THAT’S IT! I QUIT.
That was the thought I had, rational or not, after being annoyed with my co-workers for the millionth time.
Strike that. For the last time.
Don’t walk out the door, I told myself. Run as fast as you can somewhere—anywhere - as long as it wasn’t where I was standing right now. My co-workers had almost pushed me over the edge, and I wanted out. No amount of talking through the political drama, no pay raise, no office-space shuffle would suffice anymore.
Enough was enough. I was on to a better job where well-behaved employees would work in peace and harmony.
I have to admit, deciding to quit my job that day was one of the most freeing moments of my life. I hadn’t actually given my notice yet, but I took a break and walked out into the sunshine with a smile on my face. There was a certain peacefulness that followed, as if a dark cloud had been cleared away, and I was finally free to start my life over as I wished.
Was it asking too much to work with adults who wanted to interact with the human population in a positive, team-like manner? And what gave my co-workers the right to belittle people, whispering behind their backs but smiling to their faces? Work wasn’t supposed to crush the human spirit. It was supposed to be a place where people enjoyed their jobs and learned skills useful to the world. And if they didn’t find a job they were passionate about, at least they should enjoy the people they worked alongside.
I decided it was not acceptable to allow co-workers to treat each other poorly. Sure, we live in a free country with free speech, but that’s no excuse to indulge in unethical conduct. With freedom comes an unwritten precept of responsibility.
Yes, occasional flare-ups of annoying behavior can probably be dealt with, but if done on a continual basis, they soon lead to being perceived as a bully. And what happens when the boss or the human resources manager turn their heads from a sticky situation when dealing with a difficult co-worker? It leaves victims in a precarious position, often feeling and beaten down and without good options.
Worse yet, workers who are unable to vacate a job because of a flat economy or lack of employment alternatives, could decide to “quit and stay.” I now understood the deep emotional turmoil that plays in the minds of trapped workers.
Where could I go to get away from these people?
The resounding answer came from within. Nowhere, that quiet, knowing voice answered. You have to live with them. Just as they have to live with you.
Then an idea started to solidify. What if there was a way to deal with difficult situations that fostered the work relationship rather than tearing it down? A way to create coping mechanisms that allow employees to feel happier in their environment, regardless of the chaos going on around them? I decided it was worth investigating. What did I have to lose, other than the job I was on the verge of quitting anyway?
Suddenly, I felt a lightness in my step, as if a great weight had been lifted from my body, making way for a stream of higher consciousness. I sensed that my mission had been revealed in my hour of darkness. Solving this problem could indeed heal “broken” workers. But it could also heal my own dark night of soul as I struggled to find fulfilling work, enjoy my journey with fellow co-workers, and make it all a meaningful experience.
In that moment, I decided I wouldn’t quit yet. Instead, I’d set out to find my truth and understand how we can work together, or at least get along, in the workplace. I wanted to know how to deal with the pressures that everyone experiences and do it in a way that is life-changing, in a positive way, rather than quitting my job and discovering the same problem in a new setting, again and again. I wanted to know how to stay out of the human resources manager’s office and feel empowered to make changes myself, within myself. I wanted to experience an internal attitude adjustment that would resolve a problem in progress, or perhaps dissolve it before it even had a chance to crystalize and turn ugly. And so I wrote this book!