When I was first switched over to my current boss a little over 2 years ago, he got a motley crew of employees. I jokingly referred to us as the “land of misfit toys” because there was (largely) no relation among our duties. After the royal cock up that was my former co-worker and my promotion, things were quickly refined. I told you that story to tell you this story.
Since my promotion in December, I’ve slowly been given more and more responsibilities. As of two weeks ago, one of my indirect reports put in her notice. Given the scope of her job and how my boss and his boss wanted to see it evolve, it was decided the position would report directly to me. That’s now 4 direct reports and 2 indirect reports. The most recent departure left behind a pile of crap and very, very poor instructions on how to deal with it. When people ask what she did, I usually stare at them blankly. At least in the case of the twins (my nickname for my 2 direct reports who currently do my old job), I can say definitively what they do. Funnily enough, the position they ostensibly promoted me to, is the side I know the least about. It doesn’t seem like anyone has a good idea what’s going on. At least I’m not alone. Now it’s more a pair of misfit toys than an entire land. I’m getting some serious on the job training trying to figure out how I’m going to train her replacement. I spent a good 2 hours on Friday trying to figure out how to do one task. Much like when the idea for a good retort comes after the argument ends, I figured out what I was doing wrong as I walked out of the building. *facepalm*
I don’t know about you, faithful readers, but I’ve always been a misfit in the best sense of the term. I was never part of the popular crowd. Even before I had all the tattoos and distinctive style (hard to do when one wears a uniform), I was memorable. When I was working DragonCon, the only “sell out” crowd in our ballroom was for Natalia Tena (Tonks from Harry Potter and Osha from Game of Thrones). When it came time for the Q & A, a girl who looked to be about 13 asked Natalia how to deal with being “weird” or “an outsider”. After a moment, she told the girl not to care what anyone else thinks. If people think you’re weird, different, or flat out crazy, that’s not your problem. Remembering very clearly what it was like to be an outsider when I was 13, it may have been tough advice for this girl to digest. I first moved to Atlanta when I was 12. I started at a school where most of the kids had been going to school together since kindergarten or first grade. There were 2 other girls who were also new that year & we bonded simply because no one else really wanted to be friends with us. I’m still friends with one of those girls 17 years later. That’s not to say the other kids were flat out mean, just that they had little interest in expanding their social circles. Once we got into high school, the playing field evened out a bit. The three of us expanded into a group of 10 or 12 equally off beat personalities. Again, I’m still friends with most of them to this day. J & I mused recently that we’re about to hit our equilibrium. We’ve known each other half our lives this year. I hope that girl from DragonCon takes Natalia’s advice to heart. There’s nothing wrong with letting your freak flag fly. Nobody’s perfect no matter how hard they try to believe they are. I would much rather be memorable than fade into the sea of cookie cutter popular kids no one can remember clearly.
Here’s to all the misfits, the people who fly by the seat of their pants, the weird kids, the memorable personalities, and anyone else who thinks they might be crazy. Don’t worry. You aren’t.