Of Choices and Options: Truth Serum

‘Office View’ by Genesis T. Geraldino

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Truth Serum.”

By Marietta Geraldino

Every second is a moment of choice. To do or not to do. To hate or to forgive. To be thankful or be ungrateful. To stay content or to take the risk. Choice, after all, is integral to a person’s DNA.

Our pragmatic self might say ‘why forgive?’ or ‘take the risk.’ But our theoretical self might command ‘do forgive’ or ‘don’t take the risk.’ Sometimes, we feel too hurt or too disillusioned to even think that there is such a choice or that there are such options to choose from. So, most of the times, we opt to be invisible, silent, unchoosing ….

But I choose to be grateful for all the blessings that come my way. I choose to bless the people – acquaintance, friend or foe – that led me to a moment of choice and an option of grace.

When I was appointed by my University as Interim Academic Executive Officer (AEO), one of the College Deans, who has been a ‘good’ friend since college days, refused to ‘perform’ or to present her department’s Action Plan.

When asked to explain, she replied “I cannot accept that you are now the VP for Academic Affairs.” “I think,” she continued, “Ma’am so and so is more fitting for the job.” And when invited to take a seat (we were meeting in my office), she refused the courtesy and left the office still fuming and mumbling.

I did not understand where it was coming from. Nor had I the energy to dwell on someone’s bitter pill. That was one of my inflection points.

At that moment, I chose to uphold the integrity of the Office that I was entrusted to manage. I decided that such action and inaction from a member of the Academic Cabinet was not worth the time, the trust, and the resources that the University invested on its personnel.

I chose to perform well my duties and responsibilities, collaboratively, and within the premise of the University’s expected workplace culture. I chose to shine – unfiltered, unhindered, unbridled.

It was only years later that I realized the value of the experience. When that moment came, I chose to forgive. Why begrudge a situation that unmasked true intentions and enhanced my professional edge? Lessons were learned on office politics and workplace cliques that tend to cause job toxicity and exclusivity, rather than promote collegiality. I would have not gained such insights just by reading Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In‘ or Brene Brown’s ‘Rising Strong.’

Gratefulness is also a better option, I’ve decided. Opting to remain grateful to the individuals and institutions that nurtured my personal and professional growth developed lasting friendships and goodwill. I have remained appreciative of my work ‘bosses’, friends, and colleagues who cared enough to temper my ‘impudent’ and rough professional edges.

As the saying goes, “What goes around, comes around.” So I choose to view life from the lens of gratitude. I choose to forgive. I choose to be content with an ounce of risk-taking. That’s my narrative. After all, we are the choice that we make.

I prefer, where truth is important, to write fiction.~ Virginia Woolf

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