My biggest fear is to disappoint people–to get a B, to give up halfway through the race, and to not fill the mold someone else has laid out for me. Frankly, it’s a recipe for disaster. And yet, it is such a difficult habit to break.
I’m a people-pleaser by nature, so saying “no” does not come easily. However, I’m currently in a position where “no” is the only option.
Do you want to come with me to a concert? I know your bedtime it around 7pm lately and you wouldn’t get home until after midnight, but you’re invited.
Do you want a minuscule promotion? I’m keeping the employee who framed you for a federal crime as my right hand man, but I hope you know you’re a valued employee.
Why don’t you just let it go? The company isn’t planning to press charges and legal counsel has dismissed your power in the case, so just move on a let it go.
I am endlessly tolerant and forgiving. They didn’t mean it, they didn’t hurt anyone, and it won’t happen again. As I approach 30, I’m beginning realizing that peoples’ actions reflect their character. In the words of Maya Angelou, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
A compulsive liar will likely always be such. A bully can’t be expected to become compassionate overnight. A cheater will continue to cheat for as long as they can get away with it. And, conversely, a kind-hearted person will reveal themselves the first time you meet.
Work has been draining, and I’ve been working long hours to clean things up and facilitate my smooth transition out.
Do I feel comfortable staying with a company that allows it top-level employees to steal money from the company and its employees? Do I condone a company that chooses to keep such an employee because “his value outweighs his dysfunction”? Do I want to be a part of an organization in which hearsay–based entirely on the biased opinions of one person–is grounds for termination?
No, no, and no. That’s not what I stand for. Knowing what I now know, staying would be an act of accepting and approving such bad behavior.
Am I okay just walking away, finding a new opportunity, and starting over? It it possible for me to simply forget everything that’s happened an move on? Can I forget about all those who I’ll leave behind and subject to future abuse?
Nope. I am pissed off by what I have been through in recent weeks, but I now feel a personal responsibility to prevent it from happening to someone else. The others who fear disappointing are going to keep showing up to do their best work, only to be sabotaged by a self-serving jerk who is being permitted to continue manipulating, stealing from, and harassing his employees.
As much as I once feared the sting of a disappointed look, I now fear the self-disappointment I will surely feel if I don’t do something.
No, I will not stay at an organization that puts its most loyal employees through hell.
No, I will not just walk away, move on, and start over.
No, I will not keep my mouth shut to protect the current employees who depend on the company for their paychecks.
I don’t know how deep the rabbit hole goes and if the owner of the company and attorneys aren’t willing to find out, I’m planning to soon involve a federal agency that would be happy to investigate just what exactly is going on and who can be held liable.
While my tendency towards pleasing others has always made life difficult, I’m learning now to re-frame it. I’m not trying to please one person now, but rather to help shape an environment where the maximum number of people can feel both safe and happy. In order to achieve that, I need to say “no” to several comfortable options and “yes” to the one that could begin to make things right.