What About Bob?
I often get asked about what it’s like to be a CEO. I have to admit that I am not very good at responding….for I have a lot of mixed feelings as it pertains to the actual title and understood expectations. Technically; I didn’t really apply for this job nor did I even qualify. I didn’t have the CEO education or experience. In fact, I have a big embarrassing confession. Early on; I had a very hard time making decisions…not all decisions, but the tough ones. The ones that don’t make people smile. So I guess you can say I was the exact opposite of a CEO. I am a people pleaser and telling my customer (our remarkable students) something they didn’t want to hear was extremely difficult for me. So much that I made up Bob. Bob was my imaginary “Supervisor.” With Bob, it was easy to not take the heat. Bob was always to blame. He was the ultimate scapegoat and I fell in love with Bob.
“I’m really sorry Becky but Bob says your final grade is a ‘C,’” or “Heather, Bob says that we have to place you on attendance probation…I feel bad for you, but you know how Bob is.” But as with most co-dependent relationships, although they are satisfying on a superficial level, they ultimately lead to disappointment and heart ache. My relationship with Bob was no different because the dreadful day came when one of my students demanded to meet Bob. I won’t torture you with the humiliating details, but I had to come clean and confess that he was really me or I was really him…..it was a Sybil moment in my career and I was (am) ashamed. My insecurities… not believing in myself, got the best of me as they have so many times.
After the Bob bust, I made the decision to turn over a new leaf…to start fresh. I remember the special day well! I went to Kinko’s and asked them to replace my existing title on my business card from “Dental Assisting Instructor” to “Chief Executive Officer.” I waited for the clerk to question me or for some suited-up manager to come out and ask me what the hell I was doing….if I had permission to make such a drastic change, but nothing was said. “Don’t you know what this means?” I wanted to scream, but I was quiet…tense and totally anxious, but silent nonetheless. The next day, I picked up the cards and it was official…I was a “CEO” and I confess that it felt pretty damn cool. I still miss my old flame Bob…in fact; I really missed him this past week but I am fortunate to have an incredible team of employees that often share, solve, and even carry my burdens that come with my job description. I may not be the brightest CEO for I have so much to learn, but I guarantee—with the team that I get to work with each day– I am the luckiest. So who needs Bob? Not me!