My Signature

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Part of being responsible, is being able to say, “Yes I did that.” Sometimes what we have to admit to is hard, a little scary and most of the time a difficult action to perform, but when all is said and done, it does clear the air a little. The sting of it will be there for a while, and there might be the ever present “elephant in the room,” but that, with time, will start to even fade.

A couple of weeks ago, while I was awake at night, I remember my orientation at a community college that I attended. I was sitting in the Library when the Dean of Students addressed all of the Freshman Class. She said, “Don’t be afraid to sign your name to what you do, because it shows ownership and responsibility.”

At this time of my life, I had three children, I served for four years in the United States Navy and during the First Gulf War. I had already had to accept ownership for many things that my fellow classmates didn’t, yet the words of the Dean still resonate in my mind today.

Nothing stretched my sense of responsibility like my last Brick and Mortar. I was working as a Senior Payroll Advisor, a job that I really was not suited for. I still get unnerved thinking about working there, even though I have not been there for over a year.

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I remember one particular time, when I was a junior advisor, I had just returned from “Payroll School.”. Being relatively new to the process of payroll, I set up a new profile for a client and I set it up wrong. Somehow when I paid her employee, the employee made $10,000.00 more than she should have made.

Unfortunately, the mistake wasn’t discovered until the payroll dropped the following Friday, and then the client became upset. I learned early on in my career at that company, two very important words that I would use the duration of my time at that job, “I’m sorry.”

I had to sign my name to that mistake, I had to take complete responsibility and call the client to apologize, but not only that, I had to endure the harsh words, threats and angry looks from my supervisor, still I had to continue. I had to face that same client week after week, and she kept asking if I did it right. She ended up going to another payroll advisor – but came back to me when that payroll advisor left the company.

The point is – it is very hard to own a mistake, but owning a mistake is character building, and shows responsibility. Even if you don’t think it is a mistake – and the whole world is against you on your decision, owning it and getting through it will make you a stronger and better person. I am not saying to intentionally make a mistake – always try your best and remember to sign your name to it. Nevertheless, mistakes will come and when they do, you will have to take responsibility because your signature is right there.

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