The time I fell out of my shoes when i was a corporate hot shot

I have told many heart-warming and faith filled stories. I have written many stories and posts about my deep and abiding love for my family and friends. I haven’t told too many stories about my time spent as a corporate up-and-comer. For those not familiar with that term, I am talking about a time in my corporate career when I was rising rapidly through the ranks. I was working for a company that had a great system set up for eager professionals in their 20’s who were fresh out of college and super-dedicated to their jobs. I was willing to relocate at the drop of a hat. I learned job requirements rapidly, as I was a quick study. I would set up systems for the tasks so that I could train my replacement quickly. The company quickly identified the ones who were the super stars. I was one of those.

Now I don’t mean I broke through to the super high paying ranks of upper management. Instead, I was in the group that got put in charge of all kinds of fascinating, exciting special projects. That was absolutely perfect for me. At one point I was one of about 20 similar-minded enthusiastic people nationwide that was put in charge of a very cool project. I worked for a computer company that manufactured and sold mainframes and minicomputers. This was in the days in the computer industry before PCs. Various managers of sales branches across the country had been accumulating equipment in ‘secret warehouses’. The special group had to go and ‘seize’ the equipment, have their people refurbish it and then make it available for customer contracts. The branch managers were against the project. Our group had to meet with the branch managers in our particular region, ‘sell the program’ and subsequently arrange to travel to each sales branch and reacquire the equipment.

I was assigned to a region that I had already worked in. So I knew these branch managers to a certain extent. I met with them at their regional meeting and gave a presentation about the program. This was before the days of Power Point. We are talking transparencies  and overhead projector. Their I was in my big girl power suit and big girl tie. I had on my platform shoes that made me feel like I was in charge of the world. I was VERY excited about my shiny new pointer to use during my presentation. It was a telescoping pointer, and fit in my inside suit jacket pocket. I know, Katie bar the door, it was really cool. So I was using my pointer and giving just an awesome speech.

I was walking around in the front of the room, maintaining eye contact,giving my speech, and using my pointer to point out different things on the movie screen. I grew more and more excited, walking faster, and gesturing excitedly at the screen with my pointer. As I moved toward the center of the room, I walked quickly—and tumbled. Yep, tumbled, in a partial somersault. My shiny pointer bent, and I came right out of my shoes. Yeh, I really did. One shoe flew in one direction, the other in another direction. Some of the men half stood up and looked over their tables to see if I was hurt. There was a very awkward silence in the room.

Me being me, I jumped right up. I flung my arms in the air like an Olympic gymnast–and said ‘not only can I do that, but I WILL consolidate the equipment in the region. My guys WILL refurbish the equipment. You can count on my dedication—and I will be the consummate professional.

The men in the room were so stunned that they laughed and burst into applause. I laughed heartily as well. You have to be able to laugh at yourself when you make a complete idiot of yourself. They couldn’t resist. They couldn’t maintain their ‘who can trust women’ mentality that they originally held. I guess they figured if I wasn’t going to collapse into a pool of tears after embarrassing myself then maybe I could be in the sandbox with the big boys. They were right, of course. I could handle it just fine. :-). When my husband and I became parents, I left that world behind to be home with my son.

My eagerness to roll with the punches in many situations did not begin that day, of course. Tomorrow perhaps I will tell you a parallel story from my childhood that shows you the seeds of my ‘i can take it’ mindset. I hope my story today brought some laughter and light to your day. It was a very silly moment in my life. What a contrast—walk in the room as ‘corporate hotshot’—finish the presentation as Mary Lou Retton. 🙂

About Kate Kresse

I love to write, I love to talk, I love to uplift people when I can. I am a woman in love with life. I am a wife, mom, tutor, writer, and I am a perennial optimist. (OK not every single minute but you get the point! :-)
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14 Responses to The time I fell out of my shoes when i was a corporate hot shot

  1. LeRoy Dean says:

    Quite a story. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Cathy Monteiro says:

    Ah, Kate, this got me to remembering. Like you, in the 80’s I was a YUPPY, Young, Urban Professional. I worked like a dog, graduated college in the Honor’s Program in 3 years, then on to law school. Passed the bar with flying colors. Was hired in the Public Defenders Office. I was going to save the world and valiantly defend the innocent. I bought one of my first power suits. It was a beauty. It was a creamy green wool suit with shoulder pads out to there. Fine silk emerald green blouse. I was at my swearing in ceremony in the Ohio Supreme Court. This was my moment–until I raised my right arm to take the oath and the price tag of my gorgeous suit stuck out from under my arm for the entire Bar to see.

    This incident was quickly followed by another fine moment. Now my parents were blue collar, never went to college. I was their star– the first to not only go to college but to law school to boot. My dad was an aircraft mechanic. He was very fastidious and used to scrub the dirt and grime from his hands every time he worked. At my Law School graduation, Dad hugged me with a tear in his eye and said, “You’ll never have to get your hands dirty.” Well, as I said, my first real job was with the Franklin County Public Defender. All newbies had to work in Muni –basically OMVI’s soliciting, the minor crimes. It was my time to do Arraignment Duty–the first contact a Defendant has with the court. We had to go to the “tanks” where those who were picked up the night before were locked up before court. I got the file of a drunk. I was asking him the preliminary questions: where do you live, work, etc. He turned a funny color then threw up all over my suit. After I got cleaned up I called Dad and let him know that although my hands were pristine, my suit was a mess!

    It pays to have a sense of humor!!

    • Kate Kresse says:

      oh my gosh, my friend. You are so REAL. I love the price tag story. God was extra careful to keep both of us humble. you have to laugh. you have to. (I can here Sister Eileen from my college saying to me with her Irish brogue and twinkle in her eye ‘katie darlin’ don’t be goin at gettin all high and mighty missy….pride goeth before a fall, don’t ya know’. She was so right, so many times).

      and Arraignment Duty—well I guess that got you ready for teaching kids, right? throw up is throw up whether it is a drunk in the tank or a wee one in the classroom. it is amazing the oddities of life that we learn to laugh about. thank you for the comment. your life experiences have so much in common with mine. and your sense of humor, too. no wonder we are friends. sending sunny hugs to you in OH today ❤

  3. dogear6 says:

    I hadn’t thought about platform shoes for years! What a disaster – I’m surprised we didn’t break out necks wearing them.

    It took me a long time to figure out that if someone got offended because something like that happened, to be careful around that person. Because frankly, if they were judgmental on the superficial, they were not trustworthy.

    Loved your story (yes, I’m still at work, waiting for numbers and surfing the Internet).

    Nancy

    • Kate Kresse says:

      argh so sorry you are still at work! hope you get some comp time for all the extra hours :-). My platform shoes had the part that went over the front of my foot but nothing at the back. the platforms were about 3 or 4 inches thick. quite a tumble!

  4. Loved this Story.. To laugh at ourselves is a gift… to make others laugh is a greater gift! 🙂 you made me laugh today. Thank you for that gift xx

  5. It’s not about the disasters that happen to us it’s the way with deal with them that makes us stronger, wiser whole people.

  6. Great story! Oh, platform shoes…haven’t thought about those for years. I did my fair share of falling out of them on more than one occasion too!

  7. Poor thing! But we get to harvest from the humility that was planted that day . . . 😉

    • Kate Kresse says:

      God knows the precise moment when I need a perspective change. :-). Wait til you see my post about my early ballerina days :-). It prepared me for falling out of my platform shoes 🙂

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