I am reminded over this past month, how much of a variable we are in life. We are always subject to change. We are always subject to those individuals surrounding us. We are always subject to a reactionary societal infrastructure which will define how we live our lives. We are the “X” in that algebraic equation of an overall mathematical problem where there never really seems to be a solution. Only the solution is in who we are as individuals, and how we make every day decisions to live.
I am also reminded of this sea of change since I finished school. Nothing happened at the end like I envisioned it would. Even today, there is a giant question mark hovering over my life – regardless of how much I try to steer my life otherwise. A few months ago I was at the mercy of individual whims regarding my job – which in turn impacted my life. It overshadowed the end of my schooling; it stressed me out during a time when I should have celebrated my hard work and accomplishments; and there was a reminder beneath the surface of how much I loathe having to play hypocritical games. A reminder of why I wanted out of health care so badly. It all was a huge reminder of how not to treat people. And as I went through the round robin of interviews trying to find a measure of stability (financial and emotional), I kept getting asked how did I handle working with difficult people. I stand by my answer even more now than I did before: I am only in control of myself; I cannot change other people. People are who they are and if the situation is a personality conflict, then it is up to me to decide if the job can be accomplished without conflict (in that, focus on the job and keep interactions minimal), or if the conflict impacts the job (and the drama far outweighs any benefits). Today the same is true
Let’s be real here. There are a lot of people in our lives who suck. Truth. Some are mere blips in our day. Sometimes we are at their mercy for far longer. Double suck. Perhaps it is shortsighted of myself, but there are a great many people who I choose not to interact with. It is an unfortunate reality that the work-place brings out many individuals who I would never (in this lifetime or any other) interact with. But yet, we are expected to not only interact, but be courteous, professional and respectful – even when those attributes are not reciprocated. I have had many years of this. And while I wasn’t immune to this behavior during college (yes, I still have scars with intaglio and second semester ceramics and painting, and that one professional development art class – interesting that conflicts all occurred within my own chosen college!); for the most part, it all was minimal and when things occurred, I tried to work through it, or I just never put myself in contact with individuals again. Avoidance and politeness became my standard.
One of the reasons I was so excited (and hopeful) about my current job with UA, because I thought it would be a carryover of what I encountered during school – and what I experienced during the interview process was of the utmost professionalism and “realness” I had ever encountered. It has been a huge letdown to realize that it is EXACTLY like what I eagerly left my former (and the one before that) jobs. I am again at the mercy of a micro-managing egomaniac… Insert big sigh here. This job was the “last job”. It’s a state job, so the retirement benefits meant that I was banking on something to set me up for later in life. The education benefits are phenomenal, so I could look into getting that master’s degree without killing myself off financially for the remainder of my life. And it meant that I could possibly find some financial stability at this stage of my life (yes, even with crazy student loans). Let me state this much – it is one individual, and the majority in my new role are WONDERFUL. But…the unfortunate truth is that one individual has now “ruled” that I am his assistant and not in the role I was hired to do. Reality hit and shattered big time last week. Honestly, I’m too old to deal with such horseshit. I am told I must act like everything is okay. I must be patient as the wheels of politics move slowly. I was even questioned as to a possible medical condition for how I was reacting to situation. Um...yeah. The medical condition is a person simply gets fed up with shitty people and how incredibly disappointing this all was. That’s where I’m at. I don’t need a dressing down like I’m some 18-year-old child. I don’t need to be reminded of my place in your world – I am fully aware of my place in the world I was asked to be a part of. I proudly graduated from UA not so that you could offer my “Decorating Services” to those you introduced me to, but because I wanted to better myself. AND one reason I so badly wanted this job at UA was to give back to the employees of UA who treated me so well while I was a student. I know for the most part, they are the invisible people who make it all work on a daily basis. They made a difference over the past three-plus years for me. I wanted to make a difference for them. I still do. But…how to get to Point C from Point A while Point B is a roadblock? (See? It’s like a story problem and algebraic formula in math, but with humor!)
If we choose to react to their “suckiness”, then we are no better than they are. The very fact that we live in an “us” and “them” society further perpetuates this standard. But that is a much bigger issue than I am willing to debate here today. So how do I survive? How do I figure out that there might very well be another upheaval in my life in the very near future? How do I survive that? The very issue of survival for me is on such a personal level with all this – granted it is not surviving from cancer or a horrific act against me, but it cannot be minimized either. These are my realities. This is my life. I’m trying my hardest to be the best person I can be. It is incredibly hard when you are at the mercy of someone else. It is also difficult for those who say, “oh it’s business – don’t take it personally” to fully comprehend how personal it gets. It is a fight to get up in the morning to come to work. It is remaining positive that becomes a fight when the attacks are on a personal level. It is making very difficult decisions about your job which then impacts you financially, which in turn becomes personal. It all ties together. I’m coming off of being a full-time student for the past five years – I want a feeling of stability, and maybe a bit of fulfillment at the end of the day. I say maybe, because nothing compares to my art practice as far as real fulfillment goes. I would just like to enjoy what I’m doing, since it occupies a chunk of my day.
Life is short. I’d really like to make the most of it.
2018 has been the year of em-battlement for me. It certainly has tested my strength of mettle and patience. That was another thing too. I wanted a somewhat easy job, where I knew what I was doing and could work and then go home. Home to my art practice. Well, 2018 isn’t over yet. I think I need to be patient for a bit longer. I’m really hoping by the end of the year things will settle down and I can focus on my art and me. Onward and upward. Right?