Throughout my life, I have traveled to foreign countries, done a number of jobs, and experienced a good bit of life. Some of it has been utterly amazing and other bits, downright awful. I have always thought that experiences, whether good or bad, are what you make of them. Not that you can make some horrible scarring event good or pretend some dictator-like boss is wonderful, but you can control what you take from the experience.
Did that bad boss teach you what not to do? Did your cheating boyfriend make you more aware of the signs of dishonesty? Did the sounds of rockets teach you to appreciate every moment?
I promised myself that my bad experiences would not taint me. I try not to be the employee who disrespects every leader thinking I know a better way to do things. I never wanted to be that bitter girl who hates all men. And, I try to look around and really SEE what I have rather than complain about what I don’t.
These experiences do frame your perspective on future events no matter how hard we try to avoid it though. With the right awareness, this is does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. I suppose it can just be a part of growing up and getting wiser. Perhaps that is why the elder of a village is sought out for advice. Or why a grandparent can offer such wisdom. Or why another veteran can sympathize with your reactions to whistles or fireworks. Without these experiences, we could be different people. If we were different though, would that be better?
Since I can only deal with the life I have been given, I have had to learn to accept things, work around challenges and compromise occasionally. Many experiences have made me stronger and more resilient. I can pay my own bills and mow my own grass. I can tolerate your rudeness. I can attempt your work plan without complaint.
However, I do have things I refuse to accept and bend on. I loathe dishonest and irresponsible people. I am not talking about the occasional white lie or day where you slack off and don’t put in a good days work. (Aren’t we all guilty of that here and there?) I am referring to people who are ALWAYS dishonest. The people who you KNOW are lying and are only out for themselves. These may or may not be the same people who never pay their bills on time. Or the people who never return your borrowed tools. Or the married guy who has a girlfriend?
Call me judgmental. Call me a snob. Call me a prude. I really don’t care. I call it independence, self worth and knowing where I draw the lines – my lines for my life. I have learned that I can’t deal with people like that. Nor do I want to try. I have to pay my bills, budget and plan to get the things I need and want. Why is OK for you to live outside of your means, not pay your bills and then expect some leniency on what you owe? I have to come to work on time and return emails requesting support or information. Why is OK for you to show up when you feel like it, without consequence, and not reply when something is needed from you? I am expected to act like a mature adult at work. Why do you think it’s OK to curse at someone about a personal issue for 30 minutes on a work phone? I have to answer to my boss about projects that I may or may not always like to do. Why do you think you can argue with me about your assigned tasks?
Or, my personal favorite, how does someone justify flirting with another person and forget to mention that they are married or in a serious relationship? I don’t care if you have been married for 47 years, your partner is cold and mean, or if you are just co-existing with someone, if I could not hold your hand in public or post a picture of us on a social media site without fear, please don’t lead me on. It’s not cool – at all. I happen to believe there is some truth on the phrase, ‘if they cheat with you, they will cheat on you.’
Maybe I am old fashioned and believe in fairytales (see my previous blog on love), but I think that honesty and responsibility are admirable qualities in people. I believe that how you treat people and how you handle your responsibilities, says a lot about who you are. Those things tell me if you are a good person. They show me if I should hire you. They reveal whether I should trust your word. They indicate if I can rely on you. If all of those signs point in a bad direction, you can safely assume I will not interview you, let you borrow my camera or accept your romantic offer. This may mean that I will be single and have fewer employees. However, at the end of the day, I will still have a small but solid team, my camera and my dignity.