Stirring The Coals

I’ve been thinking a bit more about how I’ve been getting screwed over by my employer lately. For better or worse I’m still angry, although I think I probably have a right to be. But what is really upsetting me right now is how my own character and moral fiber seems to have been used against me.

Long story short, I’m a nice person. I try to avoid conflict whenever possible, to the point of sacrificing my own well-being just so things go smoothly. I’m eager to help, and my inherent work ethic compels me to do the best job I can, even if it’s something I’d rather not. As a result, I don’t have much practice saying “no,” or a well-honed ability to stick up for myself.

And what has being nice gotten me? A role as a doormat, apparently. Even when I try to present my case (for example, holding to my availability), I usually end up capitulating anyway. I’m so worry about not offending that in the heat of the moment I end up thinking the way the other person wants me to. I don’t realize that yeah, I really am angry, until it’s far too late to actually do something about it.

And you know what’s even worse? I’ve ended up at a point where I feel bad for even attempting to stick up for myself!

I’ve always been something of an idealist, I’ll admit. I believe in the inherent goodness of people, that they’ll approach a situation as calmly and virtuously as I would. This experience with work lately has been a rude wake-up call, to say the least. I’m starting to wonder if it’s worth my time to give as much energy, to sacrifice as much as I have if the other side isn’t willing to reciprocate.

I’m reminded of something I read online recently, where we’ve ended up in a working environment where the employees most likely to move ahead were the ones most willing to put in unpaid labor. Like the fast food worker who is given three hours worth of tasks to do in the one hour between the store closing and the end of their shift. And I’m sick of it. I’m sick of companies sucking their employees dry without any concessions in return. It’s not that these companies are evil. It’s that they just don’t care. The wants and needs (and rights) of their employees are so below their notice that it’s like a human worrying about what an earthworm thinks. Or Cthulhu worrying about the desires of a cute puppy.

I guess I hadn’t been forced to face this lack of concern before, and I’m not sure what I’m going to do about it. I just know I really don’t like people taking advantage of my caring, trusting nature. It makes me feel dirty, like trying to do the right thing is the wrong thing to do.

And I’m still angry.