Monday, May 27, 2013

Victim Mentality

I've been totally playing victim lately. I'm not loving my current work situation at all and I have a couple of bosses and colleagues to blame for it. Like the article says, claiming to be a victim feels good. I don't have to do any work to get attention and validation from my friends; I don't have to take responsibility for the situation I am in; I shift all faults to other people; I blame the world for doing me injustice rather than trying to do anything about it.

The alternative is a lot more work. I would have to dig into myself to see what I need to change within myself. I would have to brainstorm ways to change my current situation. I would have to try new things: for example, behaviors I've never tried before. That's frigging scary! It feels totally unfamiliar! It could backfire! Better stick to my old habit and blame others for causing my life to be crappy!

The downside to not trying something new is that my situation would stay crappy forever. Complaining   temporarily reliefs my frustrations, but doesn't change my situation at all.

The article suggests I ask the following questions:

1. What is one good thing about this situation?

- Well, I learn that I have been overly sheltered for most of my life and the scientific field isn't as rosy as I thought it would be.
- Bosses like to feel like they are leading their groups, are somewhat in control, and knows their stuff. To make the boss happy I have to contribute to maintaining that illusion for the bosses.
- I really really have a TON of trouble verbally summarizing my work progress to the boss in an impressive way. I sound like I do next nothing when I actually poured in my heart into trying 10 things, except 9 of them failed.

2. What is one small step I can take to move forward or out of this situation in the short term?

- I can spend more time actively preparing for what to say and how to dress it up to make me sound good before the next meeting.
- It's a bit counter-intuitive, but I can spend less time time with trial and error analysis (the bosses don't appreciate it anyway), and spend more time on data/results presentation formats.

Do I want to dedicate the next 2-5 years honing my ass-kissing skill to perfection in the long run so I can get to some arbitrary high position and get to boss other people around instead?

- The answer is a huge NO

I think I do need some basica levels of ass-kissing abilities (or as my bosses call it: basic communication skills). I don't have much option but to dedicate more efforts working on my communications, ie. dressing up the ideas I wish to express to make them more eloquent  less offensive, more pleasant, optimistic, and more convincing. But there's a limit to how far I want to take this. I feel like I should start looking into alternative careers. It is really hard to do this in a foreign country, but I guess my ambitiousness got me into this situation in the first place, so I need to motivate myself to get ambitious enough again to work up enough energy to learn new skills/new languages for an alternative future. I don't know what I need to not feel burnt out any more, but I should try harder to get out of this rut.

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