How do you deal with needing to live an insincere life when doing so cuts to the bone? (in work and in school)
posted by zeek321 to Human Relations (15 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
At my previous job, I had to smile, be nice, be politically correct, be agreeable, talk about the work I was doing, talk about why I was doing it, talk about why it mattered, talk about what its purpose was... and I mostly didn't feel that way or agree with what I was saying. It's the same with my current graduate program.
At work and at school, I feel like I'm in enemy territory. I'm almost completely disenfranchised. And it hurts terribly to live a lie.
Semi-concrete examples: In overly broad strokes, I genuinely believed the work I was doing was ill-advised, not in the company's or the customer's best interests. I genuinely believe that the direction my graduate school research was shepherded into is arbitrary and of little consequence.
Why am I doing this to myself? I need health insurance, and I need to eat. I did my best to humbly and effectively articulate my perspective, and I believe I succeeded in that I was not branded as being insubordinate or having a bad attitude--over a period of weeks, I was simply overruled by boss, graduate school advisor, graduate school committee, etc.
But my mind wasn't changed. Surely these people all have more experience than me, but, nonetheless, I am typically left, not just agnostic (wait and see), but in active disagreement about the best way to proceed. (These are less nuts-and-bolts issues but more about values and priorities.)
In the long term, of course, I will keep working to be more articulate and persuasive, and I will continue to do my best to be humble and keep an open mind. (People get me to change my mind all the time, in all sorts of little, medium, and sometimes even big ways. It just rarely happens where I receive a paycheck, for reasons that are not yet clear.) And I will keep looking for people and organizations that share my values and see things the way that I do.
My questions: But how do I (how do you) deal with this in the short term? Smiling, saying the right things, going along agreeably, digging the holes and filling them in again?
What are your personal thoughts, book/author recommendations (classical and contemporary), anything? How did you or do you live your life when you were strategically, ethically, or philosophically opposed to what you were participating in? When, for whatever reason, you haven't (yet) been able to surround yourself with people and goals that are congruent with self and personal agency?
It literally hurts, and when I mouth the right words and smile, I feel like I'm betraying myself and hurting that still small voice inside me when I should be nurturing it.
(I have a great therapist who I'm picking all this apart with. I'm pretty content in hobbies, love, friendship, and family. I feel understood by the people I care about. People, even in the workplace, don't seem to think I always need to be right or anything like that. People, including coworkers, typically seem to like me and like being around me.)
Bonus question: I know the above is vague and this sort of thing is very personal, but how did you get from the above to where you are now? What would you do if you were me? I only have about four months of savings, and, unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I'm living slightly above my means instead of well below my means.