We often think of all-consuming hate as something you might have for other people. It’s an eye-opener when you see what hate for a thing can start to turn you into…
Hate For A Coworker
Back when I was a technical support call center agent, I worked with a guy roughly my age who took to the job in a completely different way from how I did.
Where he would brown-nose and suck up to coaches and managers, I would generally acknowledge their existence. Sometimes.
Where he would toe the line, do exactly as he was asked, and play “the game”, I would – often rather brazenly – throw the nonsense of call center metrics back in my managers’ faces.
And where he would gladly eat a Papa John’s as a consolation for having to answer phone calls during half his lunch hour, I would seethe through bites of pepperoni, cheese and garlic.
What did they think I was, a freakin’ kindergartener?! That I could be placated with delicious pizza (I say as I nom nom nom)?!
When he would walk up and down the aisles between cubicles, shadowing mentors, coaches and managers in succession as he slowly but surely moved up the chain of promotion, my stomach would turn.
Why did I loathe this person so much?
Well, that was easy…
…It was because I hated my job!
Hate For A Job
I’m not much of a people hater. I never really have been. Even people that seriously annoy me don’t really cause me to fuel up the missile silos and wait for the perfect opportunity to launch.
At most, I may push away people who come at me with a constant cloud of negativity.
But to flat out hate a person like I was hating this guy? What on earth?!
My strategy at this job was, for the most part, apathy bordering on insubordination (I’m definitely overdramatizing it here… maybe…). Call centers, which I had already been doing before I took on this job (and I’d do another after) always felt like the antithesis of my soul. Where I was a creative, artistic person, a call center was very regulated and restricting. It was corporate ick.
I had no intention of staying here. I had no long-term plan. I just wanted to come in, collect my paycheck and leave. No climbing the ladder. Despite the fact that it would have gotten me away from those merciless phones, I never even tried to get a promotion because then it would have made me more invested.
I didn’t want that. I wanted to remain on a certain kind of precipice. In a place where I could always be let go.
I’d come home from that job every day and be very difficult to deal with. More or less completely emotionless. Hard to get me excited about anything. Because I was always thinking about the fact that I had to turn around and do it again the next morning.
And all of this completely stifled my creativity, making me feel as though it was killing me inside.
It was even worse when I worked from home. Sure, at first it was nice to not have to be in the office and in those cubicles, but after a while work and home started to blend in, the line between them virtually evaporating.
It was like I was at work 24/7!
For who I was, that job was all-consuming. I hated it with an absolute passion.
We often think of a hate for other people as being all-consuming. But again, I don’t hate people.
It’s a completely bizarre eye-opener when you begin to realize that you can have that kind of hate for a thing.
And even worse when you see what it’s turning you into – namely someone who would hate another person because that other person isn’t just handling that hated thing differently, he’s practically representing everything you hate about that thing!
How dare he?!
Looking back, my behavior here seems like that of a petulant child. I mean, heck, it was great pay, health insurance, a 401k, and 501 Blues. Then again, I didn’t have family I had to worry about.
It was only when I realized my brown-nosing coworker had family he was responsible for that I began to see things in a different light.
Hate For The Shoes?
Because my coworker had family he had to provide for, he didn’t have the luxury of playing things on the precipice like I did. He couldn’t coast. Getting paid the same as I was getting paid was fine and dandy, but he couldn’t lose that. Indeed, solidifying his employment by moving up was a much smarter approach.
So he was in it for the long haul. As a result, his strategy was to “play the game”, do what was asked – no matter how ridiculous – nom nom his Papa John’s and like it!
And he did like it. I could tell.
The pizza, anyway.
But did he like the job the way he looked like he liked the job? Did he get up every morning saying “yippee time to do this awesome stuff again” and come home beaming with the Joy of having taken phone calls all day?
(You know, like I imagined he did)?
What if, instead, his experience was – for the most part – just like mine? What if he hated that job? What if he came home with stress and anxiety like I did? What if working at a call center made him feel that slowly, but surely, it was destroying his soul, virtually killing him inside?
What if he hated having to be the brown-noser? What if it was contrary to his sensibilities, but he did it because he didn’t really have a choice?
He had a responsibility to other people.
The more I thought about things like this – the more I walked in those over-cliched shoes of his – the more I felt I understood him. The less I hated. The more I respected and, eventually, admired.
And the less I let my disdain for something else I was experiencing cause me to think negatively about someone who, quite frankly, was hardly deserving of anything like it.
When I eventually quit working call centers altogether, I vowed I would never go back to them. I didn’t like the person they would tend to mold me into. But a few years after that, when my wife and I had little money, our big goals weren’t coming to fruition, and we had a child to provide for, I found myself applying to call center jobs because I knew that’s what I could do at that time to make ends meet.
I knew I wouldn’t like it. But I knew it was something I would have to do.
Thankfully, things wound up going a better direction, far away from occupations like that.
But I often wonder, had things turned out differently, if I might have had to borrow that brown-nosing coworker’s shoes for a bit.
(Oh, and I still roll my eyes and mutter under my breath when someone suggests getting Papa John’s).
Have you ever had an experience similar to the story I shared above? Did you eventually come to the realization that you were misplacing your hate? Are you only realizing it now in retrospect? If you’ve had this experience, what was it like? Was it part of a work/occupational experience, or was it something else? What might you do differently if you were to find yourself in the same situation again? What might you learn from this? And how might you help someone else having the same problem? Would you be able to recognize it in yourself or others if it came up again? Share your thoughts and experiences below!
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