Let me start with a little bit about my worldview in regards to employment in America. This is actually my worldview for employment in any non-socialist, free market economy, but I’m most familiar with America.
Warning: these are highly conservative and potentially controversial views and may cause heartburn and apoplexy. Read at your own risk.
One, employers have the right to pay whatever salary they want. You heard me. I’m a working class gal who doesn’t resent my bosses for being bossy.
If I don’t like what I make, I renegotiate my pay or I change jobs. I believe it’s possible to make a better life for myself if I want it. It’s getter harder and harder to prove this, what with all the folks screaming that the government is responsible for everything from the price of gas to the food in your child’s lunchbox, but I still believe my life is my responsibility, your life is your responsibility and if we all took our responsibilities seriously, the world would be a better place in general.
Two, if I choose to remain in my job, it is my duty to do it well. Not just when I’m happy. Not just when I’m getting paid what I think I’m worth. All the time. Every day.
Have I always done this? No. Far from it, in fact.
I get discouraged/ fed up/ annoyed/ whatever just like anybody else. I have days when I’d rather rip the phone out of the wall than answer one more question or set the filing cabinets on fire rather than slide one more piece of paper into its little folder.
But I try to keep View 1 in mind. If I choose to work at a certain place, I’m agreeing to do my best. I am not justified in behaving badly because my mood is off or I think I might be getting a raw deal. My option at that point is the mature option: renegotiate or get out. I don’t have the right to become a jerk.
In The Duke’s Handmaid by Caprice Hokstad, Kee chooses to become a slave. She doesn’t behave like the other slaves. She works harder. She looks for ways to be helpful. She takes initiative and attacks her chores with her whole heart. She wears the slave bands, but for her, they aren’t shackles. They’re jewelry – shiny proof of her love and willingness to serve.
It’s hard to be that freewill slave. Most people in the world think of themselves as victims of fate. They allow attitude to color action. They refuse to accept responsibility for the one thing they can control – their attitude. Any parent knows the difference between a job done and a job willingly done.
I’m no master of attitude yet. I doubt I ever will be. But my studies are teaching me the tremendous power of a positive attitude in a stinky situation. It opens my eyes to previously hidden opportunities. It opens my heart to unexpected avenues of gain. Rabbi Lapin suggested it in Thou Shall Prosper. “First build the tunnel. The traffic will follow.”
I’m digging, rabbi. We’ll see what I uncover.
How about you? Have you ever seen the power of a positive worldview? Have you taken your victimhood and turned it into self-mastery?