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Tripping on our ego

Posted in Life & Love

women boxersA friend was telling me about her work woes, how she didn’t feel challenged at a job she knew she performed well and how upset she was management had decided a restructuring and were now recruiting someone who would be over her.

“They didn’t even talk to us, the three people who were here from the beginning, to ask for our input. They didn’t even approach me for the position.”

I suggested she put together a proposal on how she saw the company moving forward and why she was a good asset to spearhead changes. They could only say no and/or give her a measure of how they felt about her performance.

After much more chatting and prodding, it turns out she doesn’t want the promotion in the first place. She feels slighted at not being asked. Primly, I pointed out her ego was clouding her judgment and the problem lay elsewhere: she was ambitious, she liked to make a difference, to be challenged and this job didn’t provide any of this, just a cushy paycheck. If she wanted the challenge and the perks, she needed to look elsewhere, or devote her free time to something that mattered.

Such a shame we are not very good at taking our own advice when it’s our turn. Not even twenty-four hours later, I fell into the same ego trap, like a rabbit down a hole.
I said something, rather unexpected, to someone I deeply care about without really pondering the consequences. Or, rather, I could rattle off the list of consequences, but I chose to set them aside to see if I would get the reaction I wanted. Which I didn’t. Partly because this person knows me very well and partly because I should have known better.

I was stunned at my stupidity. I let my ego take me to a place where I was seeking affirmation and need.

Without calling psychology to our aid, any cheap self-help book can recognize the root of ego-based impulses into a need for validation, stemming from a million reasons having to do with childhood, parents and whatever else we want to bring to the party. When you think you have learnt to recognize good old ego creeping up, it blindsides you once again – that is how strong it can be.

At least, with age, I have come to recognize it for what it is, if not always to stop it. And I am moving on. No harm done. Just some minor bruising.

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8 Comments

  1. Ah, you’re human! A feeling of being disrespected or overlooked is at the root of most workplace misunderstandings. We give so much of our lives to our jobs (that’s half the problem in itself) that we want someone to recognize it above a simple paycheck. Just a nod, a word can be enough. We all want to be told we do good. Like children at school.

    May 4, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      If only most workplaces understood such a simple concept, going to work would be a lot more pleasurable.

      May 6, 2016
      |Reply
  2. I recently faced such a scenario in my workplace whereby a new position was opened to whom I am to report. The only difference however was that I trusted my superior for her choice whomever she would bring. This is because she created a great women’s team in the past that delivered the result. As for my own job, I am content where I am and more so now as I now devote much of my free time to other interests of mine, which help me stay balanced and fresh.

    May 3, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      Sometimes a job can also be a way to support some other interests, and there is nothing wrong as that. Freshness and balance are worth seeking.

      May 4, 2016
      |Reply
  3. Your friend’s story doesn’t sound altogether unfamiliar. A while back, one of my managers resigned, and upper management put up an ad for a new manager without asking any of the current staff if they wanted a chance at it. People whinged about it, but only one had the guts to go and confront them. She got the job. (I didn’t want it anyway, so it didn’t bother me. No complaints from my corner.)

    At work, whenever someone tells me they’ve made a mistake, I console them by saying something along the lines of “at least you realised”. After all, everyone slips up from time to time, so it’s good being able to recognise when you’ve gone wrong.

    May 3, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      There are few things I like about aging but recognizing where I went wrong and being able to do something about it is most certainly one of them.

      May 4, 2016
      |Reply
  4. Winston moreton
    Winston moreton

    Some minor bruising. But giving offence and worrying about it can cause weight loss too . Those that don’t give a whatever deserve their lumps

    May 3, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      Right you are. Better build up some devil may care fat…

      May 4, 2016
      |Reply

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