One of the constants of the end of the year, especially during the holiday season, is the expectation that comes with all the possibilities for a life change or reward. Society sells the holiday season as a magical time in which wishes and miracles are granted in a Frank Capra-esque ending because everyone is looking out for everyone else. While propagating an image of harmony is helpful in bringing feelings of goodwill toward others, thereby bettering your own mood, seeking a wish fulfillment cure-all is likely to set you up with unhealthy expectations, only to be let down by even greater disappointment.
Since the election on November 8, the tension and conflicts that have been simmering (or outright roiling) across the country have not abated. There are two distinct sides, but it is important to realize that each of those sides has more offshoots and subheadings than a March Madness bracket.
Earlier this year, Neal Gabler wrote a watershed article published in The Atlantic, entitled “The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans.” The author and screenwriter described the moment in which he read a poll conducted by The Federal Reserve that revealed that a staggering number of Americans—46%—did not have the financial savings to cover an emergency of $400 or more, and Gabler realized that he was one of those people.
What do you do when you have a boss who is a bully? What about a boss or supervisor who is such a bad organizer that their chaos and mismanagement affects your ability to do your job well, but if you were to address this with them, you risk reprisal or retribution? Maybe it’s not a supervisor but a toxic coworker. These can range from bullies to complainers, as well as those who are in constant competition with their coworkers. You find yourself measuring all your words when speaking to these people or going out of your way to avoid them altogether.
“You’re doing it wrong.”
“You could be doing it better.”
“I see room for improvement.”
“So I guess we should probably go ahead and have a little talk.”
“I’m also going to need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too.”
Workplace feedback from managers can be an anxiety-inducing prospect, especially when, from some managers, even an unqualified Good job can be patronizing or dismissive. Pep talks laced with comments such as “You’re not living up to your potential” can also elicit a sense of dread from employees when their managers stop by their desk or send an email.
Does this sound familiar?
On Facebook or another chosen social media site, you see a friend’s post that has a link to The National Review with the title “FBI Rewrites Federal Law to Let Hillary off the Hook,” while a few scrolls later, another post from a different friend shares the article from the New York Times with the headline “House Benghazi Report Finds No New Evidence of Wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton.” You like and respect both friends and find yourself wondering which of them could possibly be correct. Or perhaps your reaction is something along the lines of immediately agreeing with one friend while blocking all posts from the other.