20 Times a Lady A Novel
By Karyn Bosnak
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2006 Karyn Bosnak
All right reserved. ISBN: 0060828358
A List by Delilah Darling
Friday, April 1
A list. Tony Robbins is telling me I need to make a list. A list of things that are wrong with me. Issues. Problems that need fixing. You see, I don't have a therapist, so I rely heavily on self-help books (usually the audio version, downloaded into my iPod) to work out my problems. I wouldn't make a list for just any self-help guru, but Tony's my favorite, not only because he uses sexy phrases like "pathway to power" and "avenue of excellence" but also because he's freakishly huge and has really white teeth. According to him, if a man with artificial hands can play a piano (which apparently, he can), then a perfectly healthy woman such as myself can overcome a few issues. But first I need to come up with a list.
Since I'm at the office I probably shouldn't be doing this, but it's late Friday afternoon and a mandatory staff meeting is beginning in twenty minutes so it's useless to start a new work project. What's not useless, however, is to start a personal project, so I grab a piece of paper and begin writing. Time is tight, but I think I can finish my list before the meeting begins; I just need to focus.
There, finished. To be honest, this is usually where I stop. Although I sayI "rely heavily" on self-help books, I usually just read/listen to whatever the guru has to say and nod in agreement, like "Yep, that's me. I sure am a mess!" I don't actually take the necessary steps to fix whatever problem I'm addressing; I usually lose interest by that point. It's part of the first thing on my list, not being able to focus. But today is the day I'm going to change all that. Today is the day I'm going to explore these issues a bit further.
Okay, one, the focusing problem. I think the reason I can't focus is because I have a mild case of undiagnosed ADD. I'm not sure if ADD just didn't exist when I was younger or if my doctor was a complete moron, but whatever the reason, I'm pretty sure I have it. For example, I can simultaneously play computer solitaire, read Glamour, instant message multiple people, paint my nails, talk on the phone, and work better than anyone else I know. I call this multitasking. I also have a hard time finishing things I start, like projects, for example. Considering my job title is "project manager," this can be a bit of a problem.
I work at a company called Elisabeth Sterling Design (ESD for short), a company that designs and manufactures a popular line of household products. Elisabeth Sterling, a woman from humble beginnings, started her now-public company just fifteen years ago in a small Harlem studio apartment. She's an artist who painted modern geometric designs on dishes that she sold through neighborhood boutiques. The dishes became all the rage in New York City, so much in fact, that she couldn't keep up with the demand. Being the savvy businesswoman she was, rather than just hire an apprentice to help keep up, she hired a publicist to create some more hype and then a manufacturer and distributor to produce the dishes in mass quantities. Soon thereafter, Elisabeth Sterling Design was born.
To make a long story short, the line that began as dishes today includes just about every household product you can imagine--from cleaning to decorating to gardening--and is available exclusively at Target stores across the country. Four years ago, in what has become one of the biggest IPOs in history, Elisabeth took the company public and became a billionaire. Elisabeth Sterling is a household name. Elisabeth Sterling is an icon.
But let's get back to me not focusing.
In addition to multitasking and not finishing projects, I tend to go off on tangents and speak in circles. (I sometimes speak in parentheses too.) And also, footnotes.*
Okay, now that I've explored one, let's move on to two. Yes, I feel like I'm being held back at work, but after rereading what I wrote about my boss being a lying fat pig, I feel like I should address the fact that I'm a tad judgmental first. I know it's wrong to judge others, but when it comes to people like Roger, I feel like doing so is justified because he's a slime ball who once tried to steal an idea from me. About six months ago, I had to come up with a unique color name for a pair of light green oven mitts that my team had just designed (to Elisabeth nothing is ever just orange, it's pumpkin or persimmon or harvest moon) and was looking out the window, staring at the Statue of Liberty when suddenly, it came to me. "Oxidized copper," I said aloud. Although "oxidized copper" might initially evoke thoughts of something rust-colored, copper turns green when it oxidizes, which the Statue of Liberty so beautifully demonstrates. "Oxidized copper." It's a smart and clever color name, and I knew Elisa beth would love it because she's smart and clever herself.
Since Roger is my immediate boss, I report to him, and then he reports to Elisabeth. When he told her about the color name for the mitts, she loved it so much that he somehow ended up taking credit for it. When I found out and confronted him, he started whining pathetically saying, "She didn't give me a chance to explain, and now it's too late . . ." and blah blah blah. Lucky for me, my best friend and coworker Michelle is a tough cookie from Queens who refused to let Roger get away with what he did. To help me get the credit I deserved, she and her frizzy red hair marched into Roger's office and demanded that he confess to Elisabeth, saying she had proof that I came up with the color name and not him.
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