Stick to your guns

Joan Marques - MBA, Doctoral Student
Burbank, California

Every now and then we get confronted with a dilemma that requires us to turn inside and base our decision upon what we really want. That is, if we want to maintain our self-esteem and peace of mind, of course. Too many people just make a decision in the workplace--or outside of it--based on what they think is the wisest thing to do in order to survive: they therefore agree with changes that make their lives miserable, because they are too scared of insecurity to express their real opinions. How wrong toward the self!

As a new year's present, I was presented a similar predicament in my workplace: I was asked to temporarily take over a colleague's job, at least partly, which would require me to give up my position as a telecommuter and go into work daily. Now, if there's anything I respect in myself, it's the freedom I created to work in my own time, in my own environment, and at my own pace. I found that this is the best way for me to present a higher output than expected! Being inside the office everyday would soon become a major dread to me, not even to mention having to wrestle the ruthless traffic daily on my way to and from work.

So I made my decision: although it would possibly mean that I'd be without a job by the end of the day, I would not go for it. I would express my will to help out in every way, as long as it would be possible to continue performing from my home base.

It was this decisiveness; this conviction within me: this sticking to my guns no matter what the outcome would be, that resulted in a workable solution. In a meeting where mutual respect was predominant, I was allowed to do the additional work from home.

This experience taught me an important lesson: too many of us give up too much of us in order to maintain security. I can't say that I wasn't scared of giving up my job, but I knew that I would dread it every single day if I had admitted to the initially expressed desire. And the ultimate loser would be no one else but me! So, I weighed things out, and made a decision. And although it worked out well this time, I realize that it may not the next. Oh well, no one promised a flawless and worry-free journey. I'll deal with outcomes as they come. But I will not give up my soul in order to maintain something as shallow as financial security.

So, what did I learn from this experience in general?

1. Listen calmly to every change suggested to you.
2. Take your time to consider the pro's and cons
3. Turn inside and find out what you can afford to give up, and what you cannot because it is sacred to you.
4. Formulate your decisions based on that.
5. Stick to your guns.
6. Don't ever get angry with yourself if the outcome is less favorable. You did what you had to do.

I can't say that this works in every single case. I understand the situation where people have little children at home, depending on their income for a piece of bread on the table everyday. I understand that sometimes you have to make sacrifices in order to survive. But I don't understand the process of murdering your soul for the survival of your body. Consider that.