Balance

Recently there’s been a lot of talk in my world about jobs and what people sign up for when they take on a job. For example, I heard a story on the radio this morning about special needs teachers and their preparedness for anything that could possibly happen while teaching the students. I won’t get into the super details but the story involved a teacher who I believed grossly overreacted to a situation she encountered with an autistic student. It got me thinking about my own experiences with jobs I’ve had and jobs my friends have had and I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the matter today.

With everything there are positives and there are negatives. I believe the way in which we handle these occurrences head on is what makes us either better or worse individuals. I’m sure anyone would love to live in a world where ignorance is bliss. In fact the entirety of that quote is “ignorance is bliss; knowledge is misery”. It’s usually equated to a child vs. a grown up. As children (hopefully) we live in this blissful world where nothing affects us much except for the next time we get to play our favorite game or go outside or hang out with our cousins. We aren’t thinking about the real world. Then there’s that point in life where you have to deal with those facts because it either creeps up on you too soon or it’s around the corner waiting to creep up on you eventually. We all have to grow up and be adults even if we don’t want to.

The “knowledge is misery” part of the quote quite fascinated me because I happen to think knowledge is an essential part of life. Most people are thirsty for knowledge instead of viewing it as something miserable. For example, I don’t want to know about politics but I still pay attention because I want to be prepared for anything that occurs in this country that may or may not affect me and my loved ones in some way.

Circling back to the bit about jobs, I feel like when you sign up for a particular job, you have to know what to expect going in. For example if you’re an artist of some sort: writer, movie director, music producer, painter, you have to know going in that when you release your art to the world that there are going to be some who absolutely love it and some who absolutely hate it. Now, I am none of those things but I feel like on some level you have to know what to expect and how to handle what gets thrown at you in any form. Obviously you are going to praise the ones who give you glowing reviews but should you ignore the ones who don’t or worse, call them all trolls or put them down? I don’t think that’s right. If anything, you’d learn from every bit of feedback or critique you receive so that you have a better direction going forward; learn how to to turn a negative into something that can strengthen you and your fan base so that you don’t lose anyone, including the negative Nancies because there is always that possibility that they’ll still support you and even like future works even if this one flopped for them.

Another example, and this is personal experience, is being a manager. Being promoted is a great feeling but with it comes great responsibility and one of those things is the ability to handle a rude customer. First you have have to acknowledge that it’s not a personal attack at you. The person may be having a shitty day. Such is life. Then you have to strive to fulfill their needs as best you can without making it worse than it already is. Now are there some customers who are just rude out the gate? Absolutely. Even so, there are methods in which you can handle the situation that could potentially open their eyes to their own behavior and get them to calm down. Is this a perfect be all end all method? Of course not. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction, I’d say.

One last example is having that tough conversation with an employee who is just not doing what they are supposed to do. I don’t want them to think I’m personally attacking them because they are not doing a great job lately but I also want to make it clear that it’s not going to be tolerated either. Sitting them down one on one and going through what I see and trying to get to the root of what’s going on so that we can figure out how best to proceed going forward is usually the best route. Again, is it foolproof? Absolutely not and sometimes it ends more badly than you wanted it to but sometimes that’s just the right route.

I think life is all about balance. You need to make mistakes and fail to become a better, well rounded person. Sometimes our emotions dictate our actions before we fully comprehended what happened later but if you have the ability to acknowledge that and correct it either in the now or in the future, I think that makes a good recipe for greatness.

What do you think about balancing positives with negatives in life? Do you agree about jobs and what to expect when you take a specific job on? Any examples you want to share? Let me know in the comments below!