Friday, February 03, 2023 | Rajab 11, 1444 H
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You are not a tree

Few days ago I was chatting with a healthcare worker who moved to work in a nearby country where she was made a head of a unit and given more responsibility and appreciation.

The move made her realize how she spent over twenty years doing a job with little recognition. She was managed by someone less qualified and less ambitious than her so her plans of improving were sabotaged by her manager.

“I was starting to lose my passion, everyday was a struggle until one day I received an invitation from a head of a unit who attended a workshop I was present at, he asked for my CV and after a short interview I was offered my dream job, I was reluctant at first but after thinking about it I decided to take the offer and now am leading a big team and doing wonderful work.”

For most people, a job is more than a source of income, it’s one of the things that gives meaning to life which makes them more motivated to work and excel in what they do. Most of us develop emotional connection to the job we do as it provides us with a sense of pride and a feeling of fulfilment that we are achieving our purpose.

In some professions, the person becomes identified with the job as it comes with a title that people call him or her with, be it a doctor, a lawyer or a policeman.

But when the job becomes a source of stress and unhappiness like when we feel unappreciated or bullied we experience a distinct lack of connection to our work. This makes us lack energy and motivation. We start doubting our abilities to do the job and have negative thoughts and feelings about our future. We may feel lonely and isolated from our work colleagues and eventually we get to the point of wanting to give up.

Those of us who are able to move into another more fulfilling job would do so but some decide to stay, maybe because they convinced themselves that they will not find a better working environment or that “not everyone gets appreciated at work anyway” so they should get on with it.

In psychology, there is a phenomenon called the battered wife syndrome which originally referred to women who are abused by their husbands yet they try to convince themselves that it’s a normal thing and it’s pointless to leave because nobody would love them anyway.

Some would even blame themselves and find excuses to justify the abuse or even exaggerate the little kindness the abusive husband may have shown. This phenomenon can also be experienced by workers who are subjected to unfair treatment as they get to the point of hopelessness and helplessness. They do their job day in and day out but without passion or motivation. The salary becomes the only thing that makes them go to work.

This reminded me of the statement “if you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.” But the question is, how many of us are prepared to adopt this attitude? To free themselves and venture into a new horizon?

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