Dealing with the public

Problem: This may not seem like a problem to anyone, but I’m very good at hiding my very angry self. I have a job that requires me to be nice to people up front. It is a public job so I see a lot of people on a daily basis. I find that at the end of the day I am fuming. I can’t believe the way people behave.

I am required to be kind to people and I stick to the rules, but I am a woman in a world full of people who do not play by the same rules. I really feel like saying what I think at times, but it is just not called for. I find the men are often straightforward and not complaining as the women seem to be. The problem is that I know most everyone and it makes me feel resentful of them because we see each other at every social function in this small town.

I need this job, but it is eating at me.

It seems like when you work for the public you get the experience of working with all kinds of people. This may sound trite, but you are getting the experience of being with the public. It can be great, it can be trying but it is informative. When you learn to work with all kinds of people it is a gift.

Not taking your work home with you is a key to maintaining your wellbeing. We do not have to take people personally, and it is important not to.

The four agreements book would be a good way to address this issue.

1. Be impeccable with your word.

2. Do not take things personally.

3. In essence do not mind read.

4. Do the best you can.

It seems to me at least that the second agreement of not taking anything personally is often the hardest. You might try and understand that people do what they do because of them not because of you. In other words if they have learned enough not to do questionable behavior they quit. People are doing what they do because that is what works for them at the time. People can be trying, they can be beautiful, loving and kind. They can also do just about everything in between. It is how they affect us that determines who we are. Try and remember that our reaction to others is about us.

There is a whole list of Mother Theresa’s encouragements. The bottom line is that we are called to love “them” anyway.

Be kind anyway, and if you cannot do that because that is who you are, quit the job. Maybe the job is a lesson for the time being, make the best of it.

Remember our reaction is a reminder of how much we have grown as people. We are not our behavior, we are all learning. Think about this decide where you go from here.

To submit problems, contact Juanita Sanchez, psychotherapist, by email at [email protected] or through High Plains Journal.