Monday, February 02, 2015

Of Dropping A Burden

I had an epiphany of sorts this weekend as I was shuttling back and forth.
My thoughts, for better or worse, have been focused on work and the upcoming instability there (If you have never gone through a management transition, trust me - the best of them is unstable) - the unknowns of a new manager's foibles and preferences and the very real fact that this current place I work has politics and expectations in place that I am trying to get under and move in my favor.

As I sat and thought about this at length, I became more and more frustrated.  The manager is not one of my choosing, the politics are always something I have having to respond to instead of get out in front of, and the expectation held of me and the ones I am trying to move forward are always the difference between what I am constantly expected to to and what I actually have to do.

And then it suddenly hit me:  I am trying to lift and carry a burden that is not mine to carry.

I just work where I work. I  am not the owner.  I am not a senior executive.  If the company succeeds I may recognize something but not some great reward; if it fails it is not as if I have lost a project I have nurtured from inception.  

Can I change business politics? No, of course not - I am one man in a fairly obscure position.  Nor can I change business practices and procedures except in my one area of responsibility. And surely I cannot change the incoming ways and opinions of someone I have never met and is in fact being hired for their experience and expertise.

It is simply impossible.

So what do I do then?  I simply have to drop the weight and let go.

Let go, not of my need to do well or work hard, but rather of my constant concern and care for what is going on and how it impacts me.  Let go of my constant irritation of decisions and actions and personalities that impact my life but over which I have no control.  In a way, let go of my hopes that  a great deal more effort on my part will bring about significant change.

What to do instead?  This is part that I have not figured out, but I have at least come up with one useful realization:  planting and caring for new things can take just as much time as try to lift up the burden of the established and heavy.

And seeds weigh a great deal less.


  1. In exactly the same situation here TB, with a new engineering manager and sidekick being appointed this year the atmosphere is unsettled to say the least. A few years ago I would have barked my annoyance at decisions already made by this dynamic duo charging about like a bull in a mad rage....but I am slowly learning that it's only work and to just do what is required to the best of my ability. I suppose it's one good thing about learning to manage my depression that I'm also learning to let go of things out of my control.

    1. It sounds like you and I share more than just a similar work situation John - I have wrestled with Yn Moddey Doo (The Black Dog) for years as well.

      To be honest, what you have precisely said is what Jam and Kymber having been saying as well. I guess it just rankles a bit at some level - at school, life was pretty straightforward: You did your work and got your grade. If you did the work well you got a good grade. Effort equaled reward. However, in the real world it often seems that the factor of other things besides just effort and production overweigh this.

      Let go of the illusion of control (I think we can be honest that we never had it to start with) is still very difficult, at least for me. It feels as if I am surrendering a huge part of my ability to control my life.

  2. John's comment is brilliant and dead on the money! and TB - i am very glad that you have come to the conclusion that you have come to - work is work. do your job well and be satisfied that you are doing it well. everything else like management decisions and the like is beyond your control. you can control you, and only you, and if you do your best under situations that you cannot control - then that is the best that you can do. be proud of YOUR good work and leave everything else off of your shoulders. do not carry weight that isn't yours.

    much love my friend! your friend,

    1. Thanks Kymber. It's hard. It feels, in a horrible (and I do not mean it to be offensive) way that I am essentially naked, at least to people's agenda and manipulations and wants. It just feels like admitting it is shutting the door you have just come through and locking it. The problem, of course, is that I do not really know what is on the other side.

      And you are right - John's comment is brilliant. Seems like good folk.

      Lhiats, TB

  3. I don't know though. As I remember these kind of things you are damned if you do damned if you don't. What attitude works from one time to the next is a crap shoot. If they want to hold something against you they always find a way.

    1. My assessment is as yours, Preppy. I do not think there is a common thread from one company to a next. People are different, their backgrounds are different, and their agendas are different - good heavens, even their egos are different.

      And yes, it often seems like every bad thing is held against you while there seems to be no file where all the good stuff is also kept to be brought out.


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