I want to tell you something about the working culture in my home country. Still, to this day i am affected by this culture. I realized it one day while i was laying in my hammock. I suddenly felt guilty and started thinking i should go out and do something. People are going to start thinking i am not doing anything. I had to literally calm myself down and tell myself it does not matter. And how the reality really is: i am doing a lot.
Every single day i practice teaching yoga. Every single day i listen to educational podcasts. Every single day i study yoga philosophy. Every single day i write a lot down my own thoughts about it. Every single day i study sequencing.
And all this i do on a tropical island, laying in my hammock, or on the beach, while enjoying it. And enjoying the life i am having. And because i am enjoying it in a beautiful place, it makes me feel like i am not doing enough. I am just being lazy and having fun.
I have gotten rid of many things that have been planted into me, but this one just sticks. The constant need to feel and be effective. That’s a result of first bosses being bullies (the feeling of never being or doing enough, never getting a thanks or appreciation for what you have done) and the idea that what matters the most in your life is how much you work.
A few examples of this culture:
Once i heard a lady say she does not understand why the room for employees to take a break is right next to where the customers are being served. She was shocked that they would actually let people see the employees going in to take a break.
A place i worked at provided me food for lunch, but i was not allowed to eat there so customers would not see me. Eating. Doing something totally normal everyone does.
At my first job ever the room of the lady boss was right next to where i worked. She had a window to my working spot and she was by the window, all day, looking at me. When she would see me stop to stretch or adjust my position or leave for toilet, she would come to me and say “i have been keeping an eye on you and you do not do your work efficiently enough”.
I got fired from a job the day before my salary was supposed to be raised. I sent a letter through a lawyer to demand for the money and the papers that legally belonged to me and i got a call from the ex boss, a grown up woman. She told me i do not deserve anything in life and she is not surprised if i never get another job because she knows people like me and people like me are lazy and inactive.
The fact that many employers bully the young people who come to work for the first time in their lives: they don’t know their rights, they are not being treated well, and they start despising the whole idea of working – that is exactly what happened to me when i was under 20 years old. The horror and the anxiety of having to face another bully as a boss made me not want to apply for jobs, and this made me lazy and not worthy in the eyes of the society and in the eyes of other people.
When i told someone about this, they said “that’s how it is to be a working adult. No one of us has it easy.” It is when i started wondering for the first time, is this what life is going to be like? Is this what i am going to have to accept?
When i was leaving to my first backpacking trip, some people asked me “how can you leave when you don’t know how the economical situation will be when you get back? You should rather grab this job now and hold on to it.”
When i got back, many people were only interested in what job i am going to apply now that i am back.
I feel that the quality of you as a person depends on how hard you work. People burn out and they are respected as “hard workers”.
I feel like the general idea is that if you do enjoy your job and what you do, you are really not working hard enough. Are you really working at all?
Once i read from the newspaper that at some day cares the children use a time card to log themselves in and out “to get them used to the working life from early age”.
The fact that if you are chatting with your workmates and enjoying working, maybe even laughing, you are not apparently getting your job done properly.
Basically the whole idea that the job you have is the most important part of you, and the more you work the more worthy you are.
+ I will never understand why “stress managing” is a thing – oh, she handles her stress very well. She is a good employee. Hard working. When actually instead of managing the stress, i think we should be aiming to reduce it. Even to get rid of it one and for all.
… and how the ability to work under pressure is so appreciated
The least favorite thing of mine when looking at advertisements for jobs: when almost every single one of them say “you need to be able to keep a smile and work well under pressure.” It makes me cringe. Big time. Because some people, including myself, just do not work like that. They do not do their best work when being pressured by the task, the people around, the customers or the bosses. They lock up. They lose their ability to act. Even the simplest tasks become hard. Like copying papers. I feel that instead of wanting the employees to work well under pressure, the most important thing an employer can do is to try to reduce it. It’s a big part of their responsibility to make the working environment kind. So that people can flow, their smiles can be real and they can work better, they can do the job and the task better.
I know from my own experience it is possible to work like that. Without being pressured from anywhere, with a kind environment of non-judgment and understanding, with bosses that are nice for you and give thanks. Not only i did enjoy going to work, i did everything i was supposed to do, and i did it well. Change that into a bully-boss who pressures me and breathes on my neck – i lose my ability to work. And it has nothing, really, to do with how good of an employee i am. It has everything to do with self love and respect and deciding i deserve better, i deserve a surrounding that will treat me like a human. And now, at 28 years of age, i know i will never accept bad treatment from people ever again. It does not matter if they are my bosses or anyone else i cross paths with. All of us deserve to make this decision for themselves. To stand up and change for the better.