You might agree with me that a huge percentage of the people living in this world are Mango people. The kind of mango people who would get up on a Monday morning reluctantly, crib about the fact it’s a Monday, post a Facebook status about bloody Mondays and finally make it through the morning and somehow reach the workplace, dragging feet and all.
Not to forget the thousands of cars on the road, each with just one or two occupants (car pools exist, or do they?). On a typical Monday, a mango like me would spend approximately 10 hours of her day at work – chit chatting, coffee and sutta breaks etc. helping me cope with Monday blues along with the very important what-did-you-do-over-the-weekend conversations. At work, acquaintances become a big part of our personal lives. People whom we love but maybe not like so much become a large part of our everyday lives. Given a scenario where you spend so much time with your peers at the workplace, it is impossible to not get affected by their madness, or to pass some of your madness to them.
At times, a very peaceful equation with a coworker hits a roadblock, specially when it’s that time of the year when everyone is vying for a salary hike and a superior title.
Come appraisal time and your boss and that competitive peer become a large part of your daily conversations either with other people or with yourself. Fair play tends to go out the window when you do not get what you believe you should. Your so called friends at work pulling you down at this time comes as a surprise, throwing you off-balance for a while until you get the drift.
Your boss tends to be pick on you at the smallest pretext, wreaking your over worked brain and leaving you clueless about where all the love disappeared. Basically, competition can sometimes lead you to the verge of losing your sanity.
I personally know a lot of people who are so burned out because of the things that they did not expect to happen at their workplace. So much so that it starts having an impact on their personal lives, on their individuality to be precise. I had my share of such meltdowns too.
However, in order to retain my sanity, I had to make sure that the not so pleasant events in the office did not wreak havoc in my life outside of it. I had to dismiss some incidents as trivial and move on. Here is how I did it ….
Follow the golden rule by the Great Mahatma Gandhi: Not every battle needs to be won, not every question needs to be answered.
Many of us have a colleague who is no less than a super human – with the super sweetness and the sugar coated conversations, they skillfully make their way through to the boss’s room with all the bitterness about you. There are times when you feel that Def Leppard had them in his mind when he sang “pour some sugar on me”. What the heck, you slog your posterior out but this boss’s sweetheart enjoys the icing on the cake and makes you look and feel like a loser. I know I know, what a nerd.
How you wish you could expose their real self to everyone. But because you can’t, the frustration vents itself in the form of sleepless nights, abusive language, angry banging of doors and so on.
When this happened to me, I had to say to myself: Take a step back. Wait a while. Introspect. Is this even worth giving space in your brain? You know what you deserve and you should know how to achieve it – you have just earned your Bournvile, my friend. Bitterness and malice do not let people survive for long, what counts is what you bring to the table.
Do you have enough to prove your ROI, in whatever role you have been assigned? If yes, there is no need to be insecure about the boss playing favorite. Your work will speak for itself, no matter what. That would be your real triumph over that one thing that has been bothering you.
Today when you reach work and bump into the boss’s sweetheart, smile at her and say – Baby, go take a walk!
Aligning Your Expectations:
Fairness in treatment. Understanding of your financial and personal constraints. Respect and recognition for your work. Meeting your demands – a worthy title and a respectable salary.
Let’s face it, your job is not going to give you everything at the blink of an eye. Some you get, some you would have to fight for and some, by all means you will not get.
Given this, it is important to set your expectations right. Prioritize and bucketize things that you absolutely want and things you can live without for another year. There would be things that you absolutely don’t agree with in the system but can hardly do anything to change it.
As a result comes the frustration of not getting your dues. But hey, you don’t have to go all out to please the boss. Leave that to the super humans. But if certain things bother you too much and you choose to live with it, you need to pull yourself up for putting up with nonsense too long. Do spare the bosses the blame.
In the long run, it does not pay to put up with things that do not align with your work ethics or your personal value system. Raise your voice against injustice. Only then will you be heard.
Too Much On Your Plate:
I am greedy for work and I know a lot of people who are equally or possibly more greedy for work. But I also know of people who want piles of work because they hate to sit idle. And then there is this other set of peeps, who are control freaks. Will my boss think I am not taking enough responsibility?
Whichever category you belong to, there are some lessons to be learned. I learned it the hard way, you have mine to learn from.
It is important to take on work. And it is equally imperative for one to analyze the appetite that you personally have. Would that extra task mean you would be stuck inside the office for 15 hours (scientists say you are not even productive after 6 hours) every day and go home only when your eyes beg you for some sleep.
Would it mean you would have to miss that scheduled meeting with your girlfriend’s parents, cancelling it for the nth time (man, you are dead meat already). This might sound trivial, but the bigger question is, would your bandwidth of mind and body allow you to take this up? And most importantly would you be able to add value to the task or to your team, because you already have too much on your plate.
If the answer to these introspective questions is a NO, then let it go. Rather, be the champ of what you can focus on and do a great job on.
Let’s give success a break. Let’s all give ourselves a break. It’s not easy and it is also not necessary to win every time, as failure has its own lessons. Sit back at times. Look back at what you achieved (sometimes beyond the bank balance) and you would know that sometimes, the battle of this madness is not a battle worth fighting for.
You have to take the sidewalk sometimes and not feel guilty about it.
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