Early in my career, I was facilitating a manager meeting at a manufacturing plant. There were about 100 people in the session and the managers were going around introducing themselves, one-by-one they stood up and shared a few personal things about themselves.
At the far-right corner of the hall sat a supervisor, from simply observing his demeanor and everyone’s attention on him I could tell that he was one of the factory veterans. At his turn, he stood up and introduced himself using the following words:
“My name is Bill. I don’t remember how many years I have been here, but I have 64 months to go!” and he sat down. There was then awkward laughter in the room.
Can you imagine Bill’s mindset as he gets up in the morning and comes to work each day? It seems to me that the definition of his attitude is “Doing Time“.
He probably had a calendar hanging in his locker and every day he would cross off another day until his “release“.
In a different example, I have a client friend that every time he describes his job to me, he refers to it as his “eight-hour inconvenience“. At first, I laughed when I heard his words. However, after hearing them a few times it started to appear quite tragic. I actually started to feel sorry for him.
First of all, no one works eight hours these days. Most of us spend most of our life at work. Second, who wants to come to an ‘eight-hour inconvenience‘. I don’t know about you, but I want my job to be my eight-hour bliss, self-expression, kicking-ass, having fun and making a difference.
Third story… I have a personal friend who every time I ask her how she is doing she gives me the same answer: “The same shit different day…” Painful!
Let’s be real, not everyone loves their job. If you are one of the people who loves their job, consider yourself very lucky and blessed. It’s a privilege.
Some people find their calling and self-expression in their occupation and job. But others don’t. For some people, their job is purely about the salary. They need the job to pay the bills, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Coming to work to pay the bills is a noble and honorable reason to work.
My father in law used to say “No matter what your occupation or job is, any employment honors its employee“.
However, if you want to stay powerful, centered and present at work and not lose yourself, I recommend you adhere to the following principles:
- If you love your job, count your blessings, be happy and make the biggest difference you can.
- If you don’t love your job make sure you can genuinely choose your job, own your job or at least accept your job.
- If you can’t at lease choose, own or accept your job – leave your job and find another job that you can either love or at least choose, own or accept.
- Under any circumstances, do not accept or tolerate suffering.
It takes a certain level of numbness to stay at a job you are suffering in.
It’s like when your immune system is weak, the body is susceptive to disease. When you are deadened, you lose your self-expression, joy, creativity, and power. As a result, you are much more susceptive to become cynical, resigned, negative and a resentful victim.
It takes commitment and courage to not accept and buy into resignation, cynicism and the victim mentality.
There are two types of people that you could surround yourself with:
- Those who are negative and cynical victims, who frequently complain and blame others
- Those who are not interested in drama and mischief, and always take ownership and look to learn from their successes and failures.
The former will drain your energy and do everything to drag you down with them. The latter will support you to stay centered, strong and true to your greater self.
I am sure you know who to hang out with….