Recently, I was harshly reminded I am, in fact, just a chick.
It’s one thing to call myself that yet secretly hope – even believe – I’m more. That I’m not just one in six billion.
It’s quite another to be forced to accept I am one of many. An interchangeable part. Replaceable. There is nothing I do that can’t be done by a dozen others.
Afterall, I’m just a chick. There are more where I come from.
And that hurts – both my heart and my ego.
I am still painfully and deliberately chewing this morsel in hopes of swallowing it more easily. And though the initial shock of the slap has subsided, the sting remains. The passing days and hours haven’t healed the bruised pride. In simple terms, it sucks A lot.
I would like to speak in generalities because I think most of us feel the same. We all yearn to be special. Unique. We all hope our contributions are acknowledged and appreciated. We like to believe what we offer is valued.
Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. To most of the world, we really are just a bunch of chicks.
This is hard to accept because we are born and bred to be more, to do more. If we don’t give more than the others, we are not more than them. So begins a vicious, unrewarding cycle of comparison and competition.
During this time of self-reflection, I have remembered a conversation I had during the first year of my career. I was struggling with balance. I didn’t know how I could possibly be all the things I needed to be – both at work and at home. My mentor at the time unequivocally told me my priority had to be home. I still remember her exact words.
“If you didn’t show up here tomorrow, we would survive. Sure, it would be difficult, but we’d figure it out. If you didn’t show up at home? They would never recover. That’s the only place you’re irreplaceable.”
For many, many years I held onto that advice. It helped me keep my balance.
However, over time, I lost sight. Slowly, bit by bit, I allowed my work life become more important. All the while believing I was making a difference. I was important. Irreplaceable.
But, I’m not.
Within five minutes of giving my notice, they were already on the hunt for someone new. They were divvying up my carefully cultivated accounts like candy from a piñata. They were moving on. I hadn’t even left the building and they were making way for the next big thing.
I’m embarrassed to admit there were tears. I had given ten hard years and I wasn’t even worth a conversation. I didn’t get asked to stay. I wasn’t told I’d be missed. I was instantly a non-entity. And, it hurt.
But what hurt even more?
Coming home in tears and being immediately enveloped in love and support. The same people I had put on the back burner for the sake of my career were the same ones who met me at the door with hugs, flowers, and lots of alcohol.
These were the ones who didn’t get my 100%, yet they gave me more than theirs.
And their support over the past few weeks has helped me see I am irreplaceable. Perhaps to the rest of the world I’m just a chick, but to the ones who matter – I’m the chick. Their chick.
Had I kept my priorities in place, the bitch slap into reality could have been avoided.
It’s been a hard lesson but a good one.
Afterall, nobody wants to be justachik.