I recently had a conversation with a couple of colleagues. Well, they are friends at this point, not just co-workers. I truly appreciate having them as friends because we can talk about anything. But while at work our conversations usually start on work related topics and go where the wind takes them.
The other day, we talked about… you guessed it, work. And one of them was not feeling as engaged as she thought she should feel. In our line of work employee engagement is very important.
I told her that I know how she feels. (So cliche, I know, but I was sincere.) I was once in a position where I was micro-managed. No matter what I did it wasn’t good enough. The mistakes I made were the end of the world as we knew it. I worked long hours so I barely saw Bambino while he was awake. I didn’t sleep well. I had constant knots in my shoulders and stomach. The woman I reported to, Bad Witch, made work and life hell for me.
The few people who were left in our company felt pretty much the same way. We dreaded her visits to our office. I mean everyone complained. Loudly (when she wasn’t around, of course). It was kind of obnoxious but honest. But I believe in finding the best in every situation. I even make myself a little sick sometimes. 🙂 I would constantly try to rally the troops and get everyone to at least be pleasant when she wasn’t in the office. One man in that company used to joke toward the end of his tenure “If T is starting to get down, then things must really be bad.”
I told my friends about this. I described how miserable it was to work for this woman. How oppressive it was. I told them that I felt that it was me, as a person, that was being attacked on a regular basis.
My less-than-engaged friend nodded eagerly. “Yes! That is exactly what I am feeling! That is what I am dealing with right now!”
The other friend said, “So? How did you get over it? What did you do?”
I was hesitant to answer this question because I didn’t really want her to follow the same path; I like working with this woman. So I told her the realization that I came to which did help me deal with Bad Witch for the remaining days with her.
It was not about me. It was never about me. Bad Witch had low self-esteem. She was always belittling herself, too. She didn’t like the way she looked – hair and nails were never good enough, jeans didn’t fit just right, boobs were too small. When she made a mistake she seemed to forget that she was human so she beat herself up about a mistake for days. And I finally realized that she was insecure enough to feel threatened by a woman (me – in case you weren’t sure) who was very confident and didn’t really care how she looked.
Bad Witch wasn’t really bad. She was sad. And that was not my problem. I refused to let it be. If she wanted to be angry with me because I didn’t give a hoot about my hair being out of place or my jeans being too tight then she could go on being angry. I wasn’t going to let it affect me any more. If I did not accept the ‘gift’ of guilt or anger or deprecation that she was offering, then who ultimately owned it?
Again, my friend nodded eagerly and said, “that’s it!” It was almost like an ‘ah-ha’ moment for her. Realizing it and putting it into practice are 2 different things. But I think that perhaps she will be able to remember that it isn’t about her. Whatever she is dealing with or whatever ‘gift’ she is being offered can be refused.
We all get to choose (thank you, God, for free will) how we react to things. We get to choose whether or not we will accept the ‘gifts’ of guilt or sadness. No one can make us feel anything. Get rid of the phrases “you are making me feel guilty” and “you are making me angry”. We choose how we feel.
I know that my friend knows this. And I know that she will figure out a way to refuse what is being offered to her in regards to the negative emotions. She is such a wonderful, kind, and beautiful person who deserves to be happy.
May you all choose. Wisely.
In case you’re wondering… The reason I didn’t want to answer the question is because I actively searched for another job. I went on a couple of interviews and I tried to get away from Sad Witch. I was ultimately laid off which started me on the journey which has led me here.
We may not know the reason for the hardships we face while we are in the thick of them but we are blessed when we can look back and see the path so clearly.
Image from GeniusQuotes.net