Advice, laughing, niceness and shooting a gun.
I have been pretty delinquent on my Think Kit posts. I read each prompt in the morning with the intention of writing, but then work gets in the way. That’s what happens when you are a quarterly based sales person and we are rapidly approaching the end of both the quarter and the year. The pressure is on!
So as I sit here at Thirsty Scholar on this very rainy, chilly day, I intend to do a little catch-up. I used to be so good about finding time each weekend to write and I can’t tell you the last time I grabbed my laptop, headed to a coffee house and put my fingers on the keys. It feels like home.
So let’s begin! In no particular order (obviously), here are my responses to a few of the prompts.
My boss actually gave me great advice. When talking to him about career options, he told me “There will always be small, entrepreneurial software companies out there who want the type of experience you have here at ExactTarget. Make sure the time is right to make that move.” Ok so maybe he told me this advice in 2012 when I was actually entertaining a small, entrepreneurial software company’s offer. But it stuck with me. Especially this year as my company was acquired by Salesforce and it feels like the future is very unknown. When I heard the news that Salesforce purchased us, I cried. I don’t exactly know why but when you love your company as much as I do and believe so much in the culture, the worry of change made me emotional. So I reached out to my brother who at times is like a father figure to me and always gives good advice. He said “Think of change like a glass of soda. When you stir up the ice, the bubbles rise to the top. Be a bubble during this change.” Since that moment, I have only viewed this change for our company as a positive one. I trust my leaders and am confident that this move is not only a great one for our employees and our industry, but also for me personally. I have watched some of my colleagues jump ship and each time, I think about what Tom told me: “Make sure the time is right to make that move.” For me, now is not the time. I love my company. I love what I do. I am good at it. The foggy crystal ball is what excites me about my days – I never know what could be coming next. Will I retire from ET? Who knows? But if they’ll have me, I think I have quite a few years left here.
I laugh a lot and think there is no better feeling that to so hard it makes me cry. I wish that happened every day! Here is a picture of me laughing out loud while singing Christmas carols at Chatterbox with my friends. It’s an annual tradition. (The caroling, not the laughing, but they are pretty much one in the same)
Also, a little fun fact about me: I never write “LOL.” Ever.
I type “haha” as a substitute and if I actually laugh out loud, I will write “I just laughed out loud.” I am not mad when people type LOL to me. I just can’t do it.
Did you see how I got sussied this week?! If you want to read the story, check out my blog post about it here. I was absolutely floored and thrilled. I have no doubt that this prompt from Think Kit and Smallbox had something to do with it. So thank you!
On Thursday – the same day I realized our packages were stolen and I got sussied, I did something new. I shot a gun.
I have always hated guns. I didn’t grow up around them and instead grew up in a very liberal, pro-gun-control family. We aren’t hunters, and though my dad was in the army, I am pretty sure he hasn’t touched a gun since. When I met JD, I found out early on that he was shot accident by his dad when he was 12. That story and his GSW scar only strengthened my stance on hating guns and believing our society doesn’t need them. I don’t know the answer to gun control now that so many people in our society have them. But if we lived in a society of just single-shot guns used for hunting, I think we’d be better off.
I have friends who own guns and I am certain that each one of them has gotten a lecture from me about gun control. But despite our differences, I respect their opinions and we agree to disagree. About a week ago, in a discussion with my friend Dan, I somehow agreed to go to the gun range with he and his cousin Marcus. Both are gun owners and Marcus is quite the expert. Dan assured me that Marcus would be a great teacher and we would go to a very safe range. I asked all sorts of questions:
“Does the range background check everyone that comes in?”
“Are all the guns that come into the range legal?”
“Could someone straight up shoot me in the range?”
“Do you use real bullets?”
I wanted an SLA, NDA and MSA all signed sealed and delivered before I showed up. Then a date was put on the calendar: we were going to the range on Thursday. I agreed and said yes like I do most new adventures but when Thursday rolled around, I was incredibly anxious and nervous. I told JD that I didn’t want to go. I told him that not only was I really nervous, I also think that me showing up to a gun range and firing a gun makes me a hypocrite. I am pro-gun control – I am not supposed to be shooting guns! He assured me that shooting a gun isn’t the same as owning and I am fine. I was inches away from cancelling but decided I’d at least show up and check out the scene. After all, I didn’t have to shoot if I didn’t want to.
When we arrived, Marcus was amazing. He had eyewear and an ear set to protect my hearing. He pulled out his guns and showed each one of them to me. He explained the differences but with all the shooting around us and my earphones, I could barely hear him. Guns are so loud! He had me hold one and I was shocked by how heavy it was! Having only ever held a toy gun before, I didn’t know what to expect. He started me with a 9mm and explained how to hold my hands around the gun and was very good about safety. He answered every silly question and whereas I was convinced I’d be scared in the presence of so many guns, I really wasn’t. The range was incredibly nice, clean and felt safe. Then the loaded gun was in my hand and I stood exactly how Marcus told me to. He coached me on how to aim and told me not to put my finger on the trigger until I was ready to fire. I fired. The kick was more than I expected and fire came out the nozzle! What the eff was that??! Why was there fire!!!! I set the gun down and backed away. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it at all.
I wasn’t exhilarated. I instead felt dangerous and I didn’t like that feeling. Marcus and Dan assumed that I would keep shooting the 9mm and then would graduate into some of the other guns. But I just stood back among all the empty shell casings and watched as each of them shot. The feeling of firing something so powerful and knowing the damage it could cause was overwhelming. But while I hung back wand watched, I was quite fascinated. There was so much to learn and so much I didn’t know. Marcus explained the different ammunition and the various guns. Though I know he and I disagree politically about guns, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and his guns. He took every precaution and was really sensitive to my anxiety. He said “It’s ok to be scared of guns. Guns can do really bad things. I get it.” He didn’t make me feel silly at all for being such a fraidy cat.
Marcus’ other cousin was shooting a 22 and it didn’t seem as aggressive. The ammo was smaller, there was no kick and I didn’t see any fire from the nozzle. So after a long break from my first shot, I decided to try that one. He did exactly what Marcus did – taught me the grip and the safety. And when I was ready, I pulled the trigger. MUCH better this time. It was so much less aggressive and I wasn’t nearly as shaken as with the 9mm. Granted, I didn’t do any more shooting after that, but I was happy I at least tried. I faced a big fear of mine that day and feel more educated than a week ago. I am not sure if I will go back to the range in the future. I do know that I am grateful of my friends who helped me conquer this fear.