11-05-2006, 01:58 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Hey, zfraile --
I can totally relate. I don't mind so much when I screw up -- if you do something stupid, you deserve to lose out. But what kind of universe is it where you do everything exactly right, and get screwed over in return?
A couple of coping strategies:
- Laugh at other's smallness In the words of MSN Money: "Petty? Yes. Effective? Yes." In that very first moment, when shame and rage and a vast sense of the unfairness of the universe seem to overwhelm you, take a moment to be petty. Remind yourself that however unfair it may seem right now, in the end he's just going to screw himself over. Short-term solutions like embezzlement and nepotism worked in a world where you could run to the next town and you were probably going to die before anyone caught up to you. In this ultra-connected flat world with 100-year lifespans, it's not an effective strategy anymore. You have chosen the wise course of honor and integrity, and over the long term, that can't help but be rewarded.
- Remind yourself who YOU are Take a moment to reflect. If you'd known how things were going to turn out, would you have made a different decision? Would you have slept with the boss/boss's wife, if you'd known it would get you promoted? Or are you certain you made the right decision, and proud that you did? It's easy to make good decisions in hindsight, but hard to make them on the spot, with emotions running every direction. You had the strength to make good decisions when they mattered -- be proud of it. I've found that it helps a lot when I say, out loud, to someone else, "I choose not to live in that world. Whatever decisions others may make, I choose to live in a world where people are treated with honor and respect." It's not the world screwing you over anymore -- it's you making a decision. It's a hard decision, and one that has brought you pain right now, but it's probably not a decision you'd change, even if you could.
- Feel compassion for the other person This is the hardest, but brings the most peace on the occasional times I manage it. Look at things from his perspective. What must his life be like? $700K income, but his family life can't be great. Top position at his company, but he can't have any friends. What must his life have been like up 'til now to make him this way? What does his future hold? Go back to all the things you said in the petty step, but really think about them. You'll find that you really are in a better situation than he is, and he really does warrant your pity, love and compassion. Odds are that there's nothing you can do to help him, unless he coincidentaly decides to improve his life at the exact moment you next meet him -- but let that be his choice, and not yours. You will be the kind of person who offers him help and courtesy.
Or you can always look at those less fortunate than you are. $85k/yr would more than triple my income.