Yesterday, I had to have a difficult conversation with someone. I am leaving my current job and I have about a month left. The CFO asked me if I was willing to extend and I apologized to say that I wouldn’t. I gave him 3 months’ notice which I would say is a fair amount of time to get their work in order and for me to wrap up.
As soon as I said, he had such a bad reaction. The first thing he immediately said was that you will struggle a lot. It was such a pathetic, knee-jerk reaction. I know he didn’t get his way and I know that in fact, he will struggle because he hasn’t hired to replace me and he hasn’t even bothered to let me train anyone. I was disappointed. People generally wish you well, despite what they are really feeling. But I suppose not everyone is alike and his reaction just helped me reaffirm my decision to not extend my stay.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
~ William Shakespeare – Hamlet
It took me a long time to realize that to each person their problems, no matter how small, seems really big. I’ve had a challenging life. Sure, things could be worse but life hasn’t exactly been easy. So from quite a young age I’ve learned how to cope. I’ve learned how to put on “that” face so the world never knew what I was going through. I do share my concerns and anger with my close friends but hardly every my sadness. So for me, when people would talk about a problem that seemed so trivial. I’d always say (or sometimes think to myself)… Suck it up!
I was never coddled and tough love was the theme in my life. But as I grow more mature (don’t want to say older!), I realize that tough love may not always be the answer. Especially when it comes to people confiding in me about their problems. People don’t always want advice and they definitely don’t want to be belittled. In fact, I’ve come to believe, it is and has been so wrong of me to be dismissive of people’s problems, just because in my frame of mind they didn’t quite meet my standards. Problems are problems… whether big or small. What might seem to me a non-issue, might be a big deal for someone else.
So I’ve learned over the years to empathize and even if I don’t readily understand, I try to think how I may feel if someone thought I was being silly about my problems. I’m glad I realized this.