What I Wish I Would Have Said

photo by hayopsaganda

photo by hayopsaganda

I feel like I need to take a shower. Kim and I just got done doing a business-themed radio interview with a couple of female hosts who were two of the most Adultitis-ridden people I’ve come across in some time. Arrogant and pessimistic, the duo was unprepared, unenthusiastic, and utterly unhappy.

I normally have a great time doing interviews, but not this one. It was an hour in hell.

I should have known from the start we were in trouble when one of the hosts started talking about how she was going to Chuck E. Cheese’s to help celebrate her grandchild’s birthday. I thought she was sharing this as an example of how she’d be escaping adulthood, but instead she proceeded to lament about how much she dreaded going.

Kim and I tried our best to keep a positive spin on things and attempt to offer the listeners helpful insights. I’d hoped that I could say something that would bring a little light into the lives of the hosts. But I knew I faced an uphill battle. I learned long ago, that despite my best efforts, it’s impossible to make a dent in someone with full-blown Adultitis. For one, they don’t ever admit they have it. And because of that, they aren’t open to any kind of change.

It became pretty clear that they were more interested in hearing themselves talk. They barely knew what we did, didn’t know our website, and didn’t even know if we were husband and wife or brother and sister. I think we held our own, and gave out some good information.

Sometimes I wish I could be more unabashed in my opinion giving. I wish I wasn’t averse to hurting people’s feelings or caring so much what people think of me. Since I was raised to be polite, I kept a lot of thoughts to myself. But if I were brave, and living in Bizarro World, here is what I would have said:

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(Click play to listen to my rant or keep on reading.)

I’m sure it must have been hard being a woman in business twenty years ago. I am sure that lots of people were waiting for you to fail. I don’t doubt that you felt you had to do twice the work to gain the acceptance of your male coworkers. But you did it. You took the slings and arrows. You persisted. You prevailed. You’re at the top of your field. You make a good salary. You have a great deal of influence in the community.

So why are you still so damn unhappy?

You can also complain all you want about the younger generation coming into the workforce with high expectations and an entitlement mentality. You say they don’t appreciate the value of hard work and what it really takes to make it in business because they’ve been used to winning more times than not and for getting trophies when they finished last.

But let me ask you this? Who raised this generation? Wasn’t that…you?

Perhaps you felt guilty because you worked so many hours and your kids spent so much time in day care that you gave toys and trophies at every turn to boost their shaky self-esteem and assure them that you did indeed love them. Perhaps you are now reaping what you sowed.

I also wanted to congratulate you for being so important that you have so many emails flooding your inbox. (It is after all, a competition, and you are clearly the winners.) Because you are so in demand, it’s impossible to keep up to it all, what with so many people expecting you to get back to them within minutes. And that stinks that the economy-inspired budget cuts have done away with your personal assistants that used to do your grunt work.

According to you, this overload is unavoidable. Your line of work insists upon this crazy pace, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Unless you want to get fired or something. Because as you seem to indicate, the only way to avoid losing your job in this terrible, terrible economy is to take your job (and yourself) as seriously as humanly possible and relinquish any hope of having time with the people you care the most about (unless those people are your co-workers.)

Guess what? Sorry to disappoint you, but you’re not the victim here. Someone gets the final say, and that person would be…you. I know it may be hard to believe, but you actually have control over your life. Shocking, isn’t it?!

But you’re probably right. Setting up limits for people on how to contact you and when they can expect a response is completely unrealistic and undoable. It’ll probably get you fired. And then you’ll end up homeless and starving on the street with absolutely no means to find another job (or create your own!)

Because after all, as you mentioned (about fifteen times), the economy is really, really bad. Funny I hadn’t heard about that before. Thanks for giving me a clue.

But here’s a thought: contrary to popular belief, just because the economy is in a recession doesn’t mean we all have to go around with furrowed brows and serious demeanors. Doom and gloom will get us nowhere, girls. Should we pretend that everything is all daisies and lollipops? Of course not. Clearly, we are living in uncertain times.

But are we ever living in certain times?

Pessimism is not the answer (oh, and I know you’d call it realism.) It’s terribly difficult to come up with creative solutions to our current problems when we’re choked with fear and worried about getting hit by pieces of the falling sky. In fact, a great way to sink your company even deeper in the hole is to stop smiling at customers, engage in pressure selling, and spend most of your time looking over your shoulder hoping to not be fired.

I know, I know, I’m just one of those unrealistic Generation Xers without a clue. Allow me to ask you just one final question:

What have you done today to add a little joy to your soul?


I thought so. Might want to start there, ladies.

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  1. Nice rant. Perhaps they followed their brainwashing and lack the creativity to push beyond. They made their bed and are now bound to it, not realizing they could make another bed that suited their current life better.

    You have reached some of us, and we thank you for your creative expression of your ideas.

  2. I like it! But you *are* right that some people are hopeless, so better to wait and share your thoughts post-interview instead of trying too hard to change them!
    I have a co-worker with some serious Adultitis issues. I was him how excited I was to go to the aquarium..because they are doing a special thing for Halloween. It involved ghost pirates sword fighting underwater! How much “amazing” can you pack into one sentence? He said it was silly, and he couldn’t seem to fathom how anyone older than a toddler would enjoy it. (I didn’t let him get me down, though. My husband and I went, saw it, and had a thoroughly fun time!)
    Thanks for transcribing your thoughts, too–Definitely some great quotes in there!
    Ps. If you wanna be interviewed by someone awesome (or at least not infected with Adultitis) request me if you’re ever in Cincinnati! =^)

    • Ghost pirates under water!!! Holy cow, how cool is that? My daughter isn’t quite a toddler yet, but I’m certain she wouldn’t appreciate something like that as much as I would.

      Don’t you just want to give people like that an Atomic Wedgie???

      P.S. You seem like a much funner interviewer.

      • I’ve been to a few Halloween events (for work) in the past couple weeks. Those were some FUN interviews to do! Kids & parents in costumes enjoying life and other people who did a great job to make the events fun and/or scary. Fun stuff! :)

  3. Fabulous rant. I could almost see you waving a nerf sword and parrying an invisible enemy while you were doing it :) Sometimes I wished I carried one myself, so I could bonk people on the head.

  4. Great rant! I’d like to e-mail it to the women, but it sounds like they wouldn’t have time to read it :P

  5. Amazing. It’d be great to print out what you Wish You’d Said, pack it in a box with play-do and chocolate and bubbles and send it anonymously. Let me know when you do this. You are right on. Wonder why they invited you ? Even vampires have to be invited in, so deep down they were begging for help. One day the gals might admit this. Keep on keeping on !!!! Lisa

  6. Bravo!!! Simply Bravo!! Isn’t it amazing when an individual isn’t receptive, receptive to ANYTHING, their door closes to help, life, happiness and HOPE. Not a chance exists for a positive change in their attitude because energy is focused (wasted) on whining instead of shifting attitude 180 degrees UP. Jason, thanks for reminding us that the difference in our lives is not what happens in our lives, it is how we RESPOND to what happens and what we make happen. My motto: BE JOY!!

  7. Well said son. We are the only ones that can control our lives and how we adjust to the changes that have taken place in our lives, especially the massive, radical changes these days. In retail lumber sales, and real estate transactions I deal with many, many different people. I have had many disappointments in not getting that project sale or didn’t get the listing I thought I deserved. But I learned a long time ago you can’t control what other people do and say and how they act and treat you. You can only control yourself. And it’s funny how things work out. That order you just had to have or the client you felt you should have had, in the end the best thing that could happen to you was not to get the order or have the client.
    Today at the lumberyard we had a heated discussion, (actually argument) about a really, really small problem that got blown way out of proportion(we’ve all been there).
    Things got put right back into perspective when I was driving home for lunch and I noticed a life line helicopter over head landing at our hospital.
    When I come upon hopeless people that you chatted with Jason the other day, the good that came of that event is this thought: I’m glad I’m me and not you!

  8. DaCosta says:

    Good for you Jason!

    Unless they change, these ladies are going to be the people who will one day on their deathbeds lamenting over the things they “could have” done . In fact, they’ve already “aged” themselve with their pessimism (oops! I should say “realism”).

    I like the above quote, “Be Adultitis Ridden”! Have a non-adult day!

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