This week I have the privilege of introducing my friend, Lillian Boatwright. Not only does Lillian hold the title of Operations Coordinator at Keymark -- a technological firm based in South Carolina -- but she has learned a lot of lessons to reach this secure place in her career. Today, she discusses how to metaphorically water our own lawns, and how she cultivated patience in order to do this as well.
If you haven’t heard somebody older than you say “Well, the grass isn’t always greener”…you’re lying. We have ALL heard it at some point, even if from somebody who is way too close in age to us and using it against us. But is it REALLY true?
At 26, I thought I had a lot figured out. I had a wonderful career, with a handful of years at a company that treated me well, and a boss that had my back. I had coworkers I liked and a job that made me feel fulfilled. When an opportunity for growth in another department came, my boss was gracious and selfless enough to loop me in, and I jumped at the opportunity to learn and earn more. I jumped to that greener grass...
With that, came change: a new team, a new boss, and a new job focus. I knew I wanted to know more about this company, to establish myself for the long haul. I wanted to soak up every possible skill and know every nook and cranny of the business in order to prove I was worth the long-term investment.
But what I got was a position I didn’t love (and honestly, I wasn’t very good at it). The happy feeling I left work with each day in my old role was gone. I felt like I wasn’t doing my best - because I wasn’t. I was not invested in the role or the mission of the department, and there were a few reasons why...
1. I left a boss who was invested in my progress and arrived to one who was so hands-off, I would go weeks without being copied on an email.
2. I left a department where I was involved in work that yielded signatures, dollar signs, and personal excitement, and joined one that worked in fonts and colors, making my eyes glaze over.
Thoughts of greener grass crept in again, brought on by the fact that I expected a relationship with my department head similar to the one I had previously. That was absent, and the passion I felt from leadership was gone.
I chose to accept a job at a different company, which included a commute for similar work. This new company offered me a new boss that was so engaged; I felt comfortable enough going straight into their office anytime I needed help. I loved my coworkers, establishing real friendships and admiration between us. But I still felt almost dulled by the work I was doing. The green grass…browned.
One morning on my commute, I realized I was just refusing to water my own grass. When I stepped back and realized I was frustrated with specific things, I was able to confront what I did to bring it on myself, but also know how to fix it. I had jumped at greener grass before I realized the lawn I found myself in was incredibly green.
I had jumped at greener grass before I realized the lawn I found myself in was incredibly green.
By taking back the control I quit using to water my own lawn, I was able to force change upon myself. I left the company, negotiated a job at my previous company with a new boss, and reflected on the lessons I had learned.
I often receive eye rolls when I say there is a lesson in everything, but I truly believe that. I made decisions that taught me lessons. Others around me did the same, and I learned from whatever lesson they got as well. And as in lawn care and life, the grass isn’t green unless you water it.
Connect with the author here: Lillian Boatwright