Act like it
“You have tools. Act like it.”
These words, spoken to me by a friend some years ago in that delightfully direct way that some friends can pull off because of the time they’ve put in or simply because of their nature, have been up for me quite a bit recently.
My paid work has been a real challenge of late, mostly due to some pretty significant restructuring that is resulting in my position (which I really like and am, frankly, very good at) being moved to a different portion of the organization, a team and a manager with whom I’ve had some very poor experiences in the past. Now, in the scheme of things, this is a small move within a huge corporation, but those things never really feel small to the people impacted by them.
As is too often the case, my initial reaction to these changes is to pull back and decide that whatever is happening there doesn’t matter, not really – that I can’t do anything about it anyway, so I might as well just suck it up and do my best to ignore it. Particularly as it relates to work, that’s a pretty long-standing pattern. I rationalize that hey, I only bring a part of my self to the corporate world anyway, so I can just let things roll off my back.
This time around, though, I’ve been thinking of that directive from my friend, in a conversation about something else entirely. “You have tools. Act like it.”
And I do have tools, which is useful. I can ask uncomfortable questions about the decision-making process, and shed a bit of light on whether the decision makers considered everything they ought to have. I can connect with my allies (whether magical or archetypal or, you know, mortal people with whom I might set up a meeting) to see what other options might be available to me. I can, critically (and fortunately!) say no to the prospect of doing the work of three or four other people, and let the new prospective boss’ reaction be something for them to deal with, rather than me.
I tend to think about my friend’s words as only applying in particular contexts. In a ritual, or when considering an important relationship, or when imagining the future course of my life. It’s useful, sometimes, to be reminded that wherever I am, I almost certainly have SOME tools that apply to the situation.
Today, at least, I’m choosing to act like it.
This post was written by Jason Frey