Wake. Up. Call.

I had to chuckle at myself this past Tuesday, on my way home from the first meeting that our LinkedIn group held at a local restaurant.  Under normal circumstances when I know I’ll be among professionals from other areas (the professionals in my area of expertise are generally happy simply to get most of the grease from under their fingernails), I am usually dressed in a tie and slacks, and well-prepared to meet whomever fate will introduce me to.  To this meeting, I arrived in jeans and a grey Phi Delta Theta V-neck sweatshirt, and feeling like hell.  The day prior, on Monday, I took a direct hit to the right eye with a racquetball, and I hadn’t brought my A-Game to the meeting because of it.  Most foolishly (or maybe fortuitously, as first impressions go), I forgot my own stinkin’ business cards, and a simple pen and paper to jot ideas down on.

Aside from feeling under-dressed, I met some really kind people.  I have been tossing around ideas with each new thing I learn about how best to get to my goal of having many skill-sets (fixing, flying, and selling anything), and eventually starting my own business, and the ladies I met at this meeting were very willing to toss out ideas to help me get to where I want to.  I felt quite like I was not in what most would call the “right” company, but not that I’ll never achieve their levels of success.  It made me only slightly uncomfortable–as if everyone had brought a dish to a pot-luck, and I had not–but I know that if I surround myself with chefs for long enough, one day I’ll learn enough to make a dish to bring, too.

When I look at them, I see my future.  It motivates me to get away from being simply a worker-bee on the hangar floor, because when I’m around my coworkers, I look at them and see the future, too.  It’s unnerving sometimes, because I am in no way planning on sticking around there for 3o-plus years, hoping for an opportunity to show enough of my colors to the people who could move me up.

In any case, this meeting was certainly a wake-up call for me…I suppose the injury is a good enough excuse for a poor first impression, but in the end I’ll still know that I should have been better put-together.  After all, first impressions are everything, in most cases.  It’s a lucky thing, in this case, that I get another shot to sit at the adults’ table.  Lesson learned.

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