Friday, October 30, 2009

I Was Told There'd Be No Math

I hate numbers. Ever since 4th grade when I convinced Mrs. B not to make me fool around with multiplication tables, I've hated numbers. In fact, the only thing I hate more than numbers is money. Money- both in its lack and its abundance- can cause my stomach to turn and my hands to shake. It gives me nightmares and taps into my deepest anxieties and doubts. I've actively sought, throughout my life, to not deal with money. Personally, professionally- it's the one piece of my life that I'm happy to pass along to someone else- to anyone else who seemed either remotely competent or remotely interested.

So when I backed into my current position (and it was backing in- I didn't apply or request the job, I was simply the last person left after everyone else quit), I was most nervous about managing the budget. I wasn't just nervous about it- I was afraid of it. For two years, in fact, I managed to avoid dealing with it at all. When forced into conversations, I stammered and blushed and ran away as soon as I could.

Then, last year, the shit hit the fan. I finished the year deeply in the red. I couldn't avoid it anymore. Grudgingly, slowly and with much trepidation, I waded into the books. I made some sense of the crazy accounting practices at work. I created my own systems for keeping track of the status of my accounts. I didn't learn to love it- I doubt I ever will- but I learned enough that one day I discovered that I wasn't afraid of the books anymore.

Today I had a meeting with folks who hold my continued employment in the collective palms of their hands. I had prepped within an inch of my life and I went in hoping only that I wouldn't cry and that they wouldn't discover some blatant, terribly obvious error in my books.

Instead, I kicked ass. I answered every question clearly and without any bullshit. (Bullshit was my friend in previous budget conversations. I just made stuff up to get myself out of the meeting as soon as possible.) When I left, it was with some suggestions for improved communication of what was- not with an admonishment that I magick up some new money out of the ether.

The Badass knows that you have to do the thing that you really don't want to do, if you really want to be the Badass.

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