Of course life is not fair! (Who told you that it was?)
Consider that the middle part of the word “life” is “if”…
Somebody else may have received the promotion for which you were manifestly better qualified, or the credit for the work and ideas that you produced. The pattern starts early in life, usually in junior school. Sound familiar?!
If you think your teacher, and maybe your parent(s) are tough, wait until you have a boss, and possibly customers too. (Some of you may already know this side of life.)
Television and movies are NOT real life. In reality, your heat and electricity get turned off if you don’t pay your bills, and at some point, everyone has acne, cellulite, and/or wonders about their body hair and what others think of them.
So, once you’ve finished fantasizing about settling the score, and achieving “justice”, it’s time to get back to the real world and develop a useable plan.
Another thing I’ve noted, ruefully, is that people who graduated from the School of Hard Knocks tend to grasp earlier, and better, that they’re not necessarily entitled to anything (of course, there are exceptions… many people, regardless of education or socio-economic background, think the world owes them everything – hence this article).
Now, do you know the difference between a university graduate and a college graduate?
Answer: the university graduate usually expects more salary for doing the same, or less work.
So, thinking that you’re entitled to something (even if it’s sometimes actually true…) won’t accomplish much. (For example: “Congratulations on earning your degree, but you’ve done nothing in the real world yet…”)
Now for the bad news: hard work alone won’t get you there either (wherever “there” is), and neither will merely following the rules (but please do so). You must learn additionally to find a pathway through the world that is grounded on reality, and the way things really are, and not based on the way you think things should be (but are not).
In other words, you must sharpen your judgment. Don’t imitate others, and don’t just copy their plans; what seems to work for everyone else may not work for you.
If you are stuck in a workplace, or any place, that is blatantly unfair, you have limited choices:
- Keep trying the same approach, and hope you get lucky (see Einstein’s definition of insanity); or
- Change your approach, and see if that improves the situation; or
- Try to change the environment and the people around you (this rarely works); or
- Leave, and find greener pastures elsewhere.
Option #2 often helps. But since option #4 often tends to eventuate, logic dictates that you must develop an exit strategy, ideally before you decide to jump, or are pushed out.
Sometimes, even when you know you did everything right, and played fair… well, you’ll still get burned. By other people, by circumstances, by accident…
But don’t waste your time dwelling on the injustice. By all means, complain to let off steam, but get on with your planning. And always remember to keep it real. And FORGET about what other people think of YOU. YOU are more important and your life has value.
I’m giving you two lessons in that last part: DON’T compare yourself to others, and DO find positive people to be with, people who are compatible with you! Dump the naysayers who are dragging your life down!
So think ahead. Life is short, and sudden.
More specifics on how to deal with particular situations, in an upcoming article.
Dr Paul 🙂
PS I’ve been there, too. Anyone who tells you how great their whole entire life has been is either lying (such as on typically exaggerated social media – click here), or was born into a rich family and never had to earn anything.
PPS A last lesson today, for those of you who are feeling exceptionally mature: in the end, it is truly better to forgive the people who trampled all over you, when you feel ready. Carrying the frustration will only hurt you… and YOU are more important (did I mention that?). 🙂