It’s been a couple of rough weeks since I returned to Singapore. Apart from the reverse-culture shock, things just haven’t been going smoothly with most of the services that I require. Things have been especially trying for the last couple of days as plans are being stalled and would need a massive overhaul.
The Dark Traits in Occupations
Some thoughts have been weighing in my mind for a while, and the recent event called for a further delve into the topic of occupational hazards. Do some occupations bear dark traits by the nature of the job scope? Or are the people who are employed to do the job project their dark personality traits through their jobs, especially if they have been given absolute discretion in exercising the final decision that affects someone’s life?
Take school graders’ for example, do we ever think about the amount of power they are given to give hope or destroy dreams? What kind of mindset do they base on even before the grading process begins?
The dark trait personality: “Well, I am going to fail you unless you prove your worth.”
The compassionate personality: “Well, show me your efforts, and you shall be rewarded accordingly.”
Arguably, both attitudes may lead to a similar outcome – students who work hard on their assignments can expect good grades, but is that all true in reality? If we go in with a mission to fail people, we are instructing our mind to looking for mistakes by default, and when we find them, we have accomplished our mission. Even if they were near perfect in every way, we might give them a hard time before handing them the good grades. We thrive on someone’s failure, because perhaps that makes us feel good about ourselves. Inferiority complex may be at play.
Conversely, if we missioned ourselves to look for reasons to lift people, we are assuming the better of people until proven wrong. We are choosing to give people the benefit of the doubts even if they don’t have a grade A-worthy work. We can want to be kind in our words, yet if we have to fail them.
I think that most people think that if everyone has a good life, it makes their sub-par or uninteresting lives look bad. The reality is that it may make them FEEL worse off or better off than others, but there is really no change to their lives. They still get $3000 salary regardless of how much more or less the others get. They still have a bad relationship whether their customers have a loving or abusive relationship. Making things worse for others do not change the quality of their lives, it just tricks them to feel that it’s now fair. It’s the classic “If I have to suffer, no one should deserve to be happy.”
The Destroyer Needs More Compassion
Perhaps it’s a vicious cycle in our current society. People are motivated to destroy other people, maybe because they are being damaged by someone else, so they find solace and comfort by reversing the role whenever possible.
It is a little like the relationship between the abuser and the abused being trapped in a chicken or the egg causality dilemma. Do people start with being a natural abuser, or is it a causality of having been abused at a point in their life? It is possible for a person with a personality disorder that consists of psychopathic characteristics to have an abusive inclination even if the person has not been abused. Otherwise, for most of us, we ought to know that we have a choice in how we treat other people.
For occupations that have the power to destroy dreams or people, or cause hardships to others for as insignificant a reason as having a bad day, should require regular psychological evaluation. These words originate from compassion, not insult or criticism. People who are set to assume the worst of other fellow humans are likely to experience relational challenges socially and in close relationships. So, a psychological evaluation is a chance to examine if this person has tipped off the mental balance to maintain a healthy psychological state.
It should not be difficult to want to show daily compassion to others. I am talking about small acts of kindness and as little as being gentle. Set boundaries if you must, because I do – I have a low tolerance for rudeness and ill manners, but I aim to serve.
We don’t even need to pull out a life-and-death classification of job importance, like what I would imagine a surgeon or anesthetist is being bestowed. While waiting for the secondary school results, I took a temporary job at the dairy counter in a supermarket. Although my role was quite insignificant, I felt that I had the power to make someone’s day better. Sometimes it could be listening to a customer’s complaint about things that didn’t matter to me, or making customers feel respected by being polite.
People seem to enjoy sharing their problems with me, and I see that as a privilege. Would you believe that I signed up for a counseling course primarily because I wanted to equip myself with the skills to help me help other people more efficiently? I wanted to be confident when responding to their doubts about life impacting decisions or doubts in general.
Instead of thinking of me as a kind person, it’s more fitting to conclude that I am a responsible person. I want to know that I have all the tools I need to repay to the people who trust me with their problems. They could tell anyone, but they trust me with their secrets, so how can I help to improve things for them?
Shouldn’t all jobs and work that we undertake serve toward the same objective? To make improvements? Take any job, say, handyman, engineer, architect, accountant, designer, military officer, receptionist, janitor, CEO, factory worker, bus driver, etc., we can find one common goal – to improve lives of others (or own).
Why then would a specific job be about making lives harder? I suspect that a job is not the problem, but the person doing the job is responsible for shaping the purpose of the position.
I could never understand the mentality of “I’m here to make you suffer.” I joined the National Police Cadet Corp for a year, and I quit. It made no sense to me. They kept telling us that they wanted to make us suffer, as though there was nothing wrong with that statement. I could understand that hardship may build character, but deliberate difficulties to the point of punishing torture are beyond my comprehension of the necessity.
Dust Settling, So Is My Mood
Things are blowing off, and the dust is settling, so is my mood. Not before my songbird sings a cheer-up song for me. I am sharing this with you if you too are experiencing some hiccups in life, and I hope things will look up for you soon.