I love my job. I have a great boss, a wonderful team and I’m doing work that is fun and that I’m good at. It energizes me, nurtures me and helps give me purpose. But there is one aspect of my role at this job, and every other job I’ve ever had, that at times can suck the life right out of me.
I’m talking about the need to censor what I’m thinking and hence what I end up saying in order get a positive outcome in any particular situation. And, hey, I just did it right there! What I’m really saying is that I’m frustrated that I can’t tell people off who are annoying, self-serving, counterproductive political jerks. Well, I could, but it wouldn’t be in my or the company’s best interests.
An account exec once told me, “If it feels good, don’t say it.” I’ve religiously followed that adage, knowing that the few times I didn’t, always got me into deep trouble that never justified the immediate gratification I got from truly speaking my mind.
So my little gatekeeper gets tired. He works really hard all day. I give him a rest when I get home and vent to my understanding wife. My rants generally take on a humorous tone and we both end up either smiling and nodding at the foibles of humankind or sometimes laughing outright at workplace silliness.
Sometimes I give my gatekeeper a rare treat in the way of a jargon laden email sent to an offending co-worker that is politically correct but bitingly critical when read between the lines. I can be dysfunctionally passive-aggressive, as my wife at times will point out, and I definitely try to avoid that behavior whenever I become aware of it.
I know that the best and most effective tact for me to take is to confront my nemesis honestly and respectfully. But truthfully, sometimes my exhausted gatekeeper is just not up to the task and I walk away to take on that battle another day.