Tuesday, November 13, 2018

When You Can't Control What Is Happening, Control The Way You Respond.

Earlier this week, a friend of mine posted something on Facebook that caught my attention. She's a social worker who primarily focuses on restoring peace and balance within a home. She also mediates in time of crisis and assists with Independent Living classes. My friend has been doing this for several decades. Like myself prior to retiring from providing Academic and Independent Living Tutoring services, she's had it. I wouldn't be surprised if she either retired or shifted her focus over the next year.

The "something" that my friend posted was a photo of a piece of paper with a quote written on it...

"When you can't control what's happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what's happening. That's where your power is."

If I didn't have a cup of coffee in my hand, I would have jumped up from my desk chair and thrown my hands up in the air.


That's it!

The solution to what Lisa and I have been going through with a myriad of situations was right there in front of my face.

More so, I realized that I and we had already applied this solution to a lot of stuff over the past year.

For example, retiring from Academic and Independent Living Tutoring. During the last few years of providing these services, my stress level was through the roof.

I'll spare you the mile-long list of reasons why.

Lisa was the first to suggest I part ways with these services.

"You're doing too much for people who don't appreciate it. Not only are you getting shit from the students, but you're also getting attitudes from the parents when you're just trying to do your job."

At first, I thought if I retired from providing those services, that meant I was a quitter. However, after further conversations with Lisa, and after a slew of situations that left a bitter taste in my mouth, my perspective changed.

I wasn't a quitter.

After giving chance after chance after chance and putting all efforts forward and going above and beyond, I had that pivotal moment when I knew I didn't have any control over the situations.

The parent/s did.

And this was something I didn't notice fully until after I retired and was able to take a few steps back and be on the outside looking in.

When I saw that post on my friend's wall, the first thing I thought of was my retirement from Academic and Independent Living services earlier this year.

I knew I couldn't control what was happening. I was sick and tired of wasting my time and efforts on teens/young adults who disrespected my time and efforts and the parents who allowed it to happen.

Retiring from those services was my way of responding to all of that.

That was my power.

I'm not doing it anymore.

The other situations that Lisa and I have been dealing with, especially over the last year, we're embracing this very same mantra.

"When you can't control what's happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what's happening. That's where your power is."

We've talked a lot about this as of late.

Those personal discussions have transpired into making some changes. And, we're making a lot more as we head into 2019.

I'm not going to lie, it hasn't been easy.

The transition from realizing we have no control over a situation or situations to instead changing the way we respond is no easy feat.

A lot of the situations are still happening.

And they still affect us the same. With each situation, we've had to step outside of the box and learn how to respond to it differently.

Imagine this...

You have a job that you love. You've been there for many years. Your boss is great. The camaraderie between employees is exceptional.

Then, your boss decides to hire his wife. She has the same position and pay as those in your position. She's trained. She's been there for a while.


She's not pulling her weight. She has the attitude that because she's the boss's wife, she can get away with shit and she can be disrespectful to the other employees.

Over time, employees confront the boss with complaints about her. You eventually do the same.

With each and every complaint, the boss says, "I'll talk to her..."

Despite complaints and those infamous talks, nothing changes.

Eventually, the entire infrastructure of your department slowly crumbles.

The boss is blaming the employees. Eventually, he distances himself from being a team player and an intricate part of the entire work-family unity.

At that point, you're at a crossroads.

You still love your job and everything that it entails, but the boss's wife is like a big black cloud over the entire department.

You realize that there is nothing else you, or any of your coworkers, can say to persuade the boss that his wife is the culprit. He's continuously spewing out excuses for her behavior or letting it roll down his back.

So, at that point, you basically have 2 choices.

The first, find another job.

The second, control how you respond to the situation.

By controlling how you respond to the situation means that you've accepted that things will not change. Your boss will continue to shrug off complaints and make excuses for his wife. He will not take off his rose-colored glasses. He will continue to cover up her messes. He will continue to blow smoke up your ass along with the rest of the employees.

With all of this acceptance, you continue to do a job well done. You focus on your tasks and responsibilities. You go about your work day as you had before your boss hired his wife.

On the flip side...

You stop going to your boss's house for gatherings and you stop having him over for gatherings at your home. You stop going above and beyond. You stop with granting the favors that you never got compensated for. You limit contact to stuff that only pertains to your job. Etc.

That's kind of what we're doing.

On a side note, let me note that none of what I'm referring to has anything to do with our jobs or clients. It has everything to do with what resides well beyond our work life.

With that being said.

The year of 2018 was an eye-opener for us on so many levels and with so many people.

We lived. We learned. We became wiser.

As we head into 2019, we won't be making the same mistakes twice.

We'll be fine-tuning our methods of dealing with how we respond to situations that are out of our control.

You live.

You learn.

You grow.

You become wiser.

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