The Allure of the Rose-Tinted Iris

“I’ve been around long enough to know what they take for granted and what they consider important. No matter how important you become, your work will be taken for granted because it doesn’t have an immediate impact to the bottom line. Your work takes a long time to pay off. I know you’re looking for a promotion, but I doubt it’s in the cards. Don’t get your hopes up.”

The above quote was told to me((more or less, I may be slightly miswording it five years later)) in the fall of 2009. I was working for a call center in middle-of-nowhere Ohio, and the above quote came from my supervisor’s supervisor. I had just been turned down for a promotion to a supervisory position, despite being the top performer in my entire call center while working our much maligned overnight shift. I’d apply for a similar position three more times over the next year, only to be turned down each time because I was considered to be too valuable in my current position.

There’s a certain beauty to being youthful and enthusiastic. To try over and over again with the mindset that even though you failed ninety-nine times, you’ll succeed on the 100th try — it’s a refreshing way to view life. There’s a certain bliss in ignorance that allows us to be optimistic about the world around us, our current state of affairs, and even our future. It’s the kind of hopeful enthusiasm that allows you to think Red Lobster is a fancy restaurant when apparently it’s not. I’m fully of the mentality that any place that serves cheddar biscuits is a classy establishment, but I’ve been told I’m incorrect.

A small part of me has always believed I can fix anything and everything. In nearly every job I’ve worked in I’ve either made changes to the way things are done to improve how things work, or made suggestions to those in power if I was in no position to do anything myself. Sometimes, my thoughts were taken and acted upon((results were mixed, as is the case with anyone with limited business experience)), other times my input was ignored. Nevertheless, I thought that I could make things better.

I still have those rose-tinted irises((they’re not glasses…I don’t wear glasses)) that I look through on an occasional basis. They’re the eyeballs that give me hope that I can make an impact on the world around me. It’s the excitement of opportunity and the hope that people around me will listen to my advice. My education-heavy words are now becoming impacted by the wisdom that’s formed with years of business experience. I’m getting more gray hairs than I should be at 27((technically 26 at the time of this post, though I’ll be 27 tomorrow)). I’m becoming more and more jaded with the world around me.

And yet…every once in a while I look through those rose-tinted irises and see the world for what it’s full of. It’s full of opportunity. It’s full of hope. It’s full of chances. I encourage you to chase after them.

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8 thoughts on “The Allure of the Rose-Tinted Iris

  1. Because I have a tendency to foresee gloom and disappointment, rose-colored irises don’t even make me too hopeful and enthusiastic, they just balance me out. I try to purposefully be optimistic or else I’d just be Eeyore.

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    1. I’m a hardline realist at times, so I have to overtly try to be optimistic in order to be positive. That said, there are certain things (usually those where I lack experience with the topic) that I’m almost always taking a completely positive view on. It usually comes back to hurt me in the long run, but in the short term, it’s incredibly beneficial because it makes me extremely motivated.

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    1. Oh, don’t worry. Life is already pretty damn good about doing that. With that being said, I try to retain some level of my optimism when I need it most.

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  2. I’m rarely optimistic about the future, but I don’t wear rose tinted glasses, and especially not in my past.
    What you wrote about not being promoted because you were too valuable in your current position, I’ve had that so many times, and it’s disheartening and I don’t know how to move past it.
    In my current work place I can’t move up, I can only go sideways, but luckily my company are good enough to give me training that I could get a more senior position, even if it’s with a different provider.

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    1. I would never advise people to be overnostalgic about their past, especially bad situations. With that said, I do think there is a benefit to having rose tinted glasses looking forward, if only to offset the jaded nature that humans develop over time.

      That not moving up was the very reason I left the call center I worked at while in grad school. If you have the opportunity to go somewhere that you can both advance and be appreciated, go for it.

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  3. I go back and forth on this.

    Sometimes I’m very optimistic and I know things will work out. Other times, I’m the complete opposite. It kind of depends on how my job/personal life is going at the time.

    I currently work at a call center that may-or-may-not be closing within the next couple of years (maybe sooner). There’s a lot of uncertainty, but the one certain thing is they are not doing ANY hiring (including internal promotions) until at least 2015. So I’m kind of leaning toward pessimism right now.

    I do admire you for continuing to find the positive in life. I think I’m getting better about this with age, but I still have to work on it constantly (as I’m sure you’ve done as well).

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    1. I’ve been in your very position before. The call center I worked at in grad school always had rumors of closing. It’s been open 11 years now, and I’m pretty sure they’ve talked of closing it for at least 9 of them. It’s hard to be optimistic working in a call center at times, however things usually do work out for a reason.

      The optimism thing is admittedly a new attempt on my part that I’ve been trying over the past couple of months. I’m going to see how well it works out, as pessimism got me nowhere, and realism has only taken me so far.

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