Grab a drink.
In 2012, there were probably less than ten people in my college that had job offers before graduation; I was one of them. I actually had two, and boy, did I make the wrong decision.
Pride and the Come Up.
Let’s throw it back to Spring 2010. Actually, let’s go back a little further to 2009. I ended up in my new advisor’s office at COBA at Savannah State University. How I got in her office, in an ugly cry will be for another post (and I’ll link to two). There I was, broken (and it wouldn’t be the first or last time), and confused. Little did I know, with her help, she helped carry me through COBA while she was there. I wasn’t a stellar student, but I got my work done and I knew who to link up with in all my classes. I kept to myself and had very few friends—she was definitely one.
So, after some time, my advisor referred me to (who would become) my mentor because she needed help with the BEEP conference that year. If you were in our department, you knew that being a participant and especially being sponsored at BEEP was huge! You more than likely were in the top 10% in the department (please believe, I wasn’t. I’m very intelligent, but I didn’t apply myself to my full potential back then. A combination of the skills I did have, coaching from my mentor, and sheer happenstance, “I” was selected to attend the conference that year. I was so shocked, because I was just an average student. From that experience, I got a taste of the suite life at BEEP—literally (at the J W Marriott, definitely not the Holiday Inn). The conference is sponsored by major businesses, so they have money in their budgets to splurge. I’d never slept on goose down pillows or stayed in a five-star hotel before. I’m from Savannah—those luxuries just don’t come around often. From that conference, I met some great students and one of my best friends. Well, from that conference I met some heavy players from UPS. I kept in contact with them—some even to this day. I eventually got a call on my birthday that year to come to Atlanta and then Kentucky to interview for a first time co-op with Supply Chain Solutions. For time sake, I got the internship/co-op and moved to Kentucky for 6 months.
So what, you went to the conference and had the internship. Well, like I said, rather the students then or now admit it, you were ‘something’ special to the professors and the put you on a pedestal. In my case, because I wasn’t one of those stellar students, I had a lot of shade thrown my way from students and professors. To add, I applied everything I was learning at SSU and that interview coaching from Dr. Mosley and some undeserving favor, I had two internship opportunities, IKEA and Georgia Ports Authority the following summer. I even was selected to attend the BEEP conference again the following year.
Now, it’s September 2012. I kept in contact with every manager, director, and vice president from every company I met at the conferences. It just so happened that UPS was hiring. Look, when you graduate in three months, you take whatever job you can get. After some interviews, I got a call from UPS (and Georgia Ports Authority) on Thanksgiving that I got a management position! How awesome (side-eye), but sure it was at the time—I had TWO job offers. Little known to no one, as soon as I heard the words “you got the job” (from UPS), in the other ear I heard “don’t take the job!” You see, I don’t care what spirit was telling me not to take the job, I WAS graduating WITH a job. At every point before and after graduation, I kept getting signs not to take the job. Look, I was desperate and IDGAF—I was moving to Atlanta and about to make some little money.
False Reality & the Downfall.
Proverbs 16:17-18 (NLT) The path of the virtuous leads away from evil; whoever follows that path is safe. Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.
Sooooo—Atlanta, there I was, 24-year-old manager at UPS Supply Solutions—indeed, this would be a trap that unraveled all of 2013. I was manager of 18 employees, all over 30 (or close to it), most over 40—who was about to listen to me? It took some TIME to build that trust and camaraderie, but it happened, thank God. Here April comes rolling around and UPS figures that they were about to switch up management and change my entire world through one person, my new manager, spawn of Miranda Priestly (The Devil Wears Prada) and Bill Lumbergh (douche from Office Space, watch it if you haven’t seen it)—we’ll call him Craig. This joker came in and changed my perfect little schedule and perfect little work setup by switching my shifts, duties, and everything in between! I worked from 12 pm—8 or 9 pm (my set-up to catch Scandal at 10 pm)— this fool put me on first shift…starting at 6 AM. Not only that, he was a complete butthole, chauvinist, and an all-around twat. Micromanager? No, he was a NANOMANAGER. We NEVER got along, which is weird because I never personally have problems with anyone (I’m an introvert and I avoid any and all necessary and unnecessary conflict).
So, during peak times, everybody is working overtime—and being paid OT, except managers. During slow times, you had to cut hours…of hourly workers. No bueno. Never goes over well. So if he wanted to cut hours or have folks working OT (sometimes 18 hour shifts), I had to deliver the news. Hell, if anything bad happen, I delivered the bad news. On top of that, this Pendejo has me coming in 2 hours early—FRONT AND BACK END. YOU GUESSED IT— 4am to 4pm. A lot of days, because of turnover rates and not enough help, I worked the same hours as my team (Craig, worked his 8). Needless to say, I lived in HR because of the unfair treatment and other drama he was causing within the department. To add, another manager and I, another black woman (who can appreciate this now I’m sure) were ALWAYS at each other’s throats (to put it lightly). We LIVED in HR—on a district level (lol). Not only that, so that you can get an idea of how bad the work climate was, our facility had a rep of being the WORST Supply Chain Solutions facility because of low employee morale and management turnover. It was like living in hell; I woke up every day and hated my job.
August 2013—I get checked into the hospital and ended up out of work for A MONTH….…due to stress, at 24!!! I never had a good day at work after Craig started. Never. I sank into a deep depression and I hid it very well. *For another post, I contemplated suicide years before, and there I was, 24 and depressed. It was then I realized how 30 something year old’s committed suicide and left behind their families due to depression caused from WORK.* When I had that realization, I heard a whisper—quit. How the hell was I going to quit my job and explain to my parents???!!! From the way I saw it, I had 2 choices—quit and live or stay and die in a few years. I called my parents, broken and they told me come home. But, I still had questions—God, why did you give me this job and I have endured so much heartache for months. God told me—I did not give you that job, you took it. *gut punch* No sooner than I heard him, the warnings were there, but because of our free will, he didn’t pressure me NOT to take the job—he had given me another opportunity (GPA), but because it was lesser than what I wanted, I did not take it.
I wrote all this to say, I got in too deep with myself and what I defined success and failure to be, from college. Had I been patient and took the lesser option, it could have grown into a better opportunity. Not only had making the tempting choice that I trusted taken me completely off my journey, I’m still suffering the repercussions of making that choice. I got caught in the trap of trying to look good to everyone else, but I was dying on the inside. No, I wasn’t dying, I was dead. I was young, naive, couldn’t handle stress and pressure, I wasn’t on the path to MY destiny and purpose…I. Was. Lost.
The Silver Lining.
God uses those situations of sheer disobedience from not heeding to His voice to sharpen our ears for the next time He speaks. The next time I heard Him was when He said QUIT. If I wasn’t in a place of brokenness and pride deprived, I wouldn’t have heard Him. Don’t get caught in the trap of impressing your peers and looking good for others. Just because people think something is for you, doesn’t mean it is. Use your own judgment, don’t fall for others’ innocent deception. Quiet yourself. Still your thoughts. Pray. Listen. Be lead from inside, not outside.
God unfolds his plan as we start to move in a direction and trust HIM to lead. We must seek God’s plans for our lives. More often than not, when there is an inner desire or longing (not to be confused with what our plans are), that desire is a sign of what your purpose is and aligns to what His plan for your life is. As you move closer and closer to that direction, what you are supposed to do will become increasingly clear
You may not fully know or understand—in fact, you won’t. Gods will and plan for your life is not your own—its far more than you can EVER imagine. Take an inventory of your life, evaluate where you deviated, and be honest with yourself. Become a person of purpose. Be the person who is bursting to be delivered from your pride.
Following God isn’t easy; He never promised us that. He did say however, He would never leave or forsake us. I am a witness to that.
Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
One thought on “Recognize the Trap”
Charisse! This article was PHENOMENAL! I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading your future testimonies. I’m proud of you! Keep sharing your story to bring glory to HIStory! Love ya.