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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Business 101: Chewing your Pride

I've past the quarter century mark working in the private sector (in evil corporate America), and every once in a while I feel compelled to share some of what I've learned.  So here goes.

Pride:  The art of sucking it up.

Want to work in the private sector?  Want to "climb the ladder" as they say?  That's well and good, but be prepared to have:

a) A thick skin
b) The ability to chew your pride

Point (a) is pretty self-explanatory, although I could go on about that if I so desired.  That, however, may be for another day.  On to point (b).

Yes, I said "chew" your pride.  This is as opposed to swallowing your pride.  Swallowing, you see, is far too easy.  What's more, there are times in the working world when you will feel...

...beaten down
...ill treated*
...unfairly singled out

and even...

...slightly humiliated*

...and that's just the way it goes.  Is it fair?  Well "fair" is a relative term, that's for sure.  What is fair for you may not be fair for me.  Regardless, you will have these feelings every once in a while.  I've learn, as I've noted, not to just swallow your pride in these instances, but rather learn to chew your pride.  Chew as to truly feel the emotions, not just dump them, a-la a swallow.  Get accustomed to the taste of these feelings, because that's the best way to not be overcome by them.  If you simply swallow your pride quickly, you do nothing to steel yourself to the inevitable times when you need to deal with these feelings again.

After you are done chewing your pride, well, dust yourself off and get back into the game.  Fate favors the persistent.

(*) By "ill treated" and "humiliated" I do NOT mean subject to harassment, discrimination or retaliation of any sort.  No one in today's workforce should EVER have to tolerate those kinds of behaviors.  If you feel that you have been subject to harrassment (sexual or other), discrimination (because of your race, religion, etc.), or retaliation (because you pointed out issues in the past) you should always and immediately talk to someone with appropriate authority in your employer's organization.  Examples of where you can go to give voice to these kinds of issues include Human Resources, an ethics hotline, or a more senior manager.

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