Has it ever happened with you before that you are surrounded by friends, have many friends who are always there to listen to you useless banter and yet, you are unable to pour your heart out? Not because it is secret. And not because they aren’t interested in listening to you. But because they probably will never understand you even if they try to.
There are things that I’d like to spill out to my friends in a dash of impulsive emotion – about my work load, about a job that I dislike and so many other small issues in life. And I have done so, too, blurted out without thinking just because he/she is a friend and is expected to hear me out.
Sometime back, I came across this pic:
And realized what I had been unknowingly doing. I never wanted to hurt my healthier friends (which basically means everyone because I am slim and everyone else weighs more than me) when I kept pouring out my weight gain miseries to them. Because, for them, I am slim. I am thin. Only I know that I am not exactly slim. And whatever I may be, I am supposed to exercise regularly. But I would cry in front of them that some of my older clothes don’t fit me, etc.
I know what they would have felt. Rather, I can imagine what response would have gone through their minds. I only shared my fears with them because they are my best friends. Now I am conscious of this fact all the time and not talk about my invisible excess fat.
Being in a Human Resources field doesn’t help my stance much either. It does put me in a difficult spot several times. Being in HR, I know the inside story. Mostly. I know how and why things happen. For me, all employees are not people with hearts. They are code numbers and activities. I recently completed our Annual Increment exercise. For me, it was a pain finalizing increments for 800 people and getting their letters made and distributed. Later, when queries and concerns came up, when comparison started and people wanted to know why they had got less reward or why they had not been promoted, I did not feel any concern for anyone even then. It was a big, tedious activity I had completed with as much accuracy that I thought was correct and new issues / cases were not welcome. I did not realize that I had everyone’s career in my hands. One miss or one mistake could cause someone a loss of a year, loss of a promotion, loss of money. I wouldn’t cause anyone any loss myself. But I do not feelanyone’s loss, either. It is work. In large volumes of (manual) work, misses happen. And they can always be corrected. This is what I think.
Many employees come whining to me expressing their unhappiness and I just find them a pain. Horrifyingly true. I feel nothing. No concern. No botheration. I work for an organization. They work for the same organization. My money isn’t involved. I gain or lose nothing by their loss or gain. I have just been doing my work. So when my friends were upset about their reward not meeting their expectations, I still manage to feel bad for them. Because, I would feel for them in any case. But I realized that I must refrain from expressing my disgust towards other employees voicing their unhappiness. How much ever I want to, I should not.
We are supposed to be empathetic towards everyone; wear others’ shoes and see things before acting / assuming. But is it possible all the time? Won’t that make us friendless? And what do you do if you become friendless?