Imagine that you are walking on a tightrope, careful not to tip over. You don’t look down, you walk straight. You’re doing well, trying really hard. You might make it.
You’re halfway through by now, and you know you got this.
But then the wind blows, the sun shines, it starts to rain, hell it even snows. You lose your balance, and fall. All the way down.
When I started my first job, reality hit me like a ton of bricks. It seemed to me that all of a sudden, I was having to fight for things that so far had been taken for granted.
My boss never had any time for me. In fact, it seemed that hardly anyone could afford to say hi to me.
Very few of my seniors registered my presence, let alone attempted to speak to me. I was lonely in the new environment, and it ate away at me inside, leaving me to wonder why I felt so hollow.
I was trying hard to learn more and more at my job, struggling to be recognized, working day and night, hoping, just hoping someone would acknowledge me.
But it never happened.
I started to feel inadequate and out of sorts at the workplace. I didn’t realize then, how terribly self doubt was affecting me. I was struggling to find my place in the world, loathing my position in life and feeling like a mismatched piece in an otherwise perfect puzzle.
The tug of war between my emotions and day to day life was a close and intense battle.
My despair reached it’s breaking point when my boss finally said I was going to get fired next week. He said my dismal performance, despite all my efforts were insufficient.
I was numb. All those tears and nights spent questioning my self worth had eventually led to me losing my job.
The realization that I was better off without this particular job came to me later that day. I was going to get kicked out, but in hindsight it was probably a good thing because I was too scared to resign.
It’s remarkable, how our own psych can help build or break us. I relaxed and let myself breathe for the first time in weeks. I was no longer worried about deadlines or insecure about work assigned to me. It was obvious now, that the higher management clearly believed I was incapable of completing my tasks.
I don’t know what came over me, but that week, the one I thought was going to be my last, was the happiest I’d been in months.
It’s funny how things changed for me when I started to believe that there was an end to my sufferings. I gave my best at work that week, without putting any pressure on myself. Because really, what was the point of it all anymore?
Surprisingly, this approach worked.
I didn’t get fired at the end of the week. Or the week after that. Confused, I went to ask my bosses what was wrong. To my utter surprise they praised me and said they’d like me to stay.
I’ve written in every feedback form ever requested of me, that companies really need to devote more time to motivate employees. Instead of tearing them apart because of their limitations they need to spend a significant part of the meeting acknowledging their efforts.
An unappreciated person can not perform well, and neither can an organization that encourages concentrating only on one’s flaws.
We need to be sympathatic, kind and professional at the same time. It is not impossible to take a moment to appreciate someone’s hard work, while being assertive about the changes expected.
Let us not push someone into feeling terrible about themselves. Instead let us strive to be more acknowledging and understanding of others.