I really thought I was more self-aware than this. I thought myself more evolved but apparently I was wrong. The other day in casual conversation someone asked me what I do and I said that I was just a secretary.
After I made that statement, the person I was speaking with instantly lost interest in the conversation and found a better, more interesting person to converse with. After overthinking the scenario for a few weeks I came up with some thoughts.
I was the one who steered the conversation away. I realize that by adding one simple word, the dynamic of the conversation eroded. Had I said I was an administrative assistant or even a secretary without the just, I would have given a totally different impression. By adding the word just before my title I stripped away any respect that might have been implied. I, myself, disrespected my position in life.
Especially in the “old” days it was not unheard of to say “I’m just a mom” or “I’m just a waitress.” Somewhere along the way, probably without malicious intent, we were told that those jobs didn’t matter. They were lowly jobs. No one ever said “I’m just a brain surgeon” or “I’m just a rocket scientist.”
I have contempt for the question what do you do anyway. It implies that “what I do” is the total of my parts but that’s for another blog post. The question is probably almost as old as time. I believe that it sets people up.
The thought processes in society have evolved a little since I was coming up in my work life. We know the value of parenting, customer service work and those jobs that are required to keep the “train” on the track, so to speak.
When I worked as a house guide at Biltmore and I told people that was my job, I could see interest and respect in their reactions. I relished that because I have not always held such positions. I am no longer doing that and am back to my true calling, as an admin, and reactions are not the same. I think it is because I am not sure of my own value at times and it comes across.
Somehow I feel like what I am doing is not that earth shattering. Will I leave a mark on the world like Billy Graham or Mother Theresa? No. But it does not mean that I will not change something or someone. My scale of impact is much smaller but not any less important.
My husband does a lot of good things for people. He helps where he can, whomever he can. His scope of influence is fairly wide. Mine not so much so. But here is the thing….by the work I do at home, it provides him the freedom to do what he does. So theoretically I am an unspoken part of his influence. The person behind the curtain.
The same at work, if I can take care of the daily tasks so that my boss can do boss things, have I not aided in their ability to make a difference? Therefore, I’m not just a wife or secretary.
Why do I bring this up? I think too many of us discount our contributions to the world because they are not big and flashy. We see ourselves as just a small cog that is easily overlooked. But that perception is incorrect.
A parable in the Bible speaks of this… is the eye more important than the ear or the ear more important than the mouth and so on. No…they are all important as are we. They all work together doing what they do best in order to have a positive outcome in the world. If even the smallest cog stops working, the entire process is threatened with shutdown.
This post is not so much about just me. I am at an age where I realize my value but that usually only comes with age. I suffered the insecurities of my worth for too many years. I hope anyone who is reading this will take a moment to truly contemplate your contributions to the world.
So today, know you are valuable. You are making a difference, one you may never even see. But you are. Please do not ever discount what you do (I still need to work on that too from time to time). How you perceive yourself is how others will see you.
Of course, what other people think of you should never impact how you value yourself. I have learned to stand tall no matter where I am in life (most of the time anyway). I try not to be prideful but I take pride in what I do.
I just ask that you value yourself and your abilities. Life would be so different for so many without your gentle touch.