Having dinner with an old friend who’s on the verge of retirement and facing all the yes-I-can’t-wait / what-the-hell-will-I-do-all-day issues that I went through, I relived the emotions I felt at the time and assessed the sneaky ones that caught me off guard afterward.
I’ve always seen myself as a self-sufficient woman. That translated as “not the best team player” over the years. I’m not sure if it’s my inherent nature or my show business training, but I distinctly remember a college instructor in one of my dance classes saying, “Find a way to get in and don’t ever take ‘no’ for an answer. Get yourself up front.” I’ve always striven to get myself up front, to stand out.
Individuality is expected, and accepted, in the show business environment but not so much in the business world. I found that I butted heads over and over with people who wanted acquiescence and nothing more. In fact, a supervisor once light-heartedly told me she’d fired more people than she could remember because she “just wanted people to get along.” What that told me was that if you disagreed with her on anything at all, she wouldn’t try to see if you had a valid point of view; she would brand you a dissenter with a negative attitude and before you knew it, you’d be out the door. I tried to tread carefully around her but was not always successful so I have a pretty good idea what the behind the scenes chatter was once I retired.
Did I have a negative attitude? Probably. The thing is, mine was no worse than most of my associates but I was more vocal. My bad.
Why “my bad?” You know, it’s funny. I found myself wishing some of those people weren’t glad I was gone. I can’t tell you why. Maybe it’s human nature to want to be liked. However, what I have to remind myself of is that my personality would never have made me popular because I seldom played within the lines. I have to learn to be okay with that because, truth be known, I still think my lines were more interesting.