a few months ago

Are you living the way you truly want to live, or are you a victim of your circumstances?


Are you living the way you truly want to live, or are you a victim of your circumstances?
 
Let’s say you have a job, and it pays the bills—but it absolutely sucks. You have an awful boss who is making you miserable, and you wake up with such dread every morning at having to go in and face your boss, knowing that he or she has nothing kind to say and will openly criticize you and or whoever the scapegoat of the week is. At the same time, all your co-workers are stabbing you in the back, and when they’re not stabbing you in the back, they’re stabbing you in the front, because they would rather you be the one with an open target for the hateful boss than them. Pretty bleak, but I bet everyone out there can remember having worked for and with people like this. I certainly can. Maybe you’ve asked yourself, too, how people like this can get away with being scumbags and actually sleep at night.
 
I remember working for a well-known chain of resorts in the mountains in my early twenties. The family-owned company had a propensity for hiring management whose rules bordered on abuse. My anxiety and stress were so high, and if you wanted to keep your job, the motto was to keep your head down and stay under the radar, as the manager at the time would either be on the warpath, looking for heads to roll from the moment he walked through the door in the morning and becoming cruel and verbally abusive, or be all smiles and happy and actually interested, to a degree, in how his staff was performing. It all centered on whether his live-in girlfriend at the time had put out for him the night before.
 
Pretty pathetic. Let me tell you, it is much like growing up in a house with an abusive father. You never know who he is going to be when he walks in the door, whether he had a good day or a bad day, whether he’ll rage and hit or just become cruel and hateful, calling you worthless and stupid. There simply is no difference, but how you respond is completely in your control. It’s always easier if you share and tell others about a bad situation in your life.
 
Here’s one maybe some of you can also relate to, and this is from a friend of mine who shared this with me recently. He worked in the oil industry for years, decades, making fantastic money, but he hated every single minute of what he did, and so did many of his co-workers. It was just a job to each of them, and though it paid well, nothing about it filled him with any joy or excitement. The only way he could cope with the fact that he had this great-paying job he absolutely hated was by self-medicating! For him, it was alcohol, getting blind drunk every night. For others he worked with, it was drugs, or abusing their wives and kids, or hitting casinos and gambling junkets on their days off, spending every cent they had. There was no joy in any of that, and that’s no way for anyone to live.
 
What about you? Think back to that time in your life. Maybe you were in a situation like above, and maybe you were doing that thing people do when they hate their jobs: complaining to family, friends, everyone about how bad your job is, how much you hate your boss and the people you work with, saying, “Oh, poor me. I’m stuck in this miserable situation and getting blamed for things I haven’t done.” Or maybe every day when the clock hit five, you hit the bar to try to decompress because that was the only way you knew how to cope with doing something you hated so much. If you think back on it now, I’m sure everyone can relate and agree that it really wasn’t an inspiring role for you to be playing.
 
So what if you get sympathy from others? Then what? Sympathy is not going to solve the issue, and neither is playing the blame game, saying you’re so hard done by and not able to achieve any level of detachment from the situation at hand. So what do you have to do? Well, in your mind, maybe you have this idea of being the boss, running the company, or getting a different job, doing what you really love to do. Ask yourself, what do I have to do to be the boss, to turn this situation around so that I’m running the place and have co-workers working together instead of against each other? What do I have to do to finally become my own boss and do what I really love to do?
 
Maybe one of the ideas you come up with is to show leadership, to take on extra projects not assigned to you, to show initiative. Will it get you the position you’re seeking? You don’t know what will happen, because none of us, believe it or not, have that crystal ball. But what you do have is the ability to immerse yourself in projects, to get joy from the extra steps and initiative, to enjoy the process. You may pause after a time of taking all this initiative and re-evaluate if it hasn’t gotten you promoted or gotten you the job you want. You might step back and look at getting another job, working for someone else at a different company, or striking out on your own, doing something else altogether. Have you lost anything by taking all this initiative? Absolutely not, because you took on a mindset of joy and appreciation, not pity, hate, anger, and a victim mentality.
 
It always comes down to either enjoying the process of doing what you have to do in order to stay in your current place or getting a different job. Remember that all these horrible and stressful things happening in your life are happening so you can see how you will cope with them. Instead of you thinking it’s so bad and horrible, think of it like a game. So you have a terrible boss and co-workers who would save themselves first and stab you in the back to do so. Instead of doing the poor-me thing, change it. Ask yourself, what am I going to do with this bleak, awful situation? How will I cope with it?
 
In your mind, convert your terrible boss and awful co-workers into a good boss and good co-workers, or if the situation is so bad that you just can’t do that, convert them instead into a boss and co-workers who have no impact on you whatsoever. You are fully capable of doing this, and most importantly, each one of us is capable of enjoying the process. Let me tell you, what happens when you do this is that the negative, stressful feelings, the lost sleepless nights, they disappear, and some pretty amazing things start to happen in your life.
 
It’s about reframing your life and telling a different story instead of the poor-me syndrome that everyone has suffered from at one time or another. The moment you change the story about yourself, not only do you feel differently about yourself, about the situation, but you notice that your life and the situation objectively change. Easier said than done? Not really. It is absolutely worth the effort it takes to get your head there, because it really works.


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  • Engin Soysal says:

    Wow… that first paragraph was … it scared me…
    Luckily I don’t have a job where my colleagues are *ssholes but I don’t like the work that I do (IT Engineer)…
    Thanks for the article.
    Cheers,
    Engin Soysal

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