What to do when you discover a snake in your living room on a Friday night.

It was Friday. Last Friday, in fact.

The week had been long, and I welcomed the weekend with open arms.

My husband was out of town for a cycling race, so my daughter and I had big, girlie plans ...

Manicures

Katy Perry movie

Slumber party on the pullout

Craft project

Jack o'lantern carving

Hot tub

Note that nowhere on our weekend agenda is the line item:

Extract snake of unknown origin from living room floor

Nowhere.

Honestly, it just never -- did not EVER -- cross my mind that, in my lifetime, I'd have this little ditty on a to-do list. Not ever.

So you can only imagine my complete shock and confusion when, indeed, I came home from work, threw down my bags and was greeted by a snake of unknown origin squiggling around on my living room floor.

W-T-F.

I mean, seriously, W-T-F??

For a split second, I thought my now-three-hours-away husband was playing some sort of joke on us. Like, this could not possibly be a real snake. It's a mechanical one, and he left it behind just to have some fun, right? RIGHT?

Wrong.

This jerk snake was real. And in my living room. And MOVING.

In 1,000 years, I did not want to deal with a live, moving snake in my living room. I could feel my throat closing, and I was pretty sure I should call the fire department, stat.

But I put two and two together and deduced that he'd more than likely squiggle into hiding before they even got there, and THEN WHAT??

(We would move immediately, that's what.)

I realized I was on my own with this.

No matter who gave this disgusto snake the power to enter my living room, no matter how insanely unfair life can be (particularly when it expects girls to wrangle live snakes) ... I was on my own.

Help was not coming.

It wasn't. This one was on me. Completely, entirely on me.

And so I did what anyone in my situation needs to do.

I mustered up every ounce of bravado I could, instructed my first grader to find me a bucket and a dustpan, rolled up my pant legs (I don't know why. I was convinced he'd crawl up my pants), opened the front door, strategized on the most direct path from living room to doorway, and then did an imaginary shot of tequila (time was of the essence, people).

And then I scooped that sucker right up.

(OK, not RIGHT up. He felt my presence and then went all crazy trying to get away. I screamed. He freaked out even more and tried to bolt behind the bookcase. I stabbed the dustpan down to block his path. He almost got cut in two pieces on account of my stabbing. And THEN I scooped him up.)

(Thank God no one was videotaping this ridiculousness.)

I sprinted for the front door with snake climbing over edge of bucket (near my HAND! MY HAND!), tossed him into the landscaping, slammed and then deadbolted the door. Because you just never know when a snake might turn your door knob and get right back into the house, right?

Victorious.

My daughter and I sat back and laughed and laughed over what had just unfolded.

And then I just felt happy.

I'd just taken radical responsibility for something that I wanted absolutely NO PART in solving. I'd done the impossible.

Me. No one else. Me. I did it.

I'd won.

And once the shock of it all wore off, it occurred to me:

This is precisely how you're going win in your career.

You will win at your career -- whether it's a transition or a challenge that's making you crazy at your current workplace -- by forgetting about the unfairness and the unpleasantness of the sitch, and by not wasting bunches of time trying to find someone to blame.

You will win a hell of a lot faster when you embrace the reality and assume that help is not on the way.

It's not. It's all you.

You want things to be different, better, more lucrative?

So what are you going to do?

Here's what I'll suggest:

  1. Find the bucket and the dustpan, or whatever tools you need to get it done.
  2. Roll up your pant legs (because, really, it's just prudent).
  3. Take care of the damned snake on your own.

 You'll feel totally capable and amazing once you do.

How about you? Do you have a "snake in my living room" tale that gave you serious confidence and helped pave the way for your success? Share that story, slayer ... right in the comments below.

Photo: flickr.com Creative Commons (Herman Pijpers)