It was Saturday night and we were having a get-together at a friend’s house for their daughter’s 7th birthday. As we were all hanging out the topic of stress, work and video games came up. And boy did I get worked up. My friends must have walked away thinking I was a bit of a pyscho.
But whenever you get onto the topic of something you’re passionate about the green-eyed monster in you will definitely come out from time to time.
So, as we were hanging out eating our delicious charcoal kebabs, Afghani style, in the lounge room, one of my friends mentioned how she had started playing a video game before bedtime and how it’s helped her relax, forget about work and have a good night’s sleep.
As much as I tried to stop myself I couldn’t leave it without asking her, “What’s the problem? Why are you stressed? Why are you having trouble sleeping?”
Did I think it had to do with work culture? You bet I did! Which is why I just couldn’t leave it alone.
So, then I started with the questions.
“Are you truly happy with what you’re doing?” Her reply was “Yes!”
I then said, “Then why are you stressed? What’s the problem?”
To her defence, our other friend, came out with a whole string of comments;
“Do you think it’s easy what she does?”
“Do you think it’s easy to invent something from scratch and experience no stress in the process?”
“Do you know how many people she’s responsible for?”
Implying very clearly that it simply was part of the job because her job was very important.
What we need to remember is that stress has become such a big part of our lives that, most people out there, believe that it comes hand in hand with any job that has any kind of importance attached to it.
But I still didn’t stop and dove deeper with the questions. Yep, even though my husband was looking at me like, can you please just stop NOW?!
But I couldn’t.
So we spoke more and more about the everyday scenarios that my friend had to face.
And were they difficult?
Of course they were!
It involved all kinds of things. From if an employee dropped dead the issues involved in finding someone else to do the job, while at the same time meeting the requirements for the funding and producing the results within the timeframe required. And my friend persisted about how stressful this was.
I merely asked the question “Why?”
And the answer my friend gave (drum roll)…
“Mimoza, it’s the system. Do you know how long this process would take? Do you know how hard they make it for you?!?”
Wouldn’t you know it, another overly agonising, torturous system operating in the workplace that would cause any person to lose their mind. Surprise, surprise (NOT!).
And that’s when I said, “There you go, that’s the problem.”
And then the other friend came out with a comment that made me lose my head and literally stand up out of my chair (like what the hell was I going to do – thank god they’re good friends and know me well) and said, “But you can’t change the system!”
YES, YOU CAN! YES, YOU CAN! YES, YOU CAN!
There are two things that I have to say in my defence for not letting go and persisting to get down to the bottom of it.
- I’m very passionate about this topic. I mean who else would get up early Sunday morning, pregnant, while the kids are still sleeping because I just couldn’t wait to write this blog post? Can you think of anyone? Because I know I can’t.
- I’ve seen so much unnecessary suffering from bad systems in the workplace, that apparently were unchangeable only to see them change when someone with a bit of sense, and more importantly, guts came into position.
So, when someone says to me “You can’t change the system” I think – WHY THE HELL NOT?!
And we flash back to job #9. We got to a point where everyone in the team was solely focused on protecting their own butt, people were quitting on a weekly basis and those that were there were using all the inner strength they could conjure up just to get through to the end of the day.
And when I had a meeting with my manager to point out all these things, this is what I got from her, “Mimoza, it is what it is. Management has changed and this is what it is! There’s nothing we can do about it, nothing is going to change!”
Within two weeks the head of the department was removed from the company and within a matter of days the dynamics of the team changed from having to kill ourselves for projects that just couldn’t be stopped to them not only stopping, but some being cancelled altogether. (Wait a second, I thought they couldn’t be stopped? Funnily enough they could (lol!).
Blog Tip #34 – There’s an assumption that most people within the workforce will make that is so freaking wrong, it’s not even funny. And here it is…
for a job to have any kind of significance it needs to be stressful. So, in other words, if you want to have an important job, as a criteria, it needs to kill you slowly.
When this is the case there are work culture/system issues that need to be addressed!
And what people tend to get mixed up is that when I talk about stress, I’m not talking about problems or challenges.
Problems and challenges are inevitable. That’s where we learn and it’s what makes us better at what we do.
Stress is when things are just made more difficult because 30 years ago someone put a system in place that forgot to consider that people are human beings and since then no one has bothered to challenge it.
Because it is what it is. (Sound familiar?)
Never let anyone stop you from asking “Why”!
What did you think about blog post #36?
Have you dealt with systems that just make you want to rip your hair out?
What’s been the most torturous thing about them?
Tell me about it by leaving a comment below.
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Talk to you soon.
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