Sometimes Work Sucks – But it Doesn’t Have To!

Hello again my loyal friends. After a long and frustrating couple of months fighting with an unnamed electronic store, I finally have my laptop back. I now have the distinction of the computer equivalent of writing off a vehicle. Yes, after 4 weeks of examining my beloved laptop, the vendor finally determined that it was too expensive to fix. Although I have my suspicions that the geeks in the back warehouse really just decided they didn’t know what the hell was actually wrong with it… I grudgingly accepted their explanation. Well, I suppose it wasn’t all that bad of a result, since I got to pick a “comparable” replacement. The problem was that the only model available that fit the mould was $100 more expensive. But then the unthinkable happened! The store actually offered me the better laptop at the same price. Whaaaat?!? No arguing? No hopeless negotiating with a manager who is more concerned with his university final exam marks than his job? Nope. They offered it to me without any of that nonsense. And then something even better happened. When I got to the til, I discovered that I was required to again purchase the extended “performance plan”, hence protecting me from falling victim to Murphy’s Law – which would almost ensure my laptop would fail if I didn’t buy the plan. So I prepared to pony up another $139, expecting to receive a 2 year plan. And as I was walking away, the young fellow who took my money advised me he had “thrown in” an extra year on the plan. Wow…I didn’t know the rules for “throwing in” stuff like that were so lax! Based on this new knowledge I shall adjust my negotiation tactics on my next technology purchasing adventure. So anyways, the story ended well as I now have a better laptop to spew out my ramblings for y’all to enjoy. But you don’t want to hear any more boring stories.

'They're all guaranteed to be obsolete by Boxing Day!'

On to the topic of this week’s post – sometimes, work just sucks! But I think I have a way to make it not suck so much. We’ll see what you think.

The topic of this post was inspired by a couple of different things. As usual, events in my life got me thinking. but then I heard a speech from an unlikely source, Jim Carrey:

“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency you have”.

Now I know that on the surface, that quote may not seem to relate much to my topic, but I will explain how I relate the these ideas, based on two main reasons. The first reason is very simple, and it basically says that attitude is everything; attitude is momentous. And the second idea is that positivity is extremely contagious (as is negativity).

Let me start by explaining a bit about my topic. Work has sucked recently, for a number of reasons. I have talked about that before, and I don’t really feel that going into detail is necessary. Suffice to say that I like my job, as far as the actual JOB goes. It’s the politics and similar things that have sucked. And in the last year or so, I have noticed other normally positive people slowly turning upside down and enveloping themselves in more and more negativity. It’s actually alarming to see this happening before my eyes… and I am no exception.

But again, I have talked about this before and I don’t want to beat a dead horse. So I eventually realized that if I expect to change any of this nonsense, I can’t just expect others to fix what I think needs fixing, and expect that to magically lead me to my employment happy place. Because at the end of the day, YOU are responsible for your own attitude. I made the mistake of thinking that my surroundings, my management, and my circumstances were the biggest reasons I hated going to work. But then I saw that as every day passed, I became more and more down about the job. So I started to think that maybe all of these negative feeling were building on each other, and that perhaps they weren’t just a result of circumstance. Maybe I was so pissed off today because I was allowing my previous negative feelings to build up and roll down that snowy hill, becoming heavier each day. My attitude was becoming momentous, building on itself every day.

So it wasn’t until this thought dawned on me that I began to assess why I hated work so much. I was allowing circumstances to affect me much more than I should have, and to make matters worse I was also allowing them to build on each other. I realized that it was time for me to start taking responsibility for my own outlook on things, not just at work but for my life in general. I really feel like if you make a conscious choice to start concentrating on the positive things, it can have the exact same effect as the negative things. So I started small. I thought “what is good about today?”, and it became very simple for me. There was a football game today, and I love football. So that was a start. I realize football has nothing to do with work, so I started looking for more good stuff. I won’t go into the second positive thing I found, and it was small but plenty good enough to start the happy ball rolling. Anyways… what happened at the end of the day was that I left work happier than I was when I got there. And that was enough for me today.

The other revelation I had was that positivity is contagious. I work in a team environment, and I admit that I am very susceptible to allowing the attitudes of others to influence me. I think everyone is a victim of this trap in some form or another. The only difference is that I am probably twice as vulnerable to it than most people. So instead of allowing other people’s attitudes have such a large impact on mine, I decided to use this same principle to my advantage. By showing a positive attitude and just trying to have fun, I hoped I would inspire my team to do the same and assess their own outlook on things. It started small, as I expected. But after a while I started noticing that they were mirroring my positive attitude… and work actually started becoming a happier place. The best part was that it happened so fast, which is such a huge indication of how amazingly this concept works. It was a perfect example of how a positive attitude can be contagious. I promised myself today that I am going to stop looking on the downside of things, and start trying to influence others (and more importantly myself) to look more towards the good stuff.

So now I’ll go back to the quote I talked about. You can have an amazing job. You can have lots of money or a nice house. Or you can have nothing, scraping by every day like millions of people. But none of that will matter if you don’t have happiness. So after thinking about this for a while, I realized that I needed to take ownership of my own attitude… and that my negative attitude was perhaps affecting others… and in turn it was effecting me even more. So despite all of the crap that happens around you, the most powerful thing you have to fight the negativity is yourself! It’s you. It’s the effect you have on others. We are all so connected far beyond what we see on the surface. The effect we have on others is powerful beyond measure. And I plan on using that knowledge to build some positive momentum in my life. Will you??


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