Life's Lessons - Now with More Bludgeons!

Monday, March 15, 2010
Don't you hate it when life's lessons come along and hit you over the head with a bludgeon? Yeah, me, too.

The most recent lesson? You teach people how to treat you.

Obvious, huh? I've known it was true for years, of course. It's a lesson I learned on an interpersonal basis when I finally pulled my head out of my ass and got my house in order about 15 years ago. People can only mistreat you and make you feel like shit with your permission, and never is that more true than in romantic relationships. It took me quite a long time to learn that lesson, but learn it I did. Go, me.

What I'm now learning is that the rule also applies in business relationships, in relationships between companies, and in government.

If your boss berates you and engages in verbally abusive behavior, she can only do so with your permission. Don't like it? Do what needs to be done to remedy the situation.

If a company is married to the idea of a zero sum game with every other company with whom they do business, you can bet they're going to treat their "partners" with all the fairness and grace of an abusive spouse. Don't like it? Either do what needs to be done to remedy the situation or fire their snotty ass.

If a government organization treats their citizenry like chattel instead of like their boss, do what needs to be done to remedy the situation.* Throw the bums out, run your own candidate, engage in some grass roots activism.

What you don't get to do is mope around crying about how tough you've got it, and how bad people/businesses/the government treats you, and how "someone" should do something about it. Guess what? You're someone. Why don't you do something about it? Besides cry, I mean.

I don't know why it took me so long to think about this without the aforementioned bludgeon. Silence is acceptance, and if you're not willing to fight for the treatment you believe you deserve, you're accepting what you get.

So obvious. So hard. So worth including in my life's philosophy.


*Hey, they may be dumber-than-a-box-of-rocks racist asshats being manipulated by big business and the religious right, but at least they're doing something about the political issues that make them passionate.

6 comments:

John the Scientist said...

But in business, sometimes they've got you over a barrel. Which is shy monopolies and exclusive contracts are generally bad.

I wish my company's learn that about our travel agency contract. o.O

Janiece said...

But in business, sometimes they've got you over a barrel.

Indeed they do. In which case the choices become a bit more...draconian. I don't really want to quit my job because some other company has my company over a barrel, but the option is there.

Anne C. said...

All of this boils down to my own personal maxim:

You are personally responsible for how you react to life.

There are some things you can't control, but you can sure as heck control your reaction.

Mrs. Bitch said...

It never, EVER, ceases to amaze me the amount of shit people will take. They might resent the hell out of it, but they are so afraid of confrontation that they just suck it up and walk it off.

Of course, you can't have any fear of being labeled as a bitch, trouble maker, pie-in-the-sky idealist, liberal... whatever they want to throw at you.

The only problem when you carry this personality trait into your jobs is that not everyone can afford to lose their income because their principles are conflicted by something their employer is doing, which may not even directly affect them.

But yeah, personal abuse? Apparently I give off a vibe or something. I've worked at a lot of jobs over the years and never had to put up with that, and won't.

*As to the teabaggers: without that big money behind them, organization from the Beck show and Palin rallies and well-established ultra-conservative groups, they'd just be a bunch of semi-literate, disenfranchised, racist rednecks that nobody would ever have heard of.

Keith Wilson said...

I'm in the process of doing just that - fixing my boss, who is, in a word - a jerk. I know that the problems I've had at work are because I DON'T shut up and take the crap, I tend to fire back and that's got me into a bit of trouble, but it has to be done. Some people think they are immune to responsibility, I intend to prove this one wrong, I only want to stick around long enough to see him held accountable. I'm not vindictive or vengeful, I just need to see him realize he's not above everyone else because of a title.

The Mechanicky Gal said...

Yeah Janiece, you've seen (and heard) me in action. That paint company? Still in business and will we use them again? Yes. Do they do their requirements? No. But will we use them again? Of course! Doesn't sound like a good business practice to me, but I'm not the owner. Am I a huge BITCH to that company? YOU BETCHA.
I am still having to deal with people, even within my own company, that simply cannot or will not understand that they have responsibilities and that when I say something, I am not pulling it out of my ass. Or making it up. And when there is no punishment from the owner for those that obviously do not fulfill their responsibilities...
But I ramble. I have a 4 year plan. If I can stay that long.