May 19, 2016: BIG Mistake

Two days of accumulated heels after another 'hard days work'
These boots were made for walking...

But what about the stilettos?

I am back to work. And with this leap, the yoga pants and gym shorts (with my corresponding accessories of piggy tails) have much less made their way into my dirty clothes basket. Instead, my many fancy heels and closet full of dress-up wardrobe choices have been unleashed.

Matched with the many work opportunities that are raining in on me, I do feel a bit like the clip out of the movie, Pretty Woman.

Julia Roberts plays the naive, but authentic character, Vivian. After meeting the illustrious Richard Gere character, Edward, she is trying to make her way in the world. A favorite scene in the the movie is Vivian trying her hand at shopping on Rodeo Drive.

Every woman or man over the the age of 40 knows this scene and can connect with the feeling in that moment of the movie.

(first shopping scene of the movie) Julia walks in the store wearing the wrong clothes and carrying herself as a 'misfit' in the high rent shopping district. She is publicly dissed by the uppity sales associates who couldn't get Julia out of their store fast enough.

Judgmental. Elitist. Unkind.

The following day Julia is 'dolled up', now fitting the part of high class shopper. She looks like Rodeo clientele, walking back into the same store that had previously dissed her.

Julia: Do you remember me?

Uptight sales associate: No, I'm sorry.

Julia: I was in here yesterday. You wouldn't wait on me. <pregnant pause>

Uptight sales associate: Oh...

Julia: You work on commission, right?

Uptight sales associate: Ah....yes.

Julia: BIG mistake. Huge. I have to go shopping now... <leaves the store with other expensive store bags in hand>

And just so I can emphasize the awesomeness of these scenes and add a little nostalgia for my 40-something friends, here is the original film clip....

Now, let's be honest with ourselves. We can all connect. Although the situations are different, we have had that moment of being dissed and then fighting to win back respect. And in those situations where no one experienced it with us, we all felt the audience of the common man (woman) cheering us on; the cheers of the Pretty Woman audience as we walk away with our heads held high out of our own imaginary store.

My Pretty Woman story of late involves my leaving a job. Having a bit of an exit interview, I met with a stakeholder in the organization. As I tried to make sense of what just happened over the last few days, he continued to emphasize to me that he was my meal ticket to future employment. Basically that I had no future without him.

Thank-you, Mom and Dad, for raising me both to have confidence in myself and to not feel intimidated by others. <public service announcement for all the great parents who empower their children to stick up for themselves regardless of social status or perceived power>

During this historical coffee chat, I tried to have a productive conversation, reflecting on the past while trying to best decipher the future. My appointed mentor continued to emphasize that I wouldn't be able to find a job in Omaha without his help. Confused after the third time of his repeating this same message (and my being a bit foggy and defiant), I finally thanked him for his offering of help (Mom and Dad also taught me to be polite).

Then I clearly pointed out that his concern for me was not matched with my own.

"I appreciate your concern, but if I'm not worried, you shouldn't be worried. Thank-you for your offer to help. If I need it, I will let you know."

And then I walked out the door. We haven't talked since.

Fast forward to today.

My life is full of great work and opportunities. It's hard to pick and choose. And some just plain give me the Julia Roberts giggles.

I can't emphasize enough how fulfilling life is when working with those who share the same values and goals. The cup continues to runneth over as I keep reminding myself that it is now my responsibility to pay it forward.

Rest assured, we can all do it on our own with grit, integrity, and a zest for shooting for the best. No one holds the golden key to our future, no matter how much they try to convince us otherwise.

Rise above and forge your own way while making the 'BIG mistakes' into your own opportunities.

(and it's okay to smile a big Julia Roberts smile on your way out the door....)


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