There’s a type of employee that does well in my field and probably every field– socially adept but reserved, even-keeled, nicely but conservatively dressed, diligent, creative but within established practices, accepting of the status quo. I call this person “Gwendolyn” based on an actual person I worked with in the past. I have to constantly remind myself “to be more Gwendolyn,” even though I’m constitutionally moodier, more emotionally expressive, more rebellious, and more intellectually inclined. Gwendolyn often doesn’t have to work or leaves the workforce early on to have kids. Her male counterpart, Glen, is in it for the long haul and manages to keep up the mask. Most successful men are “Glens,” as I’m learning from my colleagues.
For numerous reasons that I won’t expand on here, this past week brought the “Gwendolyn” lesson home again. Hard. I was starting to loosen up a bit, but I gotta reel it in. The answer to how I’m doing should always be “good,” and conversation amongst colleagues should stay within the realm of local restaurants I’ve enjoyed. I can be sympathetic to the problems of employees underneath me, but that sympathy only goes one way. It’s just too problematic and confusing for everyone otherwise.
I have also come to the conclusion that I’m stuck for the long haul and that my dream career of “writer” is but a pipe dream. A pipe dream for quite a lot of people, it seems, as evidenced by the comments here: http://www.xojane.com/sports/how-important-it-love-your-job
The “reeling in” required by my job is extra difficult because I don’t have other avenues in which to “let it out.” A woman I know who used to be employed at my workplace had a coffee buddy to vent with; I do not. The dawning realization of the lonely road ahead caused a tightness in my chest and pains in my neck that I’ve spent this weekend working out.
I realized that, for all my low feelings in the past, I’ve maintained a pretty good attitude about my situation thus far. I don’t drink or smoke too much to cope; I always manage to get out of bed in the mornings. I consistently exercise to improve my moods, and I “put myself out there.”
This past week I allowed myself a truly bad attitude for the first time in a while. I wallowed in simmering anger and resentment over the fact that no matter my attitude, nothing ever changes and nothing likely ever will and except for the breaks I’ve taken here and there the decades of my life have all looked pretty much the same and the only thing I have to look forward to is retirement.
Having this bad attitude, however, made me feel like crap physically. So even though a good attitude won’t necessarily bring good things into my life, it does make me feel better, which is no small thing.
In reality, I know I am in a better situation than a lot of people, perhaps most, and have much less to feel angry about. So back to making the best of it.