I’ve often heard that one of the best ways to boost kids’ self-esteem, decision-making skills, and autonomy is by giving them something to do and then backing off. You know, task them with a job but then allow them to get the job done in a way that they see fit. Incredibly, this works with adults as well. In the grownup world, they call it “effective management.”
I got this post from my friend today. It’s the perfect example of how employers screw up perfectly good humans. The same people who are too busy making sure you’ve checked in for work at the box to let you think outside it will scratch their heads and wonder, “What’s wrong with people today? What’s happened to pride? Where’s the initiative?” It’s a mystery…
I hate my job. Not my unpaid, full-life job of being a mom to my kids and a wife to my husband, keeper of the house, washer, dryer, folder and putter awayer of laundry, grocery shopper, helper of homework, etc. That job I love, and it is my whole world. But the other job. The one I get paid for. I hate it. With a passion.
I know, who loves their job, right? Stop whining, at least you have a job, right? It could be worse, you could be working at a fast food restaurant, right? I know these things. I do. But the thing is, I should have been born independently and unendingly wealthy. Hold on, I know what you are going to say…shouldn’t we all? No, I mean it. I’d be a much better stay at home mom than employee. And I’d be generous with my wealth. Animal causes? Check. Kid causes? Check, check. Anything going against right-wing agenda? Check, check, checkity-check check. I would also be generous with my time. You need your kiddo picked up and looked after? I got this. Can I grab some milk for you at the market? You betcha. But I digress. That is not my situation. I am required to work. And therefore, I’m treated like a child.
My job is to provide travel arrangements for wealthy, whiny people. I do this in an office that, on a good day, doesn’t make me want to go home and drink. The people I work with make middle school seem like a place you’d like to go back to, because there wasn’t near as much bullying or name-calling or tears there.
A couple of months ago, our group was invited to attend a retreat. In Texas. We were going to “get to” fly to Texas, hop on a bus with a bunch of other co-workers who reside in Texas (the horror), share a hotel room with a co-worker, and spend 2.5 days of lectures, “team-building,” and drunken debauchery activities. In Texas. I politely declined. It may or may not have involved a small lie to encourage them to accept the decline. After several “are you sure you don’t want to go? We can still get you a ticket,” requests, they got it. I’m not going. I am one of two that didn’t go.
At a meeting before their departure, my supervisor was discussing the agenda for the Texas meeting. It involved hula dancing, backward thongs, and paying for your own dinner and airport parking. She stops her speech, looks at me, and says, “You are expected to come into the office while we are gone.” Huh? What? I never once asked to work from home while they were gone. I never mentioned or indicated any intention of doing so. But the fact that a) my job can be done and has been done 100% from home for weeks at a time, and b) I was singled out and specifically ordered not to do so has really chapped my ass.
There was no reason for this. I’ve never not shown up for work. The work that I did from home was impeccable, and my production increased at home. I’m not chronically ill. I do not abuse the system. I follow the rules. I do what I’m told.
The other coworker who declined is working from home. She wasn’t ordered to come into the office. So here I sit, in an empty department with nothing to do. People from the other departments come by and ask what I’m doing here alone, if they acknowledge me at all. (The people from the other departments are quirky here, to put it mildly). My voice is raspy by the end of the day from lack of use. I’ve cleaned my desk, and my purse. I’ve checked and rechecked Facebook and my favorite blogs. I’ve read all the news I can stomach. And yet here I sit. Unable to leave, and feeling like a child.