Indiana Wants Me . . . Lord, I Can’t Go There
Back in the olden days, I was hired as a trainee for the Philips Van-Heusen Shirt Company. I was the first woman on the sales team in Chicago, that made me the second in that role nationwide in the company. During that training year, I was kind of a golden child, I got the systems, taught the guys how to use them, made relationships with customers and partnered well with the big time sales reps. I loved my job.
Then the guy in Indianapolis quit. He had replaced the guy who had quit just months before that. I was too young to think through what that quick change in personnel meant.
My boss offered me that territory Ã¢â¬â- at my six months review — heck, the teritory was even made bigger. That was something. My boss said I didnÃ¢â¬â¢t have to go, but he also said that he couldnÃ¢â¬â¢t promise IÃ¢â¬â¢d still have a job in Chicago, if I didn’t go.
I didnÃ¢â¬â¢t want to go. I love Chicago. I didnÃ¢â¬â¢t need the money. I had just bought a condo.
A golden child didn’t say “no,” did she? I felt I had to go. I think I was still worried about teacher approval and following orders. Do the program. Pay my dues. Do what I was supposed to do. I made up a romantic rationale and said “yes.”
Soon enough I was singing that old pop tune, Ã¢â¬ÅIndiana wants me. Lord, I canÃ¢â¬â¢t go back there.Ã¢â¬Â
Losing My Sheen
I’d like to say the golden child took the territory by storm, but the reality is that the gold lost its sheen. Lugging samples across two states and sharing a hotel room with 200 hundred stuffed shirts isn’t romantic. They werenÃ¢â¬â¢t great conversationalists.
When I got past feeling they were staring at me, I would have crazy dreams about 45 vampires chasing me through a haunted house. They would be dressed in all 45 colors of our new silk shirt. I began to realize I didnÃ¢â¬â¢t like being a shirt sales rep away from home. I didn’t like working alone with shirts as company — too much head and not enought heart for me.
The shirts didn’t get much back from me either. I still canÃ¢â¬â¢t tell the difference between a nub and a slub in raw silk fabric. They were all just shirts to me. So I guess you might say we were destined to split. . . . and split we did. I left the booming metropolis of Indianapolis and hightailed it back to Chicago. I got a job in an interior design firm and started my career as writer.
So why am I telling you this not so fascinating story?
I should have gone with my intuition. I should have followed what I already knew about myself. Every part of a person knows when something will work and when it won’t.
Listen to your truth. Don’t let your head talk you out of it.
It’s hard to do our best work or to follow our passion when we’re not listening to ourserlves.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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