It is interesting to see how often, we as people, sit around thinking about what we should be doing, often without doing what we know to do. I find myself thinking about writing a blog, or biography of sorts, or a short fictional story, but I have yet to accomplish or even attempt any of those things in recent months.
It’s a small victory that I am sitting here writing right now. The number of distractions that continually race through my mind are impressive: “I should put on a pair of socks because my feet are cold; I should check to see if the mail has arrived (for the third time today); my goldfish, Dr. Pepper, needs a new light bulb and potentially a new swimming companion. Or should I get him a larger tank first . . . I want to go for a walk while it’s somewhat sunny and not raining; this computer screen is too bright; Man, do I hate Microsoft Word.”
Not one of those thoughts or activities has much to do with writing, at least not on the surface. Although, I certainly could use each of them as a writing exercise or a space in which I could develop my thoughts or characters, but realistically, they have nothing to do with writing. The best part about everything that I have written so far? It has nothing to do with the real reason I sat down to write. Nothing. It is all a clever way to, again, distract myself from the task that is at hand, which is to write about life.
Now to begin…
I currently work at a job that I used to hate, for a company that I used to despise, for a boss that has the likability factor of one who clubs baby seals to death. Aww. Now just to clarify, I still work at the same job, for the same company, for the same boss, who given the right opportunity, I believe, would club a seal pup to death. All of the factors that cause a person (specifically: me) to hate his professional life are still alive and well, and functioning in my career. However, I don’t care anymore. Let me explain that last sentence before moving on.
I’m still shaving, still showing up to work on time, and still wearing a tie everyday. So remove, “The Big Lebowski” image of me from your head and smell the freshly applied deodorant. When I say, “I don’t care anymore,” that simply means that none of the aforementioned factors (job, company, boss, etc.) are a controlling influence in my success or value as a person or professional any longer. That is not to say that they are not an influence, because they most certainly are; but, it is to say that they no longer hold or wield the power that they once did over my life. Why? I took the power from them.
I could write a booklet detailing what I loathe about my company longer than their Policies and Procedures Manual, and I work for one of the largest and most regulated industries in the United States. Focusing on the things about my company that give me an upset stomach won’t remove the ache or the problem. I do not ignore or pretend that those things no longer exist, but I will not give them more purchasing power for my attention than they deserve. It’ll ruin you if you allow it to. Instead focus on what you can control and yes, this includes your bad attitude. If your boss is making your life at work so bad that on Friday nights you begin dreading Monday mornings, than this next part is definitely written for you.
Do not lose your composure. Your ability to remain stoic when battling thoughts of getting fresh air by throwing your office chair through the nearest window (if you’re having thoughts like that, stop reading this and strongly consider writing a letter of resignation now) is imperative. You cannot let your emotions undermine your influence. You’re going to be angry at times, so use those moments to your advantage. Most people are a little bolder when they’re upset, so use that opportunity to tell your supervisor, or whoever is causing the harm, the problem and that it needs to be remedied. Do it calmly to avoid the situation from escalating, but firmly enough so that they know you are serious. Most people get pushed around because they never push back. Even aggressors are like most people and hate to workout, so if you give them one, they’ll quickly become tired and focus on someone else to harass.
Avoiding a person is one thing; being scared of them is quite another. I do suggest trying to avoid putting yourself in situations where you are going to have to deal with the problem child, because that will only waste your time. However, when you do have to interact with them, give them your undivided attention and look them so squarely in the eyes they’ll be reminded that they used to have a soul.
Now during these interactions, conversations can become childish or passive aggressive. Never meet the aggressor on their stage; it’s where they’ll perform best. Force them to your level and if you are comfortable, I highly suggest calling them on every inaccurate or disrespectful comment they make during the conversation, until they become honest and respectful. If they refuse, simply tell them that your time is valuable and in an effort to preserve it, the discussion is over until you can pick it back up with a superior present.
I believe that you can outlast just about anyone if you want to badly enough. The power of perseverance is incredible and if the offender can’t see your frustration visibly, they will begin wondering if you’ll ever quit, which forces them to change the way they approach you or give up entirely. Most people quit when there is no end in sight, so avoid giving them a finish line.
You are going to sweat, and you will get tired, and you may want to flip-out or quit occasionally. When you are in that spot of wanting to give up and just want the misery to end, use that to your advantage and speak your mind (respectfully, but brutally honestly. Pretend you’re British). What’s the worst that can happen? They fire you. Good. Now that you have accepted that firing is the worst thing that could happen, use it and be free!
Now try to enjoy the workout because it’s going to make you much stronger and it won’t last forever. The water break is coming.
This is not a manifesto on how to work a job you hate. This is how to work in a hostile environment and not only survive, but thrive while calling the shots and deciding on your own terms when to leave, if at all. Not because they ran you out.