says:

    Cheryl,
    So glad to hear it’s going well! I mean… marginally productive with a potential of proven progress. Listen to “Love Song” by Jason Morant. Read Isaiah 51:12-13. Be excited…He’s taking you somewhere incredible.

    P.S. New definition of retire: To put on new tires and go back out again.

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