Work can be stressful for all of us. Especially as the future is promised to no one. As most of you readers know, I work as a sales consultant in a “high pressure” environment. It requires me to be hyper-focused but sometimes I get too fixated in my little bubble. Not long ago we finished up the end of the year and the sales team was close to hitting “the number.” During the final stretches, I was feeling burned out from the constant grind. I felt that I had to have my cell phone on me every moment of the day so I wouldn’t miss anything. I started to hear imaginary rings and feeling fictitious buzzes.
When it was all said and done our team came up a bit short of our goal. This means we missed out on a lucrative bonus and many more will miss out on a company trip. I was pretty bummed out and kept ruminating on the situation. What did I miss? How could I have done better? Could I have worked harder? What if I would have called so and so? On and on it went. Don’t get me wrong, self-reflection is a valuable skill but self-bullying (that I lean towards) is unhelpful and non-productive
To take my mind off work I went home over the holidays. While home, I was catching up with a buddy who is a police officer. We were shooting the shit as we always do. He asked me how work was and I told him it was stressful with the organization changes recently. Even worse we missed our number as a team. He couldn’t really relate given his line of work but he was empathetic. I asked him how his day was and he told me it was an eerie day. I asked him to elaborate on why it was an “eerie day.” I’m paraphrasing but essentially his response was “well, we had a call this morning and had to cut down a dead 14-year-old girl that hung herself. It’s been pretty hard to get the image out of my head.”
Talk about snapping me back into reality. Here I am throwing myself a pity party because of some challenges and missed bonuses. But at the end of my workday, no one died. I don’t have to go talk to the distraught mother who just suffered the worst thing imaginable. I don’t deal with such heartbreaking tragedies. My “tragedies” are angry customers, passive-aggressive emails, demanding bosses, or maybe the worst of them all, losing a sale. Most of the time, these people aren’t even angry it’s misguided frustration stemming from some miscommunication. My buddy’s story is a constant reminder to not get too wrapped up in the little things. Life can be fragile and we aren’t here forever so don’t sweat the small stuff. As for my buddy, unfortunately, he has to handle situations like this all the time. God bless him and the others who are willing to do it because I’m certainly not built that way.