Lacking the Dread in My Head
It’s hard to describe but anyone who has ever had dread knows just what it is. That looming fear, that thing hanging over you, that potential disaster just a ticking time bomb away. I used to have this sometimes when I worked for companies instead of myself. I was parking my car at the post office when I thought back to a few moments of dread that I remember. And realized, ah, with a sigh, that I no longer had any dread in my head.
I don’t have anything in my life or especially, in my job that makes me anxious, there is no shoe that might drop. In the past, say twenty years ago, I might have been able to cite more than one cause of dread. But really, what it usually came down to was money.
Dread Over a Mistake
I worked for an outfit that made custom embroidered clothing, and my specialty was corporate and non-profit accounts, which were looking for nice items for gift shops and employees. One Christmas I was particularly happy with a large sale I made to an outfit in New Hampshire, the Forest Society.
Their logo wasn’t complicated, it was simply a green tree on a black background with some lettering. Piece of cake. I remember shipping their order and then getting a phone call in about as much time it takes for UPS to deliver to New Hampshire. Houston, we have a problem.
“They’re all wrong,” said the customer on the other end of the phone. “It’s a black tree, and the background is green!” The order had included fancy fleece jackets, expensive sweatshirts, and all done in heavy quantities. I quickly found the folder and then gasped. I had signed off on the logo and the wrong color was all on me. At that moment, boy did I find my inner dread. Omigod I just sent off a $10,000 order and it’s all wrong. It’s gonna cost me! It sure did, as our embroidery chief had to go through each piece and resew the logo over the one done wrong. Omigod. I got hammered on the commissions and made exactly zero.
Dread After Vacation
Another time I went on a magical vacation over to France, in the year 1988, for a glorious three-week escape. I had no reason to dread anything upon my return until a work buddy told me that a few accounts had kind of blew up in my face.
“They asked us to assign them a new ad rep,” he said quietly. “I guess they want to work with someone else.” That was my dread, back in the late ’80s, that someone else would call up my bosses and request a different ad rep to service their account. It happened several times, as would instances when customers would rave about how much they trusted me and loved me. I just didn’t appeal to everyone.
Today my job takes care of itself, I don’t try to sell things very hard, and the sales are done by others. I just focus on creating new content and working on making the existing content better. No dread. No sweat.