A wee while ago, Kasey wrote a blog. I think a bunch of people filed it under “stuff that is not relevant to me”, because Kasey works a very specialist job, with very specialist risks and issues. We’re not all Tactical Team Leaders or SWAT Training Coordinators, after all. Most of us only SWAT flies.
Well, those people were wrong. This is not only relevant, but even critical stuff, applicable to virtually everybody, so I’m gonna bang on the same drum for a bit in the hope that more people will take notice.
The moral of Kasey’s blog (you have read it by now, right? Hmm) is:
It’s easy to get LOST in that head space…unless you have tethers to the world.
That applies to most, if not all of us. The only thing that changes is the head space.
I work directly with customers. Most of my interactions are about exchanges of services for money; they are both scripted and materialistic. There is very little room for creating personal connections, and, when there is, those personal connections cannot be allowed to affect the basic commercialism of the exchange. We cannot afford to run at a loss, regardless of how much we like a customer.
There are also frequent problems with problematic interactions; interactions in which customers try and get more than their fair dues. Although people’s tactics vary, and everyone clearly thinks that they’re being super-intelligent and original, those interactions are also heavily scripted. There is actually only a handful of ways in which people try to screw you, and we’ve seen a bunch of them a bunch of times. It’s got to the point that now we can often predict how certain customers are going to behave in the future because we recognise their “type”. One of the things we have to learn is how willing customers are to try and exploit personal connections that are not in fact there in order to get what they want and don’t deserve. These connections are not only fake, but strictly one-sided: because we’re “friends”, they are entitled to something extra, while we’re not even entitled to the basic we’ve already agreed on.
When I spend too much time working, or have to deal with a bunch of bad customers in a row, I can end up thinking that humanity is wall-to-wall assholes. I can end up approaching every interaction with a “how is this one gonna try and screw me?” filter. My frame of mind is not only far from joyful, but can get in the way of having normal, personal, enjoyable human interactions. If I don’t watch out, I can end up confirming my prejudice. I can end up summoning my own demons. And I can’t get away from what I hate if I’m constantly creating it in the world around me.
So what? Well, pretty much everyone has a strong belief, or a bugbear. Something they just can’t stand. Something they are willing to fight against, whether it’s out in the real world or as armchair warriors. And it’s easy, particularly as armchair warriors, to spend a preponderance of our time fighting the good fight. It doesn’t matter what our fight is: all that matters is how much time and effort we dedicate to it, and whether we’re balancing all that with time spent enjoying the thing we’re fighting for.
People who spend too much time fighting, and not enough time recharging/balancing/ enjoying the fruits of their fight, can burn out. Too much going out, and not enough coming in. All work and no play makes Jack go cray-cray. Worse than that, they can end up fighting all the time, on automatic pilot. They can end up fixating so much on certain issues that they seem them everywhere, all the time. And when they are not there, they can summon them there with their own behaviour and attitudes. If you treat the people around you like your enemies, eventually they will become your enemies, sure enough.
As Kasey said:
Tethers are important. Because they are important you need to protect them. Not only from the big scary world, but from you.
If you are reading this and you know, or have now come to realize that you are someone else’s tether please be kind to them.
They are focused, but that focus can give them tunnel vision. Please give them gentle nudges and reminders. Help them manage their time so they can protect their lives and enjoy a life worth protecting.