Blame, Expectations, Resentment and Forgiveness

Recently, I told you I was “scolded” by someone I depend on.  I was frustrated because I was scolded for doing it their way.  If doing it their way isn’t good enough, what is?  This was only half the reason I was livid.  The other was because I was lumped in with another person who may be doing his best but, in my opinion, his best truly sucks.

Since I was unable to use the first two words that came to mind, you probably figured out this person I depend on is my boss.  The other person is a co-worker.  I watch my co-worker surf the internet from the moment he gets to work until the moment he leaves, every day.  I see him perform the least amount of work possible that he can get away with doing.

My boss upgraded my co-worker’s computer a few weeks ago.  My co-worker asked my boss if he could get access to his old “work files” he had on the old computer.  Instantly, I knew these were files completely unrelated to work.  My boss agreed to transfer the “work files” to a location where the co-worker could access the files.

In Al-Anon we have a saying to mind our own business.  But I guess you could say I had an Al-Anonic relapse because I couldn’t help myself.  I felt I needed prove (to myself) this co-worker was a real slacker.  And I found it.  All 1,192 non-work related files downloaded from the internet during work hours.  And my boss didn’t say a word.

Until, that is, he lumped me in with this person and indicated he was un-happy with our work.

When I first saw the “you’re doing a bad job” email I thought I was being blind copied so my boss knew he was addressing the problem.  But as I kept reading we were being equally blamed.

Last weekend, I watched this YouTube video and realized I too am a blamer.  I made a new and huge amount of effort to be grateful for what little work my co-worker was doing and am working like crazy to stop blaming him (in my mind) for anything and everything that went wrong.

If you were to look on my work computer you wouldn’t see FaceBook, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, ESPN, MLB, NFL, fantasy football and 1,192 music downloads.

Comparison is the thief of happiness, but if you were to compare the responses my co-worker sends to our clients (which contain words like “yep” and “nope” and “huh”) and the responses I send you would see a night and day difference in the amount of effort put into making sure our clients are happy.

My conclusion… blaming me gave my boss a semblance of control.  It allowed him to discharge his own discomfort and pain.  It meant he was not accountable, in his mind, for the problem.

The part I have left out of this story is that my boss and my co-worker are childhood friends.  My boss allows him to get away with downloading 1,192 music files and knows he is surfing the internet all day and yet allows this behavior to continue.  By blaming me for his friend’s lack of effort he did not have to be accountable for his own actions.  At that exact moment, it was too difficult for my boss to admit to himself he hired his childhood friend who was taking advantage of his generosity and kindness.  And treating our clients so poorly more than one client filed a complaint.

In an effort to keep the focus on myself; what I do and do not have control over I choose not to have expectations that my boss will apologize for his behavior because he is obviously not in that space, at this moment.  I also choose not to have expectations that my co-worker will change.  He may change.  I hope he changes.  But I will not expect that of him.

With that said, I need to work on resentment.  I resent that my co-worker downloaded 1,192 music files on company time, onto his company computer and while I was making the effort to do things the way my boss asked me to do them.  And I resent my boss knowing about it and enabling him by transferring those 1,192 music files so he could continue to have access.

I also choose not to blame myself.  And that is huge.  By not blaming myself … I am not a doormat.

If you are thinking to yourself, why don’t you look for a new job? It is because I truly like my job. And with all this said, I like all my co-workers and my boss. There will always be bad days no matter where you work, and I am grateful there are more good days than bad. We all have character assets and character defects. Even slackers have some redeeming qualities. No single person is either all good or all bad. I choose to forgive. Maybe they deserve forgiveness and maybe they don’t, but one thing is for certain. I choose to forgive because I deserve it.

Carrying around all that blame and anger isn’t going to improve my day or bring me to my happy place.  I’d rather sit with my feet up, relaxing in a hammock under the warm sun with a cool breeze.

A girl can dream, can’t she?


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