Wednesday 12 December 2018

Suzanne Power: The best things come to those who wait

The blame game was invented in early civilisations to justify things like throwing Christians to lions and beheading people. It does the same today as it did then, causing heads to roll unnecessarily.

I am a PhD in "It's your fault". If the seven deadly sins need anyone for the role of Pride I can step in. I know all the lines. I have never been able to keep my mouth shut in unjust situations.

It has cost me jobs and several opportunities for advancement. A friend told me how much she admired this streak. I told her not to. Put two people in a room and give them a salary and you have politics at play. The real winners, always, are the diplomats who bide their time. My friend waited. Her very incompetent boss dug his own grave.

Just like the Shawshank Redemption's tunnel, it took him seven years and a spoon, but he showed his incompetence to such an extent he was exited. She got his job and his messes to clear up: removing incompetent people he appointed, revoking contracts that were overpaid and providing no real rewards, installing new workers and practices for the benefit of her organisation and its huge staff, has brought blame raining down on her.

The ones who had it good for so long blame her for their own decision to arse-scratch during the good years. They say she is a lackey of the MD. They say she has no qualifications for the role she has in human resources. She has to again put up and shut up and accept the smear campaign and know she is doing something that will hurt for a period and then it will be over.

I was brought into an organisation some years ago to do that kind of job. Oust people. Employ new people. I thought it was horrible and I refused. They brought a shark in over my head and I got out as the first blood was drawn. Looking back, I know my boss then just saw I was not right for the shark job and had a better role for me that used my skills, my writing skills, my interviewing skills; he just couldn't let me know it overtly. It was up to me to play the waiting game.

I was always useless at waiting. I saw what had happened as injustice. I still can't stand injustice. But I've learned to put up with it and play the long game, which has more advantages and goes on way after the blame games have left the Colosseum.

When our relationship was rocky a few years back, my husband got out a couple of Tupperware boxes and wrote two labels, sticking them on the top. One was 'Blame'; the other was 'Excuses'. I agreed every time I blamed him to write something and put it in the box. He agreed every time he made up an excuse as to why something was not done, to write it up and put it in the other box.

Within a couple of weeks I realised I was out of order. He was afraid I would blame him for new initiatives going wrong, so he stopped trying them. He realised every time he avoided doing something it made me anxious. We switched to the long game. And we're winning.

The next time you're in a situation you see as unfair, stand back from it. See where it's taking you and how you got there. If you're blaming someone because they're doing their job or living their life, it's time to get a new mirror before the old one cracks.

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