I knew what I wanted to review on this page, but for the life of me, I could not seem to discover the best way to start in on it. Then, my computer came up with the perfect introduction.
You probably don't recall such a time, but a few years ago a Psychologist by the name of Nathaniel Brandon wrote a book entitled, "The Psychology of Self-Esteem" and suddenly, it seemed,was the talk of the town, so to speak. To some, it was the better answer to the problems of juvenile delinquency and it found its way onto the curriculum of most secondary schools. The article that prompted me to pen my thoughts on the subject suggested that it reigned supreme for two decades as the answer to many of the problems that seemed to plague the modern family.
I recall being fascinated with it as I know I left my family and high high school as a candidate for the individual with the lowest self-esteem. At least, that was my opinion of myself as I realized I was half way around the world and I didn't have any real buddies like the other guys in my barracks. I was the proverbial loner, adrift in a world of my own making and no real answers for my dilemma.
Then came the day when Lt. Colonel Chitty took over as our Base commander for the weekend and I was charged with the task of writing "special" orders for an officer leaving for temporary duty at another base. I knew how to do it, but I was accustomed to signing them off, "By order of Colonel Price", the actual Base commander. That day I wrote, By order of Lt. Colonel Shitty and failed to notice my mistake when I handed the copy over to our Japanese clerk-typist. Monday morning came around and I noticed the others laughing among themselves as I passed by. I was busy at something else I had to do when our Adjutant called me and told me that Colonel Chitty wanted to see me, now!
"Yes, sir!" as I snapped to attention, eager to do whatever he might have for me to do. "Sergeant, where did you learn how to spell?" I thought I had made an error in typing, but then he showed me his copy of the orders I had typed. I wanted to drop through the floor. "Sergeant, I have one question to ask of you, is this how your buddies refer to me when I am not around?" "No, sir!" I was beginning to shake. "Take it easy, son, we all make mistakes, this even made me laugh, wondering if you might have thought of it as a joke. You do good work, Sergeant. Aren't you ready for promotion to Staff Sergeant?" "Yes sir, I hope this doesn't stand in my way." "Not at all, Sergeant, with the good work that you do, I think I might even offer my recommendation to the promotion board." "Thank you, sir. Is that all, sir?" "Sure, just be sure you have a speller around the next time you have to type anything for me." Yes sir, thank you, sir!" And I was on my way.
Every one else in our headquarters building thought I was getting "royally chewed out" and I just answered their questions with, "No, he was just wondering if it was time for me to get a promotion."
This formerly shy young lad, a few months away from the farm, suddenly had a jolt of what would later be known as self-esteem and I was "somebody". But I also noticed the older guys on the staff and while they congratulated me occasionally, they dealt with me as an equal and I didn't let it all go to my head. That is my lesson for anyone in a new situation, especially a new job.
Self-esteem is appropriate as long as you realize, while mixing with other employees, you are part of a team, whether they refer to employees as team members or not. They need you as much as you need them. Some people would have us believe we are a sports crazed society, but to me, the final score is merely a indication of how each team played. Of course, we are constantly reminded that we, or the other teams, have super stars, but they are only as "super" as their team members carry out their assignments during the game.
When you come into a new job opportunity, you need to keep this in mind if you want an advance in your pay or a better opportunity for the future.
And you are able to do as I learned how to do in that most embarrassing situation. Yes, I was a shy young kid, not sure of myself or any real qualifications. But I did have memories of my days at work with my grandfather on the farm and he demonstrated how to act when things go wrong as they will from time to time. I also had two uncles, successful business men, who I had admired and I have to believe, deep within, my admiration also had to include my estimation of how they got to be where they seemed to be. And then there was another uncle who was - in my estimation at the time, only a farm boy as well, but he made me feel important by simply asking how school had been on most days and then adding a compliment on something I had said or done.
They were probably building self-esteem that I would not realize for many years, but as all of us look back, I am certain you too, will find those confidence builders in your life.