My Victim Story…

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Last month I had an interesting conversation with a close friend. That conversation ended with them basically telling me that in my personal blog entries I was playing the victim. I was shocked! How could me being open, honest, and vulnerable be perceived as playing the victim. So I went back and reread those blogs, and you know what? They were right!

Now in my defense almost any story told from your perspective is going to paint the picture of a victim. That is, if you don’t change up some of the language. In those blogs it looks like I’m blaming the other party for how my life has turned out. Truth is I’m 100% responsible for everything that’s gone down with my ex and the jobs that didn’t work out. If anyone out there reading my blogs has felt like I’ve attacked them or their character. Know that that was not my intention and I apologize. This brings up a good topic though.

How do you avoid playing the victim?

Let me tell you a couple of stories… A handful of years back, I was working at a big box retailer called Lowe’s. I had worked there for 7+ years. And I had seen quite a few people and managers come and go through the building. In my last year there, we had a management shake-up. A couple managers were demoted / fired and our store manager was promoted. This resulted in a new manager taking over the store. This new manager was the worst!

From the first week it was obvious that things would not remain the same. For starters he was a huge micro-manager, always in everyone’s business. To top it off he always talked to us like he was suspicious. Very few Associates liked him.

Then the firings started…

Our last manager wasn’t super strict but this one was. The company had plenty of policies that weren’t followed by the previous leadership team. This guy wasn’t having it. My undoing was their attendance policy. Under the policy if you got 12 strikes inside of a year you could be terminated. If you were late to work or came back from lunch late, that was a strike. If you left work early even with management approval, that was a strike. If you called out sick that was a strike.

Back then I wasn’t exactly a morning person and we opened at 6 a.m. As you can imagine I racked up 12 strikes in no time. SO I was fired. Truth be told I think he was trying to have me fired.

Unemployment sucks! It took 8 months to find another job. This new job eventually led me to Vegas.

Working in Vegas was awesome!

Seriously visiting and living in Vegas are two different experiences. My job consisted of helping train a sales team for a marketing company. It was quite the struggle given the new demographic. Plus, it was my first time as a manager. My sales numbers were always consistent and my team usually did well in the field. I had nothing to stress over. Then in June / July I had a series of bad rotations.

Try as I might I couldn’t turn my numbers around. One week on a rotation in Arizona I was struggling. To my surprise my boss randomly showed up. I wish I could say he came to help me “crack the code,” he wasn’t. He came to “talk” to me and in so many words told me he couldn’t afford to keep me on board… I was fired me on the spot.

I wasn’t too surprised my numbers were especially low that week and I knew it. There was one thing that didn’t sit well with me. When I went to Arizona I was only sent with enough product to last a few days not a full two week rotation. Plus I was selling a $100 weight-loss supplement in Bullhead, Arizona AKA Laughlin, Nevada.
If you’ve never been, this area is a small vacation town on the river. Not exactly somewhere where people need to buy weight-loss drinks. It was almost like I was set up for failure!

Common ground

In both stories the common theme is “my boss was out to ‘get’ me.” These are victim stories. For a while I told these stories just like that. Most people wouldn’t even question me, in fact they often agreed I was targeted. Likely resonating with similar feelings from past experiences.

There are three sides to a story: yours, mine, and the truth…

Truth be told I could’ve avoided being fired from both jobs. My last 6 months at Lowe’s were my worst 6 months as an employee ever. You see I had got it in my head that network marketing was going to make me rich! Every minute I spent there was a wasted minute that I could be using to grow my business. Network marketing killed my belief in a job kinda like how older kids killed my belief in Santa.

In the 8 years I worked there I had been on my final warning for attendance twice. It’s not easy to go a whole year without attendance issues but I came back from a final warning both times. This third time should’ve been no different. Except it was, I didn’t want to come back from this warning. I wanted to quit but didn’t have the courage to. This manifested as repeatedly being late. One month I was late 15 times. Keep in mind at the time I lived 10 minutes from work… by bike!

I had been given many chances but I forced the hand of my employer. I wasn’t even surprised when I got called into the office. Instead I wondered why it took so long to finally get called out. I wasn’t sad I was a bit relieved that I didn’t have to go back. So much so I even went for a bike ride when I got home.

I lost control…

In Vegas I let doubt get the best of me. The last couple of months there there were many nights I came home feeling defeated. Negative self-talk was a constant struggle. Even though I had started out doing well I was no longer leading by example. That problem started to affect my team AND the whole office. Things got so bad that one day I got so pissed at myself that I stopped selling anything halfway through my day.

I was a liability at that point, I HAD to be let go. I’m not even mad about it. I know I brought it upon myself and I know that business needs come before personal needs. That rotation in Arizona was an opportunity to prove I was an asset to the company. I could have sold out and had a new product to sell the next day. But instead I caved in the face of the challenge.

Moving on…

I spent quite some time believing my victim story. I imagine many people do as well. What I found out was that in doing so I was preventing myself from moving forward. I spent so much time blaming others for my unhappiness and my situation that I couldn’t see other opportunities in front of me.

When we play the victim we keep old wounds open. This causes so much pain in the present that it’s like reliving the trauma over and over again. Now that I’m a bit wiser I know this to be a mistake. By accepting responsibility over my life / decisions, I was able to find peace and move on. Take it from me it’s not easy to make that shift but once you do, there will be nothing that can hold you back.

If you’re reading this and struggling with your own story, I hope my revelations will help you find peace in your life. Feel free to reach out to me if you ever need help getting to that point.

See you soon!

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