Originally, when I started writing two years ago, I had two key factors that I knew initiated it.
- I was itching to do something and everything I had tried to put together kept falling apart before it even started.
- James Altucher’s writings had inspired me to take action.
Little did I know that there was a third underlying issue that helped initiate this spark. I didn’t see it until today, when I started reflecting back on the last few years of my life and why I’m so hesitant at going into work on some days.
For around two years straight, I showed up to work in a suit. You know, one of those things that retail for over a grand. I had designer shoes, designer belt and so forth. I mean it didn’t matter that I took the bus to work every day. When I came in, I thought there was an underlying need to look professional, as I have in every single other job I had.
One day, my region manager had called me out to come sit with him and to talk about work and my progress there. He told me that I had this reputation at work for being cocky and arrogant. I told him that I was a reasonable guy and I wanted more insights as to why he felt others felt this way about me.
So I asked him.
He told me to take a look around the office. Everyone wore business casual clothing. He then proceeded to tell me that I was working for a blue collar company. How a multi billion dollar global top fortune 100 company was a blue collar job is still unbeknownst to me, but hey, the lay of the land was what it was. Then he told me that I dressed up too much to be working in an environment like this.
After he told me that, he told me to take notice of the type of people who get promoted at work. They weren’t the people who were top performers. They weren’t the people with the ideas for innovation. They weren’t anyone with any particular traits that set them out from the rest of the field. Instead, they were the “yes men”. They were the people who said “Hello Mr. Johanson, how are you today?” “Yes Mr. Johanson, I’ll do that for you.” They were the people who followed orders and just did as they were told.
Then it clicked. I knew that I had no room for growth at my job. I had no way of getting promoted. I would be stuck at my dead end job for the rest of my life, earning enough money to barely get by. Then as inflation starts to increase, I would slowly drift away and fall deeper and deeper into debt.
I knew I had to do something else. I knew I had to get out. If I didn’t, I would be a nobody for the rest of my life. So I stopped communicating with all my coworkers. I put myself into isolation at work. Then I took action. I poured my heart out into the first piece of writing I put online. No one took notice for over a month. But once someone did, I was inspired.
Thus, that laid out the foundations and the ground works that have led me to where I am today. That one defining moment when I was told that there was no way for me to get ahead unless I conformed. But then again, I also used his lecture as an excuse to preserve the life of my suits as I wore my older raggedy clothes to work instead, going from the best dressed employee to the worst dressed employee at work.
This article was first written by Leonard Kim on LinkedIn