Too Much Work Ethic? (cont’d)

I may not actually be the first one ever, but I’m the first one I know of who has been given what are, more-or-less, ‘walking papers’ from a volunteer job! Apparently, from what I can comprehend from the quite convoluted message, all of the (many) suggestions I was offering on ways to grow the company were somehow seen as “demands”. I knew that the manager was a bit of a ‘control freak’, but it was never my intention to do anything more than provide a different perspective on what things are working, what don’t seem to be working, and what could be tried instead.

Initially, I was angry and my pride was severely injured. Ironically, though my pride is not yet completely intact again, I now see this as a blessing. I have some emotional stuff from all of this that I still need to work through, but overall, it needed to happen. It was I who initiated the conversation, after being reminded by my dear brother that I was choosing to be a victim, and remembering the adage, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” Obviously, from my previous post, I was frustrated enough that something needed to change. Sure, my pride wouldn’t have been bruised if I had been the one who decided to leave, rather than being asked to, but in the end, change that needed to happen happened! Ironically, I was told I was being given a “breather” and told there would be the possibility of returning. Yea. Not gonna happen. I get the sense that the manager wants me to change myself to fit into something he wanted me to be. Sorry, but I prefer to remain authentic! I embrace my faults -my humanness – and I embrace the right to make mistakes and learn from them. All of this was a very major life lesson! As many conversations over the past 7 months replayed in my mind while looking at this, I saw, once I removed the rose-colored glasses, that there were some things about this man that were not so pleasant to the naked eye.

And the freedom! With my various health issues and my sleeping problems, this was a situation where I often put my physical needs in jeopardy in order to be a vibrant worker for him and the company. Now I can – and will – visit the store when it suits me and feel no obligation to stay. Because I became friends with some of the other volunteers and a few of the regular customers, I will stop in, say hello to them (I pretty much know when which regular customers I bonded with will be there) and be done. The too many books in my “to-be-read” pile can finally get some attention!

So yes, I have some emotions to work through – like when the anger pops back up and my mind swirls with revengeful ideas – and the few times when I question what is wrong with me that I could let a volunteer situation ending be such a blow to my ego – but I do, overall, feel this needed to happen and I will be all the better that it did! And who knows? Maybe I’ll find a different volunteer opportunity – and what I’ve learned from this one will help me navigate it with a clearer understanding and vision. Who knows?

Victim? Or Volunteer?

In my early adulthood, I was an avid fan of Montel Williams’ talk show. (Yes, that shows my age. And if you don’t know who Montel Williams is, google him!) I liked the way he presented himself as very compassionate yet unwilling to take excuses from people for their behavior. He was a lot like Dr. Phil is today, though I think Dr. Phil can be a little too terse and impatient with some of this guests.

Anyhow, one day when I was watching Montel’s show, he was interviewing women who were currently in abusive relationships. He allowed each to tell a little bit of detail about their relationships and gave them the opportunity to share their excuses why they hadn’t left – or kept going back. They all told their stories as the victim – but for whatever reason they stayed or went back.

After a break, Montel opened up to comments from the audience. One woman stood up and said, “When something bad happens to you, you are a victim. But when you go back time and again knowing that the same thing is going to happen to you time and again, you are not a victim. You are a volunteer.” That statement hit me right in the face. Not for any personal reasons, but simply hearing those words made me stop, think and then consider how much of my sympathy these women truly deserved… and more so if they had managed to actually get away and then chose to go back!

We all stay in relationships that are unhealthy for us on a variety of levels. I’ve been guilty of that with some of the people in my life. Many of us stay because the relationship is a matter of convenience or because ‘the devil that we know is better than the devil that we don’t know’. Men who are still in the prime of sexual desire and need will often have a woman in their lives whom they tolerate in return for that need getting met. She may have no other desirable qualities, but that need gets met. Women will often have a man in her life with whom she has sex because he is emotionally present, attentive and cares for her – at least during the times they are having sex. Both get their basic needs met, but neither can say the relationship brings joy to their lives as a whole.

If you choose to be in that kind of relationship – one of convenience – then you, too, are not a victim but a volunteer. I know several different people in my life who are in relationships of convenience, and that’s their choice, but why do they think they have the right to grumble and moan about it to other people? If, for example, her emotional vomiting whenever you get together bothers you, then stop getting together! Pull up your big boy pants and spend the effort and energy to find someone else! And if, for example, he’s super-present and emotionally supportive when you’re together, but unless you’re together for sex, he doesn’t have time for you, pull up your big girl panties and spend the effort and energy to find someone who will!

So, if you stay in a relationship that is abusive or simply lacks satisfaction and do nothing about it, again, that’s your choice and your right to choose. What you don’t have a right to is playing the victim card!

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten.