Embrace the Suck

Monday, February 25, 2013

Writing at Smaggle, Carly Jacobs offers a valuable insight that almost any young person in a difficult situation can use. (Come to think of it, her blog post could also serve as a gentle reminder to a reader of almost any age.) The title of the post encapsulates the lesson in a way that the kind of person who could use the advice would appreciate: "Why Hating Your Shitty Job Only Makes It Worse."

She concludes an instructive anecdote about an encounter with an obviously unhappy sales assistant as follows:

We shook our heads and went off down the aisles in search of an alternative. About ten minutes later the sales assistant came up and said that he'd decided to check for Plasti-Dip in the computer. It turns out that most of their stores stock it but their store has to order it in. We thanked him, placed an order and we were all smiling by the time we left. I detest bad service. I really do, however I also know that not many people want to spend their Saturday stuck inside an auto store selling spray paint and car parts. It was obvious from the moment we walked in that there were a thousand other things that guy wanted to be doing and he wanted us to know that. After he removed his head from his own arse and started doing his job, he stood a little straighter, his face relaxed and I could literally see him hating life less. [bold in original]
Offhand, I see two reasons for this perceptible change in attitude: First, when the sales assistant began focusing on his work, he stopped thinking (if only for a small part of his "lost" day) about those "thousand other things" he'd rather be doing. That is, the sales assistant stopped regretting being where he was. Second. his immediate reward for focusing on his work was an increased feeling of efficacy. In addition to these points, Jacobs brings up other, less apparent reasons for "embracing the suck" and presents the whole in a way that would engage such a person. Furthermore, by discussing someone else, she does so in a non-threatening way.

I admire both the insight and the writing. Read the whole thing.

-- CAV

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