Perfectly Imperfect: Overcoming Shame at Work

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”


Hitchen’s Kitchen. It sounds like a diner straight out of a romance novel. But there I was standing in yes, the kitchen, getting my first dressing down at my first paying job.

At 16, I had screwed up waiting tables. I got the special of the day, swiss steak, mixed up with sirloin. And so I kept putting in tickets ordering sirloins and the cook kept on grilling them.

And then it struck. The customers were happily eating sirloin while paying the “special of the day” prices. The owner’s profits were tanking.

By the end of the revelation, the only thing that was sizzling louder than the sirloins was Mr. Hitchen, the owner of the diner.

And he was scolding me—loudly. Harshly.

I stood there absorbing his tirade. I was shocked and silent while that warm wash came over my torso. My stomach felt sick. Then came the hollowness in my chest, up to my neck where the lump in my throat sat.

How could I shrink away? How could I get away from this feeling? I’m drowning, I’m drowning. Save me, someone. I want to disappear.


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