Tag: self-esteem

Are You An Attorney?

I was asked this question yesterday. I suppose I looked like one with my tie neatly tied and walking the hall like I belonged there.

This was an odd exchange and I have not been asked this before.

When I answered that I was not, the expression on the man’s face changed drastically to one of disgust as if he had been talking to the help.

No, I am not an attorney and I don’t play one on TV.

In my younger days I might have been offended by the man’s response but today I know who I am and what I do. I don’t need a title. I have worked in a support role for my entire career. This role has been very good to me. While those with the titles get the attention, I have always been proud to make them look good and be part of the team. I remember once when I was asked to go with a group to conduct an inspection of an Air National Guard unit in the Virgin Islands, my supervisor made it clear that we were there to work first and then we could enjoy whatever time we had left. I respected him for that and I put my all into doing my part. In fact, I recall everyone doing their job and when everyone did their part we were all rewarded with time to enjoy the island.

I think it is important to know your role and be the best you can be. I used to try to compete with other colleagues in my field but quickly learned that I didn’t need to do that. Just do what I do.

This week begins my 28th year with my current employer. I have been in the support role of many attorneys. I am not ashamed of that role and have been happy with the many experiences I have had over the years.

So, I’m not going to be bothered with someone acting like I’m something they have stepped in because I am not an attorney or anyone important to them. I don’t have time for the condescending game. I’m not playing it. Bye Felecia. Go find your attorney. Just don’t surprised when the time comes when you need me.

Funny how things change when you are needed isn’t it? Someone can’t give you the time of day but when they need something, suddenly they need you. Yes, I have had that happen many times. The best way to react is just to be the same. Don’t try to prove anything to anyone. Just be the professional at what you do.

Oh, I have dealt with many instances of condescending situations. I will be honest and tell you it hurts but not as much as it has in the past. I have learned that if you do things to seek the approval of others that you will never do it. You can say “yes” and always volunteer for everyone and everything but the one time you say “no” or let something slide, that’s the only thing people will remember. That one disappointment wipes out the many things you’ve done before.

I don’t have time for that anymore.

People probably think I’m rather eccentric. Good. Keep them guessing. I am who I am. It’s funny how others get a free pass because “that’s how they are” yet when YOU exercise that same theme somehow you are the bad guy.

Nope. Not on my watch.

People have called me moody before too. Yes, I admit I am at times. Sometimes I am not good at filtering as I am at other times. Honestly sometimes I don’t feel like doing it. Dealing with some folks just takes too much work.

Sure, maybe I am moody and eccentric but I know who I am and I know I’m not an attorney. Deal with that strange guy in the hall!


Only You Can Be You


Be yourself.

I have heard that quote for most of my life.   It’s good when you can be yourself but, honestly, sometimes we don’t feel comfortable with being ourselves.  There are always people who are going to be smarter than us or with more life experiences than we do.  It can be intimidating if we let it.

Be yourself because no one else can be you.

I laugh because I wonder if anyone else really wants to be me.  I can be a little quirky about things.  I like to have a plan and I like to be on time for things.  I know that can drive people crazy that know me.  The good thing about being me is that I have someone that knows me and it doesn’t drive her crazy.  She gets me.  We all need at least one person who gets us.

I often watch how people act because most of the time I am an observer.  (Yes, that’s obviously another one of my quirks.)   It is interesting how some people change who they are according to the group they are with.  I’m sure there is some kind of psychiatric definition for people who do that.   I call them chameleons because they change their colors according to the environment they are in.

I also see people, especially in the work place, who love to stir up drama.  They will fuss and complain about it but they are not happy unless they have someone stirred up about something.  The drama gives them something to their lives.  This kind of person really puzzles me.  They often complain about the drama when THEY are the ones that created it in the first place.

I think a lot of times people are just not comfortable with being themselves.  They either aren’t happy with themselves or need some sort of affirmation by being someone they are not.  It’s a two-edged sword when you spend your life trying to please others.  It’s a game that you never win because ultimately you will succeed at pleasing no one.  Changing you to please someone only hurts you.  You lose your own identity to be the person you were intended to be.

You have something to offer and you are important.  I hate it when I get in a group of people and the first thing they will ask you is “what do you do?”   This is an instant mental classification process that people do in their minds.  What you do isn’t who you are.   Does it matter if I am a janitor or the CEO of a large company?  You don’t know my story or who I am by just knowing what I do for a living.

I often find myself around people who are smarter than me.  I try not to be self-conscious about that and I will add to the conversation when I feel I have something to contribute but I’m certainly not going to be intimidated by it.  Although I may not know anything about how to fix a carburetor on a car, if they conversation turns to football I am probably likely to know something about that.  I think we get caught up in trying to fit in rather that just be who we are.

It’s important that we respect each other and understand that we will have differences in opinions about various subjects.  Two of the most heated subjects are often politics and religion.  I try to stay off of those subjects because I know how people get about those issues.  We tend to SAY we want people to be themselves until they do not agree with some of these subjects.  It seems to be okay to allow someone to be themselves until they don’t agree with our side of certain issues.  You are allowed to have an opinion aren’t you?   Granted, some people have a opinion but not based on the facts or a strong basis on what they believe.  It’s very difficult to debate anyone like that.

I can tell you I spent a lot of time understanding why I believe some things that I believe.  I have had to question if I have my point of view because it is my point of view or is it something I have been told to believe?  It’s funny how we easily adopt things to believe simply because someone told us to believe them that way.  When I talk about beliefs here I’m not just referring to religious or political beliefs but those two are largely ones that are a challenge.

Yes, believe it or not I have my own opinions.  That doesn’t make me wrong, that makes me who I am.   I once had a person in my life who was a royal pain in the behind.  She was always critical of me and my motives.  It was a very negative charged environment when she was around.  I finally had to get to the point of reminding myself that her opinion of me didn’t matter.  That was her opinion.  Just because she had an opinion didn’t mean she was right.  If you are going to be yourself, you have to rise above what others think.  Believe me, that’s a very difficult hurdle to clear.  The haters are going to hate.  We have to deal with it and move on.

While I like being myself, I don’t over exaggerate it either at the expense of others.  What I mean by this is that some will say:  “That’s how I am and I don’t give a (bleep) what people think!”   Yes, we can be ourselves but we don’t need to take it that far.  If people don’t like who you are you can remove yourself either physically or mentally from the situation.  There’s no point in fighting about it.  It drives me crazy when people excuse bad behavior with a blanket excuse of “that’s how they are” or “that’s how they were raised”.   No, sorry, that’s not being you.  That’s an out for being a jerk face.  Being yourself isn’t a license to do whatever you want without regards to others.

One thing I want to be is consistent.   I want people to know that I am the same Milton in any situation.  I am who I am and they can count on that.  I am the only person I know to be.  It’s a lot easier than trying to pretend to be someone I am not.