1. Tim

    I’m not sure whether this is within your challenge or not. You be the judge.

    Last night I realised something about my working life, in my mainstream career, if you can call a succession of very unpleasant jobs for unpleasant employers a career.

    I have been a computer programmer, computer salesman and computer marketing specialist. I ran a telesales company. Almost all my employers were US corporations with the employment morals of a despot. And in none of these roles were any of us employed to do anything of great value to the world.

    We killed off classes of job. How many secretaries – “Take a letter, Miss Smith” – do you know in 2015 compared with the population in, say, 1965. How many typing pools do you see?

    We automated processes such as mail and caused email. I was in the forefront of marketing that in 1982, and this is killing out postal services and attacking another class of job. We assist supermarkets, and the milkmen were put out of business, many f who had bought milk delivery franchises, and lost real, personal money as well as their livelihoods. We automated stock and other trading, causing financial crashes to run away, rather than being stopped by human traders. We created the instant communications that facilitate the clandestine operations of unpleasant people who hurt others in the name of their allegedly just cause. Some of those are governments, others seek to overthrow governments

    I noticed this last night, finally, though had been suspected I had worked in a tawdry ‘industry’ for some time. It was one of those midnight thoughts where clarity comes suddenly. Mostly they evaporate, but this clarity remained with me when I awoke.

    Someone suggested to me that a working life has merit because one lives, and supports one’s self, perhaps others. And I see that, yet despise the industry that gave me sufficient work and reward, albeit with a dozen redundancies, to retire early.

    I relate this to your challenge by learning in the few short hours since the idea was fully formed, even acknowledging that some was while I was asleep, that the IT world has also allowed me to choose to and succeed in doing good for others. It is the realisation and understanding of this that, I think, meets your challenge.

    I don’t propose to go into whatever good it is that I do. It is important only that it is acknowledged by those for whom the good is done. It is not a public thing. But I can say that, for all the deficiencies of that working life, and there have been a great many, including being employed to lie about product capabilities, I can see how I have used it for good, certainly since 1998, and how I can continue to do so.

    So I have started to embed that realisation into my life, and see every reason to continue to do so. And I think that may meet the spirit of your challenge.

    • Thank you for this wonderful insight, Tim.

      I believe this more than meets the ethos of the challenge! Self acceptance/realisation/acknowledgement…all great attributes to our sense of value, when we may otherwise doubt what we achieve, who we truly are.

      Forgiveness, from your comment is also wonderfully evident, so no more ‘drinking that poison!’

      Extrapolating the good from our past and choosing to focus on our contributions that serve ourselves and others, with gratitude, is so rewarding.

      You are a credit, Tim. You always were.

      • Tim

        Thank you for the compliment, which I accept with pleasure, while unsure that I deserve it.

        The thing I wish is something we will not see. Of course business must return a profit to its shareholders, and, again of course, we each wish to earn in our working lives that which meets our needs and desires. But, taking those truths, could we not achieve those things i a better way, and one that does not involve trampling on others, and being compelled to lie as part of our business dealings for fear of being fired?

        I can forgive myself for that. I did what I had to do in order to look after my family. And yet that line has been used to justify awful atrocities, too.

        And yet I cannot campaign for ethical business dealings. Ethics and profitability in the same sentence are outside the mindset of so many leaders of industry.

        So I will continue to do what I can, one item at a time, and without becoming stressed over it.

  2. Firstly, thanks for this valuable insight of how to cope over this period. As it happens every year, you’d think we would get better at it, learn from the mistakes and what actually made it a happy Christmas……
    Something that impacts on me each year is the feeling of loss having lost family members and close friends. It matters not whether it was recently or many years ago, their lack of presence is felt. Those in this situation may be angry, moody, seemingly crying for ‘no reason at all’ as they try to contain feelings of loss so I think we need to be mindful of others utter dread of Christmas because the chair at lunch that for many years was filled with a loved one is now empty and those who find Christmas Day a day a dreadful time and one that they are glad to be over.
    Looking through the points, I guess there’s an overlap as to where this challenge for me and others fits – points 1,6, 7 & 8 I think. What do you think Bob?

    • Chrissie, thank you so much for sharing some of your Christmas story.
      (I’m uncertain how those other specific points relate to you, if I’m honest)

      I think your comment about those trying “to contain” emotions rings a bell for me. I believe recognising our emotions as they arise to be a fundamental part of growing our emotional intelligence, as long as we name them, acknowledge them and do something with them!
      This is far from easy when we try to make these part of a conscious effort! We are so used to unconsciously becoming aware when we ‘feel’ less than. By that I mean we of course ‘know’ we feel sad, for instance, but we often remain unskilled in finding acceptance for what can be changed, and for what cannot, such as in the poignant circumstances you describe, Chrissie.

      Does that make any sense?

    • tim

      What might happen, Chrissie, were you to say, simply and clearly during a family Christmas gathering, “I miss Uncle Fred at our Christmas table, and at other times, too, but Christmas is especially the time I miss him.”

      Would what you think might happen be a useful thing, or a negative thing?

      How might you react to either?

      I don’t think an answer is needed, except in your own head. It would be lovely just to know you have thought about the questions, even if you choose not to share an outcome. Even that is voluntary, of course. If you choose to take this through to doing it, well, I think it should go well, probably, despite my knowing nothing about you and your family. But my reason for asking you the questions is not to suggest it be done, but to suggest you consider what might happen, just in case ou decide to do it.

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