I am thankful for work… for many reasons. One reason is that I really enjoy and appreciate the interactions that work affords me.
Last week I was at a trade show for work. The days at trade shows are long and the work is pretty tiring. But looking back, I had a lot of fun interacting with the different vendors at the show. During the week I negotiated prices, opened accounts, closed accounts, was happy, was upset, made others happy, and made others upset. I enjoy these exchanges because I feel that each additional one helps me better navigate social interactions in general.
Occasionally a potential interaction makes me feel uncomfortable. I have found that those uncomfortable interactions that I confront are the ones that I learn the most from. The discomfort in my case is usually a product of inexperience that manifests itself as doubt and fear.
For example: I used to feel very uncomfortable negotiating prices of goods. To get more comfortable I tried different tactics: hard negotiations ($1 or I walk), being completely transparent ($2 is the most I’ll pay), yelling random things (Do you even eat chicken!?), and asking nicely (How about $1.5?). My negotiation technique has fallen somewhere in between, and I now can adjust my technique to the person on the other side of the table. I am still not as good of a negotiator as my parents (yelling random things works much better for them than me), but then again they have a couple decades of experience on me.
I make it a point not to procrastinate when a potential interaction makes me uncomfortable. Sometimes I even purposefully put myself in scenarios to confront the discomfort. Back to negotiating: last year Lorraine and I went to a Rangers hockey game. I thought that a little bit of street haggling would help my work negotiations, so I purposefully did not buy tickets ahead of time. Luckily the tickets we ended up buying were real.
Each work interaction helps me better understand what is right and what is wrong, what works and what doesn’t. It is through my work interactions that I have developed my understanding of the world and the people in it. And for that I am grateful.