21 and fresh off the heels of a Bachelors degree I was the sh*t and “couldn’t nobody tell me nuthin”. The truth is I could not find a job after college, I had moved to New York thinking the job market would have been easy to break into. I wanted a job on Wall Street doing anything financial and in my mind I was highly qualified.

After relentlessly searching for a few months I had lost all hope and contemplated just giving up. My aunt who I lived with at the time knew a lady who could possibly get me into one of the best financial institutions not on Wall Street but pretty darn close. I was desperate, and so I agreed did my interview and started as a temp on one of the teams that needed some help.

I was in, and it did not take me long to get back to the attitude that I knew everything and I was smarter than everyone else. I wasn’t as cocky as I am making myself out to be, I did get along with my co-workers but I had a knack for speaking out of turn especially in meetings.

Nobody really liked our boss at the time, but she was smart, sharp and knew what she was doing. On the flip side she was also highly emotional and in my opinion rather rude sometimes.

Fast forward a few weeks, there is always a moment in ones career where you learn something epic. What you learn can be either big or small but regardless it sticks with you for life. For me it came one day when my boss called one of her impromptu meetings to discuss why the team should be performing better and how she planned to get us on track.

She started the meeting and I had something to say from jump, I questioned everything, and at some point in my attempt at being a “cute know it all” I had hit the last straw, worked her last nerve and even I knew I had gone to far.

She stood up slowly and faced me, she said if you say one more word in this meeting I am going to fire you on the spot.

Radio silence, you could hear a pin drop, I was stunned, yes my friends, don Juanita (me) was silenced and she heard nothing from me for the next 15 minutes.

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I could have cried, my team was mostly guys and if you know anything about New Yorkers they have no mercy on you.

After the meeting I went straight to the bathroom begging myself not to cry, freshened up and headed back to my cubicle to face the music. The guys let me have it, Yoooooooooooo you good son? “She shut you down!” “Cat got your tongue mami?” Yea they went there, earth swallow me now!

Surprisingly I did not have an attitude with her, I knew she was serious and I knew I went to far based on nothing but just being a hot head.

I needed to do less talking and more working if I wanted to excel in the corporate world and in that moment I understood that.

Only I know what it took to get to where I was, hours of walking and endless dead end interviews, I couldn’t lose that job then and not over something as dumb as being quiet.

The thing is even though I thought I was educated, there were a ton of people just like me with the same level of education who needed the job I had.

In the corporate world or any job for that manner it is always better to let your work do the talking for you, that way what you say is only the icing on the cake. I worked in that industry for over ten years after that and to this day that lesson still resonates with me.

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