Sometimes it is Inevitalbe

I told myself when I started this blog that I would never write about work.  In part, I wanted to make sure that I never posted anything on the Internet that could be misconstrued.  You know, job security.  However, I  am realizing today that it would be absurd to never write about work, Why, you may ask?  Well, this blog is supposed to be about my life and work is a huge part of my life.  I spend 40 hours a week working.  The only other area of my life that I actually devote that much time to is sleeping.  So how could I not occasionally write about work?  That being said, I will never “bitch” about work.  Partly because that would be irresponsible on my part; partly because I have agreed, simply by working for my company, to uphold their image; and party because there is nothing that I could say that you haven’t heard or felt for youself before, so why waste our time?

Okay, so now that the salad is out of the way, let’s get to the meat of this post.  I have “one of those faces”.  Maybe it’s the dimples, who really knows?  What I do know is that I have “one of those faces” that apparently says to the world, “Tell me things!  Tell me very personal things about yourself”. I have always been thankful for this, as it has allowed me to connect with people on a deeper and more personal level.  However, there have been plenty of times when I just want to scream, “Oh dear God!  Please, just stop talking, I don’t want to hear anymore.”  For the most part though, when it comes to my co-workers, I am thankful for this inherent trait.

I share confidences with many of my co-workers.  People come to me to tell me their frustrations, their career goals, seek career advice, and I hope to occasionally hear a different perspective on things.  What I’ve noticed recently is that a lot of people who share their frustrations with me, from my workplace and from other workplaces, is that they all have a common denominator: they are frustrated, not with their job, but with the people that they work for, or with.  At this point it is safe to say that I have listened to hours of these frustrations and, more importantly (to me anyway), I have SHARED hours of these frustrations.  This all amounts to a HUGE amount of negativity being released into the universe, and I no longer want to be responsible for that.  I am not suggesting that we all just stop talking about the things that bother us; sharing our frustrations can be an incredibly healthy thing to do.  What I am suggesting is that we refocus our efforts on keeping our frustrations in perspective and not allowing them to dominate our thoughts, words, and actions.

Here are four simple truths that I’ve learned from my fourteen years in the workforce, as both an employee and a manager:

1.  You will always work for someone who is “incompetent”.  I think it is safe to say that most employees have felt, at some point in time, that they could do the job better than their boss.  From personal experience though I can tell you, when I had my chance to “do it better” it wasn’t as easy as I thought.  I ran a coffee shop and I ran out of coffee, more than once!  “Incompetent.”

2.  You will always work with someone who doesn’t pull their weight.  Whether it is a family owned business, a large corporation, or a non-profit, there will always be someone who skates by doing less than everyone else.

3.  You will always have an employee who is a “complete idiot”.   Maybe they won’t be an idiot all of the time, but they will have moments that will force you to question their ability to pass an IQ test.  When I was 19 I was pleased as punch with my ability to be proactive by getting a commercial refrigerator into the dumpster instead of just leaving it next to the dumpster.  How was I to know that the fridge had to be disposed of differently because of the Freon in it?  My boss had to actually climb IN TO the dumpster and lift it back out! Whoops!  “Complete Idiot.”

4. At the end of the day, you have to find a way to “punch out” and go home.  I work in marketing so I am constantly thinking of ways to “go at things” from a different angle.  What could we tweak to increase sales?  I actually have a notebook next to my bed so I can jot down ideas that I have in the middle of the night.  For the most part though, this is a “positive” way to take my work home with me.  However, if you go home every day and spend the first hour with your spouse, or kids, or roommate bitching about your job, that’s not healthy.  You will always have frustrations, but you also have the ability to choose which frustrations you take home with you and which frustrations you share with other people.

September has a way of forcing me to reevaluate my life and the direction that I am heading.  I find myself asking if I have lived a life of purpose, meaning, and integrity.  I strive to find ways to show that I am worthy and deserving of each breath that God has given me.  I strive to find ways to improve my position in life.  And I strive to find ways to love more, to love deeper, and to love stronger.

So far, with only six days into the month, I have realized that there are only six questions that I need to ask myself at the end of each day:

1. Was I a good Christian?

2. Was I a good daughter?

3. Was I a good sister and Aunt?

4. Was I a good friend?

5.  Was I a good student?

6. Was I a good employee?

My focus, at the end of my day, should be on what I did, where I was successful, where I failed, where I have room for improvement.  I accept the truth that I will always work for, and with, a complete idiot, a lazy bum, and an incompetent fool.  The question at the end of the day is: was I a complete idiot, a lazy bum, or an incompetent fool to someone that I work with, or for?  If the answer is yes, then my focus is on how I can improve so I do not fulfill that roll tomorrow.

So in the coming days if you come to me with your frustrations, don’t be surprised if I interrupt you to ask if YOU’VE been a good employee.  It’s not that I don’t care about your frustrations.  It’s simply that, if I am allowing you to share your frustrations with me, you are obviously someone that I care for and about.  Therefore, I am more concerned with how you can grow as a person than how other people in your life have failed to grow as people.  I would also hope that you would be more concerned with my growth than with my knack for keen observation and ready wit which I utilize in dismantling the job performance of those around me.

I can be a better person, I want to be a better person, and I hope that you will support me in this endeavor.  Because at the end of each day, I only want to be able to answer “YES” to each of my questions.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gratuitouslyyours
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 10:38:15

    I really enjoyed this one. It’s the classic “act, don’t react” scenario explained beautifully and in a fresh way. – Jamie


  2. Frank
    Oct 18, 2012 @ 17:16:12

    When a friend died a couple of years ago, at his funeral some of the people closer to him than I made some very nice comments. One was particularly good – on his mirror at home he posted a reminder to himself “Please don’t let me be an asshold today!” Truly words that we could all live by.


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