I have a saying. “You can’t predict and you can’t control crazy.” The same also applies to stupid. The general gist, however, is that life, circumstances, environment, and yes, other people, are unpredictable. Life is fluid. Life is dynamic. People can be crazy, stupid, and oftentimes both.
My workdays, by contrast, can be somewhat predictable. Even though no two days are ever the same, they’re always filled with tasks I need to complete, reports I need to update, and people pinging me via instant messenger asking me to resolve problems over which I have no control. My job – project management in the IT arena – is breathtakingly un-awesome. I wish I could embellish and tell you stories about break-neck deadlines and nail-biting intensity, but it’s far from that. In a nutshell, it’s trying to manage flawed requests through a flawed process and knowing that somewhere down the line there is going to be a problem. Something going smooth as silk from start to finish is the rare exception to the aforementioned stupid and crazy rule.
So I am sitting here wondering if it was the champagne hangover or the giddiness of the New Year that made me think things at work would be different in 2014. The crazy people: all still there. The stupid people: far outnumbering the smart ones (and counting). Blend this all together with irrational expectations, inflexible policies, and abrasive management styles, and what you get is a big pile of same ol’ same ol’. <the use of the word ‘pile’ is deliberate>
I do have plenty of options. I can begin – as I seem to do every January – to polish up my resume and peruse what’s available in terms of career opportunities elsewhere. I can dig in my feet and push back on every obstacle thrown my way. I can even just shrug it all off with flippant apathy and count the minutes until the end of the work day. But none of these will provide the calm I need to keep me from punching someone in the throat. (Admit it. You have someone in your workplace you would just love to hit right in the face.)
Violent fantasies aside, the one thing I can do which, speaking from experience, is always effective is pray. Through prayer, not only am I engaging in dialogue with God and asking Him to guide me through the landmines of stupid and crazy, I am also blocking out the negative forces that seem to always find residence in the muscles underneath my shoulder blades. For me, prayer can be a spiritual massage that removes stresses from my life and reminds me of the blessings on which I should be focusing.
Work is work, but it’s not my life. Work pays the bills, but it doesn’t enrich my soul. I hope to someday have a profession that is fulfilling and engulfs me with passion and excitement. I also know that if that is what I want, then I am the one that needs to make it happen (a blog post for another day). But until then, when bubbles are bursting, I will be sure to be praying.
“In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free.” Psalm 118:5