One week ago, I was about to start my first week of unemployment (since my last stint of unemployment which lasted about 3 months in the summer of 2010, when I moved to Nebraska). This was my first complete week off since my last unemployment, since I had only ever taken long weekends, and never took a full week off. For 2 years, I never had a full week off. I love taking vacations, and I left LFS with more than a week of paid vacation. I think that's sad.
I enjoyed my first week of free time. I got a lot of things done, stuff that I needed to get done. I spent some time reflecting on what I learned at LFS. Some of those things are:
1) People don't like to know the truth. Especially when they don't have the time or interest to put toward what you are talking about. For example, I talked so many times about how understaffed and overworked we were. People got tired of me saying it. Nobody liked hearing it. But it was truth every time I said it. And yet, being understaffed was a major reason I left, and probably many more people will leave in the future because of it. Many people don't want to hear the truth.
Many people don't want to hear that someone is overburdened and stressed and under pressure. They can't be bothered to help. They have their own concerns to worry about. Yes, indeed, I learned that many people don't like to know the truth.
2) People prefer you to be fake about unpleasant things. In the public of the work environment, you must be upbeat and friendly and bubbly if you want people to like you. You cannot be non-plussed, even-keeled or even mildly stressed out and show it on your face. Otherwise people get afraid of you and think you're a monster. It's best to always be in a constant state of fake happiness to everyone around you. Are you bubbling with anger and frustration? Are you more stressed out than you ever have been in your entire life? Too bad! You have to be fake, or you'll be accused of being a bitch or a witch or something worse.
3) People are hypocrites. People rudely tell you at inappropriate times that you don't handle stress well, then later they fly off the handle and make crazy accusations to you and your coworkers that shows they don't handle stress well.
4) People like to tell you to have boundaries, but they place large burdens on your time, raise expectations on you, and then get angry when you spend 50 hours a week trying to get everything done, but you can't. When it comes down to it, many people don't actually care if you have boundaries in your personal life, they just care that you get the job done. They like to bring up the boundaries discussion with you when you have accidentally expressed stress and some sort of negative feeling of pressure or frustration.
5) Some men actually do not like taking orders from women and will play silly games to get around interacting with their woman boss and not doing what they should do.
6) Some people are gossipers and backstabbers and manipulators. These people are often the kind that seem the most friendly at first. Never underestimate the human being's ability to lie and manipulate and gossip to save their own ass. These people are often the kind that don't care about helping you, and the kind that report you to your boss if you are short with them one time because they interrupted you on a day you had 5,239 tasks to accomplish. They like to look like the "concerned" one. Some people are not afraid to lie outright about you to others. Some people are not afraid to manipulate you right in front of others. Some people are not afraid to stab you in the back right in front of your face.
7) The people that work the hardest to help others are the ones that get trampled on the most. They don't have time to defend themselves or sit in meetings or play politics because they're too busy taking babies to the doctor and getting refugees food to eat and enrolling children in school. This is an unfair disadvantage and organizations that ignore the voices of those people will always be mediocre at best, and a gigantic force of life-destruction and failure at worst.
8) There are good people out there. I would like to find them and work with them.
These are some of the main lessons I learned at LFS. I learned that sometimes you have to just smile and take the abuse. I learned how to be trampled on. I learned that being honest doesn't always get you anywhere. I learned that a good work ethic and being efficient is often not enough to get you places. I learned that no matter how hard I worked at that place, I would not be appreciated or recognized.
And of course, this is all a reminder that life is not fair, and it never will be.