Dear Lucy: I work for a company where I get to see a lot of what really goes on because my job is at a low level in the organization. People assume that I am not paying attention because of my status. But I do. What I see is a lot of backbiting, meanness, lying, frustration and little respect for the customer, the boss or each other. I try to be a pleasant team player. My efforts don't really matter. I need my job but enough is enough. I am feeling tainted by all the negativity. What can I do to stay in the saddle?
– Rough Rider
Dear Rough Rider: Sounds to me like everybody is having a rough ride! Here are some things to consider.
If this has been going on longer than three years, chances are it will not change without a drastic change in leadership. You don't control that.
Sometimes, no matter how pleasant we may be, a spirit of anger and resentment when anchored, will not be pulled up by one person's attempts to be nice. You don't control that.
I imagine that most of those people who remain in this environment somehow believe like you that they have no choice or control. Lack of choice and control breeds contempt. You don't control that. (Except in yourself).
I could go on and on. But you get the drift, right? The big question is this: "Truthfully, What do you control?"
You can control your own emotional response (not reaction) to what is going on. Stick to the facts. Nobody cares how you "feel" in that camp. You are at a decision crossroad and the decision must not be emotional. An emotional decision will cause you to snap one day and quit without thinking. Sometimes this really "feels" good but it does not pay the bills.
On the other hand, it hurts at a deep spiritual level to "prostitute" ourselves on behalf of our rent, car payment and eating! It helps to acknowledge with honesty why you continue to stay. However, stay only as long as it takes to develop and work your exit PLAN.
Your pain is not so much because of your environment at work. It is your need to survive and the lack of joy while you do it that hurts. Survival is not nearly as nice as thriving. When we are thriving, we are feeding the soul, mind and body.
You are responsible for your own loving and kind behavior wherever you go. You will never be responsible for how others behave. You are also responsible for putting your entire trust in God as the Source of your Supply...not the job and not those people. You are responsible for maintaining a personal state of continuous praise and thanksgiving. God is the author of your peace.
Stop looking at your job and the people there for your peace. You have one half of the equation right. That's the half where you behave courageously and kindly in an unhappy place. Now get busy on the second half. Do the best job possible while you ask God for another place to spread joy. Stay alert for any available free classes or opportunities to upgrade your skills. Maybe the call is for you to leave. But leave on your terms and be prepared to take even more to offer the next employer.
Sometimes we won't get off the horse until the ride gets too rough. I have found that pain is just a way for God to get my attention so that I can get a blessing.
(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy's new book, "BE NOT ANXIOUS." Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or go to her web site www.heartworks4u.com.)