Bloom: Janice in Accounting

“That’s life.”

“Life’s not fair.”

Those are probably two of the most overused phrases from adults who have only tried very little to understand what anyone else who is having any sort of issue may be struggling with (i.e. someone not getting a job when someone else at some point has had that same trouble, or…you know, something like that).  It’s lazy in a sort of way, to dismiss the troubles of someone else without taking the time to understand those troubles, to believe that because you can somewhat relate, you understand a person and what they’re going through; it’s a wrong way of thinking.

And it’s frustrating for individuals who are genuinely going through something to have to put up with something like that.  It’s disheartening to think that your or my problems, no matter how big or how small, may not matter to anyone else and could just, in a lot ways, be dismissed with a wave of the hand.  No one wants to feel like their problems are a statistic, that they’re “just a part of life,” just a part of this random turn of phrasing that is supposed to encompass literally everything wrong.

No wonder people are cynical.  No wonder they’re out for themselves.

But (and it’s a big but, so get ready) sometimes, those phrases, the “life’s not fair” ones–well, they’re kind of true.

Sometimes life isn’t fair.  Sometimes we are dealt a hand, whether it be a genetic health issue or a bad home life growing up, that is completely out of our control.  And it sucks, and the guy down the street, or our best friend at school, or literally everyone else has it easier than we do for such and such reason.

Not fair.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a relatively normal and well adjusted life.  My dad left when I was 4 months old and never came back, I probably have a predisposition toward alcoholism, I have genetically higher blood pressure regardless of how well I eat or run, but–that’s about it.  My life’s been fairly tame.  Some people were not so lucky though and some people really struggle, and when they are told, “Hey! Life’s not fair,” then that in and of itself is unfair.

But there comes a point, and I’ve realized this too in the issues I have in my own life, where you are no longer a person who has dealt with issues, but are a person who harbors them.  You become a victim to all of the things that happen and blame your health, your home, your friendships, “just the way you were raised” for everything you are doing wrong.

And that’s wrong, not even in an ethical sense–but because it’s kind of stupid.  We are not our issues, or our past, or the work load we have, or all of the school that’s weighing down on us.  We are people.  We have filters.  We know how to be functional human beings and we know when we are making excuses.

All of this is to preface a point I am trying to make, and since this is under the Bloom tag, then you can guess that it’s about work.

I’ve been working in the coffee shop I work in for right at about a year and a half.  During that time, I’ve grown from not loving coffee at all to being infinitely fascinated (and overwhelmed) by how complex it actually is.  I’ve met a countless number of people, I’ve worked with a number too, and over that time, a consistency I’ve seen is that some people just don’t want to work.  Not in that they don’t want a job–they do–but when they have the job, they don’t want to do what is expected of them, for whatever reason.  Maybe it’s a bad day (or a series of them), maybe it’s a relationship, or something else entirely, but there are those in those situations who let it affect them in such a way that their job and the people around them are forced to suffer because they can only blame the world.

In my time at this coffee shop, I have had four separate people blow me out.  Not customers–people I work with, and not for being caustic, or coming at them in any way, but for being in a place, appointed to me by my boss, where I am to inform them in the event that they are doing something wrong.  This could be their not cleaning up after a shift, or not restocking, or not getting ice or filling coffee pots, or a combination of a near infinite number of other things.  And most people are generally okay with doing those things.  We work on our own, one person at time, and there’s a lot of responsibility placed on a person working since they have to get everything done.  But every once in awhile, something will misfire, my approaching the person about something will cause them to lose it all over me.

Case in point: yesterday.  The short version, an employee I worked with had been, everyday, not cleaning, leaving stuff empty, leaving stuff disgusting and finally I said something–not in a way I believe was offensive or insulting, but in a way I felt was just kind of giving information.  And they went postal, about “how dare I,” “get over it,” things like that.

And I walked away confused.  I always walk away confused.

I’m not the type to harbor resentment and I’m not very quick to anger, so when I’m in a situation like that, not just in work, but in life, where someone is doing something and I try to give direction and they LOSE THEIR MIND on me, it’s hard for me to know exactly how to handle it.

It wraps back around to the victimization.  Every situation where this happened it was because their boyfriend had just broken up with them, because they were working two jobs, because someone else who worked there too also wasn’t doing their job.  And because I was there, because I interrupted their bubble of perceived “woe is me” I was then in the crosshairs.

It’s never made sense.  And the saddest part of all is that it’ll happen again, not just here but in life.  I won’t ever see those people again, and I won’t always work this job, but one day, in another job, I’ll remind Janice in accounting not to eat the yogurt I packed for the 4th day in a row, and she will probably straight murder me by gouging me with the temples of her glasses.  It’s going to happen.  It’s life.  It doesn’t mean that the hand we are dealt is always entirely fair, but it does mean we can control how we handle it, and ourselves, when things don’t go our way.

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