I had this really awful job, and I left it to go to what turned out to be a job that was even more awful. I won’t say very much about either of them, for fear of future retribution (anyone who has known anyone in my family for any length of time has probably heard what we call “The Will Story”, in which a friend of my parents quit his job and told off his boss in that really spectacular way that everyone always dreams about, and at some point after he started his new job, the new company was purchased by another company, and his new boss at the newly merged firm was none other than his old boss, and he was fired pretty much immediately) but suffice it to say they were awful in a nice variety of ways.
The thing about the second job was how devastating the awfulness was. I had applied for the job with very high hopes, because it was something I had always wanted to do, and I was hired even though I believe it required a fairly loose interpretation of both the qualifications I had and the ones the job required. I had been told the hiring manager was lovely, and the company was great, and it turned out the company was interesting but going through a lot of turmoil that resulted in multiple firings on a weekly basis for quite a while, and my boss was not in fact lovely. I also didn’t get to do very much of the work I had been so excited about, and spent most of my days working on a lot of other things I had no interest in.
I think that amongst those who know me well (and perhaps even those that don’t) I am considered a bit of a pessimist. I worry a lot, and that means I often jump to the worst possible conclusion without any real reason to do so. I am easily annoyed and easily flustered and I am prone to bouts of tears when I am angry or disappointed or caught off guard.
And I get so very irritated by people. I think that is the only way in which I am unfailingly optimistic, and it ends up letting me down over and over. I think people are inherently good, well-mannered, considerate people. I think they have it in them to be polite, to be kind, to chew with their mouths closed, to have tact and diplomacy and grace. But not everyone does (I sure don’t, at least not as often as I’d like) and I find I let it affect me probably a great deal more than I should. I get angry when someone runs a red light and endangers lives, I get angry when a 40-something woman smacks her gum so loudly I can hear it all the way across two airport terminals, I get angry when a man cuts in front of me in line at the Tim Hortons drive-thru and then gives me the finger for no apparent reason. People shouldn’t be like that. They just shouldn’t.
I said to Mike during the holidays that I think my New Year’s Resolution should be to have higher expectations of myself and lower expectations of everyone else. I think I need to learn that sometimes people are jerks. Sometimes they’re rude and thoughtless and even inconsiderate and disrespectful to the point of endangerment. Sometimes you just end up with a terrible job and a terrible boss who is, in reality, a lovely person who just doesn’t have your best interests at heart.
And I’m trying to become okay with it, to stop being so surprised when people behave completely in character for what turns out to be the millionth time. But I don’t want to become okay with it in myself. I want to spend 2009 being kinder than I’ve been, thoughtfulness wrapped in grace wrapped in pajamas and often sock monkey slippers.