Thursday, April 26, 2007

Practice These Principles in All Our Affairs

Work is one of the places where I often find it most difficult to apply my program. I work in a bureaucratic environment where there are rules and regulations. My work, thankfully, isn't bureaucratic, although what I call "managerial BS" is constantly lurking around every corner. I work with a great bunch of people in my group. It's not the people that I manage who are a problem.

The administrators are the ones that I take inventory on. It is difficult for me to step back and feel peaceful around controlling, manipulative, and unhappy people. As my sponsor says, it takes one to know one. I find that when there is micromanagement, I become defensive and feel that I have to justify and answer all the inane questions being asked. In short, I resent being controlled. One of the classic examples of micromanagement is when "Bob" starts wandering the hallways at 4:30 to make sure no one has left work before 5. Or he questions what you are taking your sick leave for, pretending to care about your health. Or he enjoys being in everyone's business. Or he calls staff without Ph.D.'s "lower level" and rarely gives any positive comments, unless somehow it is reflected back on him. After having been at my job for 28 years, I'm seeing a drastic demoralization of staff since "Bob" took over.

So what I find is that I've got to let my resentment go. I decided to do a special fourth step inventory around "Bob". By taking my own inventory, I was able to determine that:
1. I'm okay with the work that I do and know that I do a good job.
2. I can't fix him but I can defuse his behavior and its effect on me.
3. I will focus my energy where it needs to be: on my work and not on the micromanager or his behavior.
4. I will stay calm and not get agitated. Essentially, I'll practice kindness and not let the controlling behavior take root in me.
5. I will keep in mind that the control freak has a compulsive behavior that isn't personally directed at me.
6. I do have an option to just excuse myself and take a brief "time out" for myself. I can protect myself by mentally or physically "leaving the field".

Here is a bit of humor on the situation:

The world is full of idiots. Of course, you don't need me to tell you that. Look around. They're everywhere--in the next cubicle at work, on the highways as you drive home, and probably hiding out in your own house as well. Just think how easy your life would be if the people around you would just use their heads for once and do what they're supposed to do.
Dream on. While you're at it you might want to think about what you'll do when you win the lottery.
The rest of us have an existential question to ponder. How do we do our jobs and live our lives in a world where most of the people are idiots who cant be counted on to do what they should? Your answer to this question will, in large part, determine how effective you are in your job and how happy you are in your life. Here are some options to consider:

Get mad -- The idiots certainly deserve it. If it weren't for (put the name of your favorite idiot here) your life would be so much easier and more productive. Of course if it weren't for gravity, you could fly, too.
Get even -- The advantage of this strategy is its utter simplicity. You don't have to be very smart to use it, in fact, chimpanzees are quite capable of grasping the concept. What they miss is the law of physics that states “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”’ The psychology can be stated in this simple equation: Get mad, get even, get retaliation.
Help the poor fools by explaining what they're doing wrong -- This is how people get even without admitting it to themselves. Some may actually believe they are doing a kindness by showing people the error of their ways. There is a special place in the afterlife reserved for the holier than thou, and it's a lot warmer than they expect.
Nag -- People may change in response to nagging, but they seldom change in the way you want. Keep trying; you may be able to convince yourself that you've done everything you can, but since the fools just wont listen, whatever happens to them is their own damn fault.
Go on Oprah and talk about your favorite idiot -- You can also call in and tell Rush; I'm sure they'll be interested. Other people who cant do anything may sympathize as well. Remember, the more you repeat the story, the better it gets.
don't say anything to the idiots themselves but think about them all the time -- This is the way people create stress related physical symptoms for themselves. The idiots around you wont listen, but maybe your doctor will.
Give up because you cant do anything anyway -- Depression strikes someone every ten seconds. The minute you give up, the next victim could be you.
Learn how to share the planet with the competency-challenged --You are never going to make idiots into smart, responsible people like you. The best you can hope for is to keep control of your own life and not give it to them by letting their problems push your buttons.
Can you imagine how miserable life would be if every idiot had the power to make you miserable?
by Albert J. Bernstein, Ph.D.


  1. I have tried ALL of the above. Still do. (Well, I've never been on Oprah, except in my mind) Ahhh, its a process. Today I will give up and attempt to "share the planet". It should be easy since I'm stuck home with a cough and nose "thing"'s when I leave the front door that it gets harder. I am wondering though how you and I managed to get the same exact boss.

  2. LOL- loved the "idiot" story!! I remember when I was working one day, a customer came in and said he was having a bad day. I asked him why to which he replied "the world was not following the script he had written for the day!". I laughed so hard 'cause I could so relate! Turned out he was one of the first people I got to know when I came back to the program...I shoulda known LOL

  3. Last week at Sunrise an old timer shared about "idiots." Ok he used the other word, A-Hole. Anyhow he had an experienced that forced him to look within himself. It was an opportunity for spiritual growth. When he concluded he said "If you don't have an A-Hole in your life today I strongly advise that you get one!"

    I love how all the fellowships offer a solution. How amazing is that!

  4. Thanks for the reminder...I'm fortunate to have a really good, supportive work environment, but I always need to be reminded to apply my program when I'm in stressful situations. It's so hard to remember to respond to everything with kindness...

  5. Damn! It's gravity that's been holding me back all this time. Better cancel the plastic surgery on the wings.

    Keep it simple, stupid. Why do I keep forgetting that?

    Well, I know you want to keep your serenity and all, but I'll wish for Bob to fall in a hole or something for your sake, just 'cause I like you.

  6. I spoke today at a meeting.
    I haven't done it in a long time.
    Because what is said in these halls doesn't always stay in these halls.
    What did I say?
    Just that and then some. I told them to take their own inventory and NOT mine. And I ended with this quote.
    "Great minds talk about ideas, Good minds talk about things, Small minds talk about people."
    Thank you Syd,

  7. I never read posts that are this long.
    Except this one today.
    Thanks, Syd.


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