The Principle of Patience
A Personal Story (Part 1)
Where it Began
My story in patience is an on-going tale. We are constantly changing, learning, as people. There is always room for improvement, and as we progress in our lives, we often reflect back on the person we “used to” be, as that change is ever-present. Especially in the pursuit of self-betterment, these small shifts remain a constant. While our stories have open ended conclusions, this particular segment taught me a valuable lesson in the virtue of patience, and that is what I wish to share with you today.
Here is a little background on how it all began….
I had moved away from my parents for the first time in my life. I started a new job, in a new state- living with my partner- all first-time experiences for me. It was an adventure, and I was thrilled to be along for the ride. While the new job was not my dream job, I was still so glad to have landed what felt like an ideal scenario; I was expanding my skillset, making friends, and acting independently. As an added bonus, my commute was only 10 minutes long- less, if I hit all the green lights! I was happy.
I will admit to a certain level of naivety here; I was on the younger side of professional experience. There were certain warning signs that were unclear to me at the time that, perhaps, I was not in the right place afterall.
A new job is like a new relationship; you start out putting your absolute best forward. This goes not only for me, the new employee, but for the job itself. I was presented with the best case scenarios when I joined this new team. Overtime, pieces of this idealistic depiction began to crumble. It took me months to recognize that my feeling of happiness and excitement had shifted to dread and disappointment.
I value hard work. I wanted to be a part of a team with the same motivation that I felt: to do my best. I wanted to feel like I played an important role in this business, to be a part of progression. I wanted to be a part of a group with high standards for work ethic and integrity. When I finally recognized the way I was feeling was no longer positive, I was forced to identify the source of my disappointment:
- There was little to no growth opportunity.
- I felt like an outsider (to the extent that my home-made packed vegetarian lunches became an ongoing joke in my department).
- The culture of the company was negative and dishonest.
- It felt like my time belonged to someone else; and I would be punished when I had to put myself first.
The First Test in Patience
Here’s what I haven’t told you yet: I was working in a call center for a home service company. The very industry Power Selling Pros caters to. As I continue my story, I’d like you as the reader, whether you’re a CSR, supervisor, or the owner of your own service business, to consider your virtues and how your work impacts the lives of the people around you.
Move on: confrontation was not my favorite form of communication. However, I realized it was necessary, and I am not the type to shirk away from responsibility. I wanted to work together with my superiors and find a balance. So, I requested a one-on-one meeting with my team-lead and the call center manager. I requested one…twice…five times….
Here lies my first test in patience; by the time our meeting finally happened, nearly 3 months had gone by since my initial request.
You may be wondering, why, when it was clear that I was unhappy, did I choose to wait for this meeting- why not explore other options? To begin with, there is a level of convenience in sticking to what you’re familiar with, and what is already in front of you. I already had this job; finding a new one is difficult, and takes time. Building on that, I did not want to risk a lapse in income. I was a really good CSR, and I did have a level of satisfaction in my competence.
In addition, I genuinely felt that a balance could be achieved. I was confident that, with some connection to those above me and my concerns expressed, we could find a solution and progress forward as a cohesive team. That motivation and trust gave me reason to wait it out. On those bad days, I would remind myself- something better is on the way, I am willing to put in the work to accomplish it. Have patience, and it will come.
A Loss of Trust
Alas, when the meeting did come nearly 3 months later – my trust was shattered. It is a vulnerable thing to admit when you are sad. It is difficult to show that despite this unhappiness, you are willing to change or work harder, to make the situation better. (Not just for yourself, but for everyone involved.) This is what I expressed.
The response I received was discouraging in every way. The four concerns I had pinpointed became worse as a result in the days following the meeting.
It was at this point that I felt my patience was no longer serving me. What had patience accomplished for me, aside from work-related anxiety and a waste of time?
I gave a month’s notice; while I wanted to leave sooner, I knew the team was short staffed. These were my friends and colleagues, and I did not want to leave anyone feeling overwhelmed. Despite the urge to run away, I chose to leave by putting my best self out there, one last time.
After a month, I left. And I did not look back.
This is a gentle lesson to leaders in the workplace how your influence is a powerful thing. The way you lead and communicate with your team impacts them every single day. A fantastic supervisor versus a disassociated manager can make or break a team; your CSR’s are the first line of presentation to draw in customers (and by extension, profit). It is valuable to recognize their needs and find a fair balance to ensure your foundation is sturdy…before your team hits a breakpoint.
When a virtue is broken, such as patience, trust, compassion, or confidence- it becomes much more challenging to rebuild the relationship we may have once had with these principles. I was hurt by this experience. Patience had led me nowhere. Trust had let me down. My confidence had been shaken. With these virtues stripped from my professional world, little did I know, my next trial in patience, would be harder than ever.