It’s likely some form of irony in my case that the Just Jot it January prompt for today is ‘contemplation’ – considering the fact that I have had the kind of workday in the course of which little to no contemplation takes place.
I had maybe one train of thought all afternoon which was contemplative. It was something along the lines of… why do I feel the need to be shown appreciation by my supervisors? Isn’t it enough for me to know that I am doing an excellent job? What is it which makes me crave a pat on the back, acknowledgement of my good work?
The reason I had this train of thought is because I noticed I was feeling a bit disgruntled.
Disgruntlement is essentially an emotional response. I see a therapist a couple times a month, and in the last session, he turned me on to some Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. The main idea he laid on me was that sometimes we operate in what has been termed ’emotion mind’ – sometimes in ‘reasonable mind’ (which is a more objective viewpoint concerned with the facts and only the facts) – and that a method in DBT is to balance the two into a frame of mind called ‘wise mind’. My homework, he said, was simply to try to recognize when I was in emotion mind. Just be mindful of it, you know.
So today at work, feeling disgruntled, I twigged to the fact that this was what he meant.
According to the worksheet my therapist set me up with, people in emotion mind are liable to “act impulsively with little regard for consequences.” Like, I could have gone up to any one or more of the four (four!) supervisors who were… well… supervising me today, and said, “Hey – how come none of you is giving your man Dan here any kudos for how well he’s handling the way-stressed-out day we’re all having here with the pipe spewing water all down the inside of the wall and soaking the carpet in the hallways and the water to the whole hotel having to be shut off for hours, people coming up and calling in droves to complain to me that they are wading knee-deep in their rooms and can’t flush the toilet or take a shower even though they paid top dollar for this place, and me having to sort them out and get them new rooms and apologize profusely even though I didn’t break the pipe and I don’t own the hotel and I’m making less money than anyone else in the room, hmmm?” That would have been impulsive.
So recognizing I was in emotion mind to some extent, I swung the other way, becoming more detached and rational, and found myself in reasonable mind, in which (says the worksheet) people “approach a situation intellectually.” So there I was contemplating, as I said earlier, what neediness of my own made me cry out for recognition of my really very hard and proficient work on the whole scenario. I am an excellent apologizer. If I were a soldier, I could apologize the enemy to death. And that’s what I was up to today at work, just slaying them with my sincere dismay at their discomfort and discombobulation. I can pull this off, because I actually do care. I empathize. If I were paying through the nose for accommodations, and they proved to be sub-par, I would be fairly incensed. So people in distress can feel that I genuinely feel for them.
At any rate, after swinging from emotional mind over into reasonable mind for a few minutes of contemplation, I believe that I did manage to balance the two well enough to find myself in ‘wise mind’ for a while. I still felt somewhat underappreciated, but I also saw that the supervisors were likewise rising well to the challenges of the day, and that nobody was patting them on the back either. So that’s what I did. I dealt out some compliments.
“You’re level-headed under pressure,” I told my main manager.
“You’re a magic man,” I told her boss, the corporate cat visiting for the day.
“You didn’t sign up for this crap,” I said to my other manager, sympathetically.
I did not find the right moment or words to pay a compliment to my fourth supervisor, the vice president of food and beverage, but hey – three out of four ain’t bad.
Now that I’m kicking back at home with a glass of wine, contemplating the day, I still don’t have an answer as to why I felt a sting today at the lack of outspoken appreciation of my efforts. Seems like knowing oneself that one is doing a fine job should be enough.