Imagine that you are at your dream travel destination solo and that you are walking down a road alone, in a quest to find a taxi. You are thinking of which location you are going to visit first and planning your route, based on which streets will go through the most landmarks on your list. A day, of course, is not enough to go by all of them, but you are trying to include as many as possible.
Now imagine that during your first day there, you managed to see a third of the total landmarks you wanted to see. Most of the landmarks had long queues all through the day or maybe a main street/avenue was completely closed off, due to some kind of maintenance that forced you to go around it and straight into traffic. Would you be angry at yourself for making it to only to a third of them in a day? My guess is no. You would probably be too excited about what you managed to see. The intense scent of those orange trees coming from a garden you happened to walked by. Or the funky old lady waiting in queue, that looked too cool not to introduce yourself to!
Now let’s travel back home to your job (boo!).
So, you walk in to work, and you have X amount of tasks assigned to you by your management. You plan your day out and realise that you will probably have to finish a few the next day, as they are too many to handle by the time you leave work.
At the end of the day the management expresses to you how unhappy they are with your performance, because you only finished a third of the tasks assigned to you. Would you be disappointed in yourself for the low percentage of work you have produced?
The reason for only finishing a third, was because the company’s system crashed and was offline for 2 hours. Then when it did work, it was slow!
The answer to the above is usually worse than disappointment. You become angry at yourself for not doing or being better. Earlier on you were so happy with the draft of the coaching plan you created for work. Or the shared spreadsheet that has made everyone’s mornings easier by organising all the information everyone in the company needs to know as soon as they sit on their desk. And now, you’re angry. I think you get my point!
See, even if you think about it later on and realise that it was not really your fault, you are still remaining in a toxic environment where there is an ongoing cycle of ‘your work is not appreciated’, and you are blamed for problems that were not within the realm of your responsibilities.
You might think that the main difference between the two scenarios is that one is work and the other is holidays, but you are wrong. The main reason is the person in control of the tasks. When the work you do is fulfilling, exciting, challenging, but have a boss that shifts blame on you, then you are – or will gradually become – miserable (if the actual blame belongs to the management that is in fact accusing you, then pull the misery closer twice as fast).
You need to get yourself back to reality: the work you do is the best that you can do using the tools that you have and the time provided to complete it. If you find yourself in a similar situation to the work-scenario above, then take a moment and step into a thought bubble. Now take one of the following decisions:
I will quit and find a job where my boss appreciates me and my skills.
I will quit and work on my own, because I have a realistic expectation of pushing my boundaries to become better.
I will stay at the same job understanding that I feel miserable.
I will stay at the same job and try to make a change.
Whatever you decide, own it. Because at the end of the day, it’s your decision whether you stay in a situation or go.
Why is it so easy not to let the failure of not seeing all the sights consume you, even though you are so excited to and want to see it ALL? Firstly, it’s a project that you love and have fun doing, no matter what you have to go through to complete it. But it might also be because you witnessed the problem(s) first hand and that’s why you understand that they were out of your reach to fix. Maybe it’s because you were independent in that scenario. There are many ‘ifs’.
I expect that some will tell me that I shouldn’t compare travel scenarios with day-to-day scenarios, because they don’t relate!
…good thing I can write whatever I want on here! So let’s get back to it!
The one gives you absolute freedom to make a complete plan of action and the freedom to decide how to react when facing obstacles. The other gives you the illusion of freedom to make up a plan, and to decide how to react when bumped on to any trouble. I’m not saying that you should become a freelancer. I’m saying that the difference is the illusion of freedom that builds up your expectations.
The fact that you work for someone, does not entitle them to claim your sanity. You decide what your limits are. But let’s be honest. In economic terms, as an employee you are an asset. But in your daily life, you feel more like a tool instead.
Find the people, job and enviroment that appreciates your work and treats you like an asset. If you settle for less than that, it’s fine. As long as you understand that this is your decision to take the easy way out.
You might think that I’m lightly saying that settling for the abuse is the easy way out, but I’m not. Because it is. The more a person suffers, the more they can endure the pain/struggle. But doing something new, innovative, strange takes all the bravery a person can muster. The funny thing is that you can’t even deny this, because one way or the other you know it’s true. You are either the conformist that has settled out of fear of the unknown, or the person that has risked a few times in their life and knows how scary it feels to step out of your comfort zone.
As this post is already too long, I’ll end my rant here.
Please Go Explore the world out there and the one inside you. Or at least dip your toe in the water and taste the happiness and confidence that exploration offers no matter the outcome.