Job Do-Overs


I wish I could have a do-over of an experience in 2007.

I worked for a VP of HR who was losing his job in a company-wide reorganization program. I had one foot out the door, too, and there was no love lost between the two of us. I spoke my mind. He spoke his. It was a sad level of dysfunction, and I never missed an opportunity to be a bitch for the sake of keeping myself entertained.

When it was confirmed that the VP of HR was scheduled to leave, one of my colleagues asked me to take a professional portrait as a gift to the VP. My picture would be included as part of a larger departmental gift of some kind.

I said no.

Just like that.

My colleague, who was a nice guy, wouldn’t let it die. I walked into his office in midtown Manhattan and he told me I was being ridiculous and immature. I was. He insisted that I have my picture taken. I said, fine, you want me in the picture? Take it now. I was wearing the ugliest wrinkle-free gray pants and a black cardigan from Talbots, very little make-up, and my hair was in a ponytail. I took my hair down. This is how I looked.

Yup, that’s me in an office in Manhattan circa 2007. Shut up. Don’t laugh. I’m eating humble pie, here.

When I see this picture, I see a passive-aggressive, chubby, cranky soccer mom who can’t help but smile at a camera even though she is mad. I look like a woman who has given up on her career and opted for mediocrity and donuts.

I had.


When I think back on this whole experience, I’m filled with regret. While I still don’t think the VP did a great job, none of it matters because it’s Human-freaking-Resources. We weren’t solving the world’s problems. We were working in a corporate function.

I should have kept my mouth shut and made a bigger deal out of more important things.

I hope that one day, if I’m lucky, I’ll get laid off in a company-wide restructuring effort and someone will rally the troops to give me a going away gift.

Also, I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to clean up a little for work. You never know when someone will take your picture.

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