At one point in my university career, one of my managers at my part-time job gave me a piece of advice that, at the time, I wanted to post in a location where I could see it, and be reminded of it, every day.
We had been discussing a situation that I was unhappy in, and S. offered this piece of advice.
“Just remember that those people are compensating for something.”
It’s a common enough thought, but it sounded so perfect coming from her.
I didn’t work with the other manager, J., as long as I did with S., but J. was good at knowing what you sometimes needed to hear, and if he had something to say that you didn’t want to hear, at least he could put it nicely.
When I quit because I was leaving Calgary, J. and I were talking about my new job and that despite the fact I was OK with living in a smaller town, no doubt there would be some adjustments.
He told me to consider it slaying the dragons — paying my dues.
I was thinking about that yesterday when I was sitting on the side of Highway 16, just outside of Edmonton.
I had a flat tire, and yes, everything turned out OK in the end, but it wasn’t much fun during — first of all, once you get over the initial shock of ‘Hm, I have a flat tire and no, I’m not going to get to go where I want to go when I want to go,’ there’s the big semis whipping by, the jerk contract mechanic that AMA sends out (for the record, the actual AMA guy on the phone was really nice), the stress of trying to find someone open on a holiday Monday to replace a tire, and then the added stress of trying to find a friend in Edmonton to pick up their phone so I could stay the night because no one is open on a holiday Monday to repair a tire.
Like I said, everything turned out OK. I mean, c’mon, it’s a flat tire near Edmonton. It could have been a lot worse in so many ways. But at the time, it really did feel like a 25-foot (just a baby), firebreathing dragon.