My co-worker is warping under the job's pressure. It's painful to witness. I keep reassuring him that he's doing great, that he needs to relax some and let go.
He knows that on the intellectual level. Accepting it emotionally is challenging. Letting go of these matters is hard. He wants to solve all the problems once and for all. He's striving for perfection and he's taking it personally.
Yet, so many aspects are not within our realm of control and there aren't right answers. There are intelligent calculations about what we can do and what we recommend doing but we're dealing with snapshots of situations. Everything changes every day.
We get beat up when things go wrong. We're rarely thanked when things go right because it's our job to ensure things go right. That makes us defensive and wary. He is like me and his predecessors, re-thinking situations, trying to figure out if he missed something that contributed to the situation. There are so many moving parts. What holds true for one part of the world, customer, or products and systems doesn't hold true in others. Learning those differences is challenging.
Our situation isn't helped by the corporate approach. They attempt to address all systems through one global process, and there are just too many exceptions. Some countries accept only new parts. There are safety rules that vary, and of course, customs, along with environmental laws. Talking to the lawyers lead to conversations about parsing paragraphs and sub-paragraphs and defining what the word 'date' means.
The thing to remember about it all is that it's just business, it's just about money. He needs to divorce himself from taking it all personally.
Yes, that's easily said. I can say that, but it's harder to live it. I know. I'm the survivor, the guy who's been doing this the longest in our brand. I tell him that I walk around, babbling to myself, studying spreadsheets, looking up values, and re-evaluating our decisions - again, again, again. I can't stop myself. I still remind myself several times every day, don't take it personally. There is no one single right answer. Even if you're right at this moment, you can be wrong in the next.
That's part of his issue as well. He's an ex-Marine. He's been through combat. He thinks of himself as tough, innure to stress.
It's a different sort of stress, though. Combat and business are not the same, and neither are the pressures. Combat is much worse, yet he finds this harder.
That's part of his problem. He continually asks himself and me, "Why am I having so many problems. Why can't I do this?"
Give yourself time, I tell him. It's just business. It's not worth your health or your sanity.
But it's hard, letting go.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com