Posted by fxckfeelings on February 13, 2012
During a recession of any size, work places often turn mean; salaries fall, everyone is afraid of layoffs and unemployment, and fear, like shit, flows downhill. In times like these, unless you’re a lucky member of the one percent, stress is not a preventable condition. A large part of the stress, however, comes from the feelings that you have about work, rather than the work itself. After all, if you feel like your office is a family, then a tense office will affect you way too personally. If you remember why you’re there, and keep your standards, you can keep a level head in a shitty economy, no matter what percentage you’re in.
I’ve put up with a lot at this job, but this really takes the cake, and I’m not sure if it’s worth putting up with my boss’s bullshit anymore. So, recently I asked for a raise, but then my boss cuts my hours, so that I am basically making the same amount of money that I made before and the raise doesn’t even count. Is that even legal? Probably, because he’s studying to be a lawyer to find more ways his employees can get screwed. I’ve been working my butt off, and I’m getting nowhere. My goal is to get what I deserve.
We always have lots of feelings about our bosses, usually negative, that make us forget what we’re there for; not getting treated well, just getting paid.
When it comes to the people who have power over our lives—bosses, parents, political leaders—we expect nothing less than appreciation, fairness, security, a good income, justice, etc. No wonder the feelings are negative.
In your case, they’re so negative they’ve blinded you to the fact that your boss’s response is basically positive, and that your own actions were basically effective. No, you didn’t get more money in your pocket at the end of the month, and that’s too bad. What you did get, however, was additional money for each hour of your work and additional time each week for you to use to make more money for yourself.
It’s too bad that your boss didn’t have more money to budget for your services, but it’s a compliment that he’s willing to accept fewer hours of work and still pay you the same. That’s what I mean about your boss-focused feelings of disappoint getting in the way of plain, business-like thinking; when you force yourself to do the math and see people in power as human instead of exalted, your expectations, and your perception, becomes more realistic.
So, even though that’s what our brains always want to do, you need to stop emotionalizing work. You’re not there to be loved, appreciated, or even treated fairly (although that would be nice); you’re there to make a living and provide work that meets your own standards.
So don’t call a strike, don’t call the cops—don’t even try to call “bullshit.” Review your business plan and respect the positive things you’ll find there, then take all the free hours your boss has given you to find a second job. Don’t get mad, get real. Then get paid.
“It’s depressing to work hard for a small paycheck, but life is hard and the economy sucks. I’ve successfully negotiated a higher hourly wage for myself and a shorter work week. Now I’ve got to use those extra hours to make more money.”
Things are crazy at work and I can’t keep up. Those of use who survived the last round of lay-offs are expected to pick up the workloads of the dearly departed. If we don’t improve the unit’s performance, everyone will get laid off. I’m staying late three nights a week and it’s wearing me out. I appreciate that I still have a job—my boss protected me—but I’m starting to collapse. I know I should be doing a better job of managing stress. What can I do to keep my job without burning out?
It’s just as bad to be too loyal to your boss and workplace as it is to expect too much. They’re not your family; you work to make money so you can survive and spend time with your real family.
Of course, in hard times like these, you have real reasons to fear being fired since you can’t be sure to get another job. On the other hand, your only goal isn’t to hang on to your job regardless, but to try to hang onto it unless it becomes too dangerous to your health. Your top priority isn’t pleasing your manager; it’s being your own manager, deciding how much work you can afford to do and when it’s necessary to draw a line.
Instead of worrying about the survival of your unit or the amount of work that needs to be done, develop your own standards for a good day’s work, factoring in what they’re paying you and how badly you need the job. Focus on the figures rather than your feelings, and define for yourself how much work you need to do.
Assuming you can meet your own standards, feel proud and convey that pride to others. Maybe you can’t live a fear-free life, but you can stop fear from feeding on itself or damaging your belief that you’re doing the best with what you’ve got.
Don’t feel you’re failing because you’re not happy; during hard times, no one can be happy, and struggling for survival is scary and sometimes puts us between two fears. Instead of panicking, respect yourself for dealing with those fears, regardless of what happens.
Unfortunately, despite Roosevelt’s promise, there’s no such thing as freedom from fear, other than knowing you’ve done your best.
“I may never stop worrying about what’s going to happen to my job and what will happen to me without it, but I know I’m hard working and doing my best. I am not my job; I send myself to work, if work is available, and keep busy if it isn’t. As long as I do that, my pride can’t be broken.”