In my last post I tried to explain sanity to the insane and while it felt great, it wasn’t really the whole story, was it? And no, you’re not the insane.
It all started with a request for recognition of a job I’ve been doing for years and ended with today’s frustrations, which have now turned to the most logical thinking I’ve had on the subject in a few days.
But in thinking through some issues, where is the door that leads to best practices and how come most people can’t find it?
In many ways, our jobs become the central locations of where we live our lives. We spend way too much time trying to make everyone at work happy, and too often you hear stories about people who realize that they have lost any sense of balance between work and home. And that’s the shame, isn’t it? To add insult to injury, many of us have careers that do not match what we might have imagined for ourselves as children.
I’ve been working since I was 13. My first job was as a teacher’s assistant for my kindergarten teacher. That might have been the most logic-based job I’ve had. Red went into one bin, green into another and no one got to play with sharp objects. Since that first experience, I have had six jobs over 26 years and here’s what I have learned:
You need a mentor. This can’t be said enough. Over the years, I have been lucky to have found a wonderful mentor at every organization I’ve worked for and it’s made all the difference. I lost my mentor this past December and I can tell you, honestly, that going to work isn’t the same.
Do not accept falsehoods. Part of having a mentor is learning who can be trusted and who cannot. In far too many work environments, there are people who choose to take the truth and turn it inside out for any number of reasons. The reality is that you’re wasting your time if you try to figure out why. Many liars don’t realize they lie and many more lie simply because it’s easier than managing effectively.
Be patient, up to a point. Isn’t it odd that we accept things in work relationships that we might not accept in our marriages or friendships? We hear our bosses say we’re lucky to have jobs in this environment (wonder who coined this term back in the 1st Century) and we let them tell us the sort of nonsense that we’d tell our kids to run from if they said a ‘friend’ said something similar to them.
Complacency is for the dead. At 16 I went to work for one of the few women who assigned to the Naval Investigative Service. She taught me that the only answer to a question I didn’t know was: I’ll find out. Throughout the years I have had that lesson come up in a variety of ways. Work, like the rest of our ‘normal’ lives, is a series of change and more change. I get scared when I hear that people do the same thing, the same way, every day. I wonder what’s so scary that they won’t change. And the same thinking goes into how you look at your job. Every day is a chance to learn something new. Teach yourself to remember this.
Know when to say: Enough. Now there’s the hardest thing, right? Is it a bad day, or a bad situation? The answer is pretty easy if we step back and ask ourselves what we would say to our best friend if they called you and told you stories that sound like they work in an office next to yours. We all have bad days. When those days become the norm, it’s time to ask yourself how long you want to stab yourself in the eye every day.
The other day I was contemplating where to go with this blog for the next few weeks. And, like magic, the answer appeared in a cloud, with a rainbow tail. Oh, alright, it came to me as I was sitting at my desk drinking an espresso.
It’s time to explore intimacy through workplace relationships. Also known as:
How to break up with a bad lover in three easy steps.
I wonder if I can tie this into the project I’ve been dreaming of for the past year:
A documentary on 40-60 year olds reimaging their lives through career changes.
What better way to start than to ask: Who are you and what did you want to do when you were 10?