Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lucky Bamboo

When I finally graduated from college (it took me a while), I received a beautiful lucky bamboo plant from a friend of our family. There were seven perfect bamboo stalks tucked away into black river rocks, in a pretty ceramic container. That was a little over four years ago.

I've put that bamboo on the desk of each job I've had since then. The first job lasted about a year. The people were nice, and so were the customers. I just hated the actual work. There was a lot of travel involved, and I was in a new relationship and didn't want to be away from the nest. So I quit. The bamboo was still doing well while I was between jobs. It was growing new shoots and it had a nice, healthy green color.

The next job was for a very prominent electronics company. I was one of about 100 customer support reps who helped people figure out how to work the $1000 piece of equipment they just bought. It was an awesome company with awesome products. The customers, however, were complete assholes. As I drove to work each morning, 30 minutes on the highway, I would have tears in my eyes because I hated it so much. I only lasted there about three months. I also developed a nasty phobia of highway driving. The bamboo, however, was still going strong.

The very day I decided to quit job #2, I got a phone call regarding a resume I'd submitted nine months earlier. The company was very well respected, and I'd been applying for every job that came up there for a long time. So, I was really excited to get that call. I started working there about a month later. It's been two and a half years, and I'm still at the same place. Sadly, the bamboo isn't doing too well. I lost three stalks a few months ago, and this morning I think another one died. Only three are left.

My bamboo plant is the only plant I have, and I've grown rather attached to it. When I saw that yellow stalk this morning, I became very sad. As silly as it sounds, I almost cried.

This bamboo is supposed to be lucky. The idea is that you put it in a place where you want good fortune to come your way. If there's anywhere I need good luck, it's at my job in customer service. I answer emails and phone calls regarding customers' memberships to our services. These people aren't calling or writing me to tell me how awesome our company and services are. They're telling us- they're telling ME- that they're unhappy and it's MY fault.

If you work in customer service, you know how much stress and tension this can cause. With each person who gets angry with me, I get so anxious that I feel like ten minutes has just been taken from the end of my life. Also, being a professional punching bag is demeaning. Some people have told me I need to develop a thicker skin. I just think people need to stop being assholes to complete strangers (me).

My lucky bamboo clearly isn't bringing me luck at work anymore, so tomorrow I'm bringing it home.

I know some people I work with read this blog, so let me just say I have no immediate plans of quitting. But, my future has been on my mind lately. I've been considering going back to school to become a nutritionist, or perhaps even a personal trainer or some kind of weight loss coach. Since I've lost this weight, I finally feel like I have something I can offer the world.

When I talk about nutrition, exercise, and getting fit, I become passionate, animated, and engaged. When I sit at my current desk job and answer emails, I type the words "we apologize for any inconvenience" over and over and over. Which sounds better to you?

Before, it was about finding the job that would make me the least miserable. Now, I believe it's possible for me, and my bamboo, to find something we really, truly enjoy. Wish us luck.


mongolove said...

....a greenhouse, maybe? ;)

(awesome post)

G.G. said...

Good luck! Definitely pursue something you enjoy. Customer service is a tough, tough biz.

abby suzanne said...

Hi Morgan,
I have read your blog a few times and I love it - I am on PT too.
I quit my miserable sales job after working there for two years after college to go back to school for nursing. It is no fun being poor and a student again, but I am a happier person and there is an end in sight. I definately recommend going for it! Good luck.
ps - my bamboo is dying too - it perks up when I put it near the sunshine though (which is far away from my desk).