Friday, September 9, 2011

don't be bullied

So, yesterday I had to attend Horizontal Violence (incivility) training, it’s mandatory for the place I work. Basically, there’s about a 10% turnover in new staff each year, and one of the main reasons was something like a hostile work environment. The people either didn’t fit in, or felt they were bullied.

Bullying is the new big thing (Just did a google news search and there are 8,840 stories in the past hour). It’s now why kids kill themselves. It’s why people quit jobs. It’s why people go home unhappy. It’s why they then take their work life out on their families.

Is it because people are too sensitive? In the corporate world, we aren’t talking about physical violence, that will get you fired, we are talking about (basically) hurting someone’s feelings. I don’t like the way you rolled your eyes at me. I don’t like you talking behind my back. I don’t like you giving me the silent treatment. I don’t like you blaming me. I don’t like you backstabbing me. I don’t like… Jeebus. Grow a spine.

In modern society, it seems the goal is to do one thing, fit in. Look around next time you go out, how many people drive the same car, wear the same jacket, have the same haircut, wear the same perfume. People do almost everything they can to be the most … um… GENERIC. It’s not cheap to be generic, some of the things they have are really expensive, but EVERYONE has it. (North Face Jackets for example) People fight as hard as they can to NOT be unique. They think they are “different” and “special”, but deep down, they just want to blend in.

When I went to basic training, I received some of the worst advice ever from my cousin; he said something like “don’t let the drill sergeants know who you are”. I think when he graduated from Basic Training, the drills were like, wait, who are you? This is most people. Their goal is not to be noticed. They want to be wall flowers. You’d think that’d be easy to do in camouflage. But, it’s the people that try to blend in and not be noticed who are the ones who are yelled at, dropped for pushups, and singled out. Why? Because, the army needs people who can be yelled at, and can do their job; and not start crying and worry about their feelings and not accomplish their mission. If you can do your job correctly under pressure, then you can do it. There is pressure in war.

So why is bullying a problem for people who want to blend in? It means that someone has determined that you are special. You have gotten me to choose you (out of EVERYONE else) to pick on. You are no longer a faceless drone, you are now… UNIQUE! It’s the last thing you want. You just want to go about your day, do your job, maybe have someone say “good job” or “thank you” but most likely you would prefer no recognition at all. If someone is yelling at you, talking about you, rolling their eyes at you, well… you have become special. You are no longer faceless person #2, you are SOMEONE. You are suddenly unique. You don’t know what to do with yourself.

Modern society almost demands that you be a drone. Children’s games are outlawed because someone might get hurt. Score isn’t kept at kids sporting events because “everyone is a winner”; well everyone is also a loser. Everyone is the same, and that’s the way society wants it. Getting hurt is an easy way to learn. Losing, and not liking losing, is a reason to get better. Why get better if it doesn’t matter what you do, since there is no score? Kids are all treated the same. Which is bullshit. Everyone needs to be treated differently. I am different than you, you are different than her, she is different than him. If they are all treated the same, how will we know who does what good?

That’s the first factor about bullying (probably the most overlooked one) that people don’t want to stand out in a crowd. People look at the different people … differently. They actually notice them. I was the guy with the Mohawk in the class… I was the one with a different opinion. Why? I don’t mind being noticed.

The other factor in modern bullying goes to people’s inability to accept happiness. Happiness is all around, you just have to accept it. Trust me, there are great things out there. If you look for something, you will find it. If you are unhappy, look for a reason to be happy. I’m not saying ignore your problems and they will go away, I’m saying, there’s no reason to be permanently unhappy. If you have massive problems with money or a job, or … whatever, that’s different. If you are on the internet reading this, you have a computer (or access to one) or a smart phone… how many people in the world don’t have those things.

Heck, if you are here, you probably like beer. Hurray beer! Don’t drink to drown your problems, drink because beer is great! How can you be unhappy if there’s a beer in front of you? Why would you be unhappy if there’s a beer? Find a thing you like, and be happy about that.

Don’t hate Monday. Love your weekend. It’s only 5 days till the next one. I see some people ruining their weekend because they hate Monday. Screw that, I’m going to enjoy the time I have when I have it, instead of waiting for something bad.

If little things piss you off, you need to relax and not worry about it. If your day is ruined because someone cut you off in traffic, then you really need to learn to enjoy what you have. If you are cut off in traffic, you are going somewhere (hurray, you have a place to go), you have a vehicle (hurray, you have a car), you have money to put gas in the car (hurray, you have some gas), you have many many things. Why would you let something like… someone not using a turn signal… even put you in a bad mood for a split second?

Anyone who makes you lose your cool, isn’t worth losing your cool over. If you think someone is worth losing your cool over, they shouldn’t make you lose your cool. Don’t let someone else affect your mood. A person who cuts you off on the road, isn’t worth your time to flip them off. You won’t feel better about doing it. They won’t care, even if it does. Just be happy.

If you dwell on the things that make you unhappy, you won’t be able to experience all the joy that comes from the things that can make you happy.

If you dread mowing the lawn, be thankful you have a yard. If you have to paint the house, congrats, you have a house. If your kid is crying, then someone has found you to be an acceptable mate and has procreated with you, that’s probably something to write about.

So, in order to not be bullied, you have to accept happiness, and not care that you are no longer a faceless drone.

Good luck