Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hard On Yourself

There's a new trend on Facebook right now: people keep sharing these 'lists' of things that you need to do to
achieve happiness
lose weight
be successful
etcetera, etcetera.
Much as I loathe the idea of them (a knee-jerk reaction to 'self-help' stuff, which I was over-exposed to during my many years as a bookseller), I actually find some of them quite helpful, since I always seem to read them when I most need to.
Today's was "15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy", a list which included things like:
The need to be right
Resistance to Change
The Past

I came home from work today feeling mad at my boss, who luckily is away for weeks at a time but who was all-too-present this afternoon. For some reason, I am never the singing, dancing frog around her. (Thanks to Warner Brothers, and the excellent Douglas Coupland and his book "Microserfs" for this analogy, which I know I've used before.)
My boss at the puppet store makes me feel stupid. No, that's not exactly true; I AM stupid around her. I am the dull, vague, inefficient version of myself when she's there. I am nervous, I am flustered, I make stupid mistakes and worse, stupid decisions. I think some people just set you off like that. There are magnets that attract, and then there are those that repel. She can be kind, like when she told me to bring my hulking great bicycle into the tiny store yesterday so I could fix the chain. But her manner is often impatient, intolerant, and her communication skills are terrible. I worked my tail off today, burning through a list of 'to-do's', but of course, when she walked in I was reading. Murphy's Law. And she found the one bag of puppets I'd missed, and wondered why I hadn't put them out, and tsk-ed over another bag of finger puppets that were still lying about, and I felt all the pride and satisfaction of a hard-working day evaporate.

So, the boss is a tool. And the job is a low-level retail stop-gap anyway. But I still want to take heed of some of the things on that list. I know that I often have an overwhelming need to be right, even if it would be more politic to be silent. I resist change, which can make me grumpy when someone makes me change. I make excuses ('oh, it's only a crappy retail job; why should I work the full 8 hours? I think I'll read for a while") when I should work harder.

I don't want to be one of those bitter losers who blame all their troubles on other people. I know that I have lots of good qualities and talents, but there are things that hold me back as well, and I hope I can let some of them go.
Partly so I can get the fuck out of this boring retail hell and never look back.

*Next Day: Okay, so actually my boss apologized today for her behavior of last night and was appreciative of my hard work (and I DID work hard) today. So I'm eating humble pie. Or crow. Or whatever the appropriate expression is. Sometimes people can surprise you in a good way.

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