Saturday, August 29, 2009

How NOT to be a friend...

I have a theory that everyone has a box. I call it the Box of Greatness. Some people's box is very small because their belief and confidence in themselves is very small. They have boundaries and limits that they've placed on themselves and they walk around with their very small box. They say things like 'Oh no, I can NEVER do that. It will never happen.'

Some people have a box that's in the middle. They tend to play it safe sometimes and risky other times. They say things like 'Wow, I WISH I could do that. I wish I knew how to make it happen.'

Some people, however, have a very large box, I'm talking huge. They don't see boundaries or limitations. They have a goal, they make a plan and they go for it. They just take the plunge, jump right in. They say things like 'Wow, HOW can I do that? What plan will make it happen?'

All of my friends would agree I'm in the third category (I know this because they tell me this all the time. Even my co-workers tell me this). My Box of Greatness is very large. I come up with a crazy idea, I figure out how to do it and I do it. Sometimes I've done very silly things because of this personality trait but most times it's served me well. I've had an interesting life because of it.

Related to this theory is my second theory that people can only see their box. If your box is large, you only see your box, even when you converse with other people. You see your limitless, endless potential and believe everyone else has a limitless, endless potential as well. You try to impress this upon them.

If your box is small, you only see your box. You see your limitations and believe everyone else has these same limitations so you try to impress your boundaries upon everyone else. People in this category have small experiences and they assume everyone else will have small experiences too.

I mention this because, yesterday, at my final day at work, one gentlemen whom I speak with on a regular basis made some very discouraging remarks and it reminded me of my theory of the Box of Greatness.

Him: Wow, so you're going to school full-time for your Master of Occupational Therapy. Going to school full-time is a lot of work.

Me: Yeah it is a lot of work! I'm really looking forward to it. I'm very excited! It's gonna be fun.

Him: Yeah, it's a ton of work. You're gonna get burnt out.

Me: What?! No, I'm not. I LOVE school. I've worked hard to get here and I've been through worse than this. It will be a lot of work but I wouldn't say I'm going to get burnt out.

Him: Yes, you are. All those classes, going to school every day, studying every day. It's different from going to work every day. You're going to get burnt out.

(insert comment here: He's never been to grad school and yet he can give me NEGATIVE advice...I think my theory will manifest itself in this conversation....)

Me: No way. Don't put your limitations on me. Speak for yourself. I'm NOT going to get burnt out because I love this subject and I love this field. I've spoken with lots of students and yes it is a LOT of work but people do it. You just have to manage your time and pace yourself.

Him: Nah, you're gonna get burnt out---

Me: You know what? Don't come over here to MY desk with this negative energy. Now you're irritating me and I'm serious. If you're only going to give negative words and energy then don't say anything at all to me about it because I don't wanna hear it. How are you gonna tell me I'm gonna get burnt out?

Him: Whoa. Who are you? What have you done with Kim? Why are you getting so upset?

Me: Because you're putting YOUR limitations on ME and I don't appreciate that. Don't speak for me. I can speak for myself. I'm not gonna get burnt out.

Liz (my co-worker/replacement): I don't think Kim is the type of person to get burnt out. She's very high-energy...

Him: Yeah, high energy or not. She's gonna get burnt-out.

(Boss man comes out his office) Boss man: Hey guys, what's going on here?

Me: He's saying I'm going to get burnt out at school and I disagree with that.

Boss man: seems to me you'd get more burnt out at work than at school. Work can be very stressful. At least at school you have long-stretches of vacation...


Him: Yeah, that makes sense. You don't get a lot of vacation at work...

What?! This conversation was VERY frustrating to me. VERY. I HATE when people put me in their super-small, extra-tiny, diminutive boxes. Just because you don't think YOU can do it doesn't me I don't think I can do it. As I spoke with him, I was instantly reminded of my Box of Greatness theory. His box is small so he can't see past that box. My box is larger than his so I can't see how he can think so small. If boss man hadn't come out with his opinion and Liz hadn't given hers I would have gotten up and walked away from this conversation. (note: This guy and I are still cool but this conversation was worth writing about because it vexed me so...).

Why he H-E-double-hockey-sticks would I want to hear something so...TERRIBLE?! I have never heard anyone say something so forcefully negative about my going to school. He is the first person to be so forcefully negative and insist something so terrible on me. "You're going to get burnt out. YES YOU ARE."



1 comment:

  1. He might, deep down under his negative energy, be jealous. And even if he isn't - I jsut read in readers digest that pessimistic people die 10 years earlier on average, so you have 10 extra years on him, haha. Seriously, yes grad school is hard, and if you weren't passionate about it, you probably would burn out. But you ARE passionate and its an amazing field and so INTERESTING and I LOVED IT :) Even when it was freaking hard. Even when it was stressful. It was the most fun I've ever had in school, even though it wasn't easy. So just forgive the negative people - show htem their grace -for they just have never encountered something they care about enough, to understand. You are the lucky one.