The Missing Piece of the Puzzle

Authors note: This was orginally published under a different blog title on April 19, 2010. The only edits made are to remove defunct website links from former endeavours. These old blogs will be rerun as part of a Throwback Thursday to unify all my work in one place.  I hope you enjoy these.

What is it that raises your eyebrow? What gets your complete attention, sparks your curiosity, turns your head? Money? Women? Men? Power? Respect? Recognition? Fame? Love? Happiness? Everyone has something that makes them want to listen or achieve. The question is; What is it that trigger in an individual?

For me; a pretty woman will turn my head, a bigger pay cheque will get me out of bed, respect will compensate for a lack in other areas, a good time will get me moving, recognition will get my effort. Really though, the key is a chance to combine as many of those things in to making a better life, that will put my heart and soul in to anything. The problem is so many things promise results like that but never deliver or circumstances change and you just aren’t getting what you want anymore.

Case in point, I worked in the projection booth of a megaplex (18 35mm theatres and an IMAX) for many years, I loved the job but the pay was lower than it should have been. The GM was good to me, treated me with respect, rewarded my efforts, was strait up with me and never made me jump through hoops for anything as long as I did the work. He had enough faith in me that he told his replacement I was a “Booth God” very kind. Every so often a free beer would find it’s way to my table in the bar (right in the theatre) or the tab would end up voided out. You see there was only so much that could be done so a bit of slack and a pint or two showed a lot of respect and recognition. Very few people ever got that treatment, a few good friends sited that as reasons they became dissatisfied with the job, I recall one posting a note reading “Has Jamie ever bought you a beer?” When I replied he had I got a few dark looks from co-workers and realized that I was the only one left that had that honour, the others had moved along. I felt bad for a while then I realized that it wasn’t that they hadn’t gotten one, they never earned one.

The next GM I worked for was a complete opposite, never gave a shit about anyone’s work let alone those that went above and beyond. One evening I was having a post work beer and the power went out in the building. I had worked late the night before and early that day and as soon as the lights went out I new there would be problems. A friend of mine came racing out of the projection booth and took one look at me, before he could ask me for help I told him to go shut off the power to the machines so they wouldn’t fail catastrophically should the power be restored and I would be along shortly. My immediate boss wasn’t at work that day and I did what I always did in those cases and took over. Once we found out the power was staying down for a while I requested and trained help from the kids normally used to scooping popcorn and tearing tickets so the management could deal with the guests in the auditoriums. We began the arduous project of passing film through the system by hand, I’ll spare you the details there but for 18 movies the prospect was not good. A couple hours later we had 14 of 18 theatres ready to run again, the only thing we were missing was power, then we got it. I radioed the management and GM specifically calling them by name and told them that all but 4 were ready to roll, however they would not get the other 4 back until the final show time as it was quicker to run them through the machines with power and there was simply not enough time to get that done before the next advertised show. I went down stairs and interrupted a conference of managers and repeated myself. When asked to clarify repeatedly over the radio I did, I went back and told them all again. Once everything was as in order as I could make it I went home, satisfied that I had done my portion to save the day. It was the second week or Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and thousands of people were lined up in stormy weather waiting for power to come on, we couldn’t even let them in the building with out power due to insurance and liability reasons. I didn’t even try to get paid for my time, I was doing it for those I thought would need my skills to get the out of a jam and for those that would be paying to see movies again that night. I LOVED that part of the job, be directly responsible for a few hours of relaxation for dozens, hundreds or thousands of people a night or afternoon.

The next day I was radioed by the GM and chastised for not communicating with him well enough and I had cost them another 4 theatres worth of passes. I was stunned and offended. So much so that I had dropped my radio grabbed my gear and was only one foot left in the fire escape to the projection booth when the door closed on it and I remembered my fiancé, new born daughter and step son at home, we needed that money as piddly as it was. I thought for a minute and decided I was done but I was not going to run out on the people that did appreciate my efforts, I was just going to find a new job.

A few hours later I told my Projection Manager the story. She had walked in an instantly recognised I was pissed off and fuming. She went and asked around about the night before and then lodged a complaint with the GM over it. Over the next few days several others expressed concern to me over my state and also lodged complaints on my behalf, I was simply done, wasn’t worth the fight, my thought was “Screw this clown, I am not high enough up the food chain to do anything but tell him off and not calm enough thinking about it to do it with out giving cause for dismissal. I was however extremely touched by the way others had my back. It was soon common knowledge in the building that the Management team had gone to bat for me and the GM tried to smooth things over with me with some Keg gift certificates and a “You are doing a good job.” Not a “sorry” or “I was a dick” but clearly he knew which side of the problem he was on and where the loyalty in the building was. Not for his sake did I change my mind and go back to work with out looking for a new job, but because those that I would have left to flounder with out me a few days before not once but twice. These people remained loyal to me in the face of the GM that was not known for his level head, having just proved it. They couldn’t give me a raise or a vacation or the love of a family, they gave me the respect and recognition I found valuable.

I out lasted that GM, had another that showed me the same respect, recognition and loyalty I sought, then had another that drove a wedge between all the team members and demoralise the management(which I was a part of at the time) and staff. I can’t say it was totally on purpose but he was a meat puppet doing what ever his boss said and had no grasp on how to create an environment of team work and lead a team, instead he brought more stress and fewer co-operation than ever before. Soon no one cared to be there and the two hardest working people on staff were consistently told they were failing at their jobs. Over 950,000 tickets sold, 93% rating with a massive staff turn over thanks directly to the GM and I failed at MY job (leading to my current motto of “You never hear about the other 93%”). Wasn’t long after that review I fired Cineplex as an employer. My next boss sealed his fate by saying “It’s not what you do right that counts, it is what you do wrong.” Instant fail, that is bullshit and it showed in his staff turn over.

Now I work for my bank account. It recognises that I out money in it. My kids respect me and love me for taking care of them as best I can and know that Daddy is working hard to make things better. I work WITH a great group of people. I often miss out on a morale boost I need simply because I don’t feel productive enough to waste their time that they could be spending with others. When ever I do talk to them they are nothing but praise, motivation, education and helping me grow into what I can be, what I desire to be. The failures don’t make a difference to them, how to make successes do. I get the respect and recognition I enjoy. I get the money I earn. I get new friends all the time, seriously watch what happens every third Saturday I add a few more friends the Facebook file. I feel nothing but love for and from the people I work with.

If you are genuinely unhappy then some motivating factor in your life is missing. Some means to your success and enjoyment of life just isn’t there. You have to figure out what it is. Maybe this story will help, maybe it won’t but the fact remains, when the things I was looking for where coming to me in that low paying low fame job I was happy there and content to ride it out. The second they weren’t I was miserable and no longer wanted to be there. The same remains in your life, whether work life, home life or love life, When it isn’t working you are missing something. So do something about it.

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