Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pat Yourself On The Back

Good work ethics were instilled in me at a very young age. I blame my parents for my intense need to go above and beyond. I say blame because sometimes being a hard worker can be a bad thing. It's sometimes annoying how things have to look a certain way. Be done quickly and right. To look pretty and draw attention. Good attention. Not bad. I always have put my best foot forward, and that's exhausting.

Let me tell you, when you work for big companies, life is hard. They don't see the little minions sloughing through the mess to ensure things get done. They don't see how hard you are working. How much you try. The overtime you work. The breaks you skip. And it is all for naught because at the end of the day, you are expendable. Replaceable. Just a number on an employee file.  

That always hurt a little. 

I wanted to be irreplaceable. Unfortunately, the older I get, the more I come to terms with the fact that irreplaceability (which isn't a word) in a work environment is a myth, like unicorns and gargoyles. Unless, perhaps, you are working for yourself, then maybe you can't be replaced. If, like most of us, you aren't your own boss, you can be replaced. That's just the honest truth, horrible as it is. If you move along of your own accord, or are forced to leave - someone will fill your shoes. 

Hey, don't get me wrong. They might not wear those shoes in the same way. They might not have your same drive and desire to do a good job, but that often doesn't come into play in the big picture. Your perfectionist ways mean nothing if you butt heads with a manager, CEO or whoever else is at the top of your employment pyramid. So often it seems as though personal relationships are the driving force behind so many business decisions. That always made me so disenchanted. Not because my personality sucks, though there are areas in need of improvement, but because I am opinionated, I have questions, and often find myself playing Devil's advocate. 

And yes, I know these are not character traits managers look for in an employee. 

Still, it's ingrained in me to work hard. I am always willing to take on more and rise to a challenge. The only problem with being a diligent worker bee is that you are sometimes left feeling unappreciated, taken advantage of. This is only exacerbated by the passage of time, that cruel bitch.When a certain amount of time passes, be that days, months or years sometimes your determination to do a good job is taken for granted. As if everyone wakes up with the goal to make their employer's life easier. Is that weird? That I wake up hoping to make everyone else's day move along more smoothly? Probably, but that's just the way I am. 

It's a terribly distressing thing for resentment to build. I don't like contemplating doing less work simply because I am not being thanked. And I hate hearing that nagging question in the back of my head, the horrible seed of self-doubt that demands to know why I even try. I do what I can to put a kibosh to that. Because I know why I try, because I care. It's who I am as a person. And I am grateful for that. 

Maybe that's the point. Maybe me knowing I'm doing a good job is enough. All these years, all the hard work, maybe it has paid off, despite being laid off for no reason. My heart knows what my intentions are. Maybe all the missed thank yous and lost jobs and write ups and one-on-one meetings don't matter. Perhaps I only need to pat myself on the back more often. We don't need anyone else to tell us we are the best thing since sliced bread. Not if we are telling ourselves that. 

Simply put, I like doing a good job. And that's what I strive for each day. Hopefully that doesn't change as I head into my twilight years. Actually, I have no idea what twilight years actually are.  

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