Posted by: kristabella | August 16, 2007

Out of My Control

On Saturday afternoon I had lunch with a friend of mine and we turned to the subject of my new job and what was going on with it and how I was liking it.

I went into the details of not being BFF with some of the people and it being very cliquey. And I told her that it has been hard but that I had reached a point where it was OK. I have tons of friends and family and I don’t have to extend that to the people I work with. And it is OK.

And we got onto the subject of being people pleasers and in turn taking everything so personal. Because you tend to take every little thing said as a slight against you, whether it was or not. And it is a really hard cycle to break. I, for one, have been doing it my entire life, not even knowing, because I was always looking for the attention from my dad. And you learn all your behaviors at a young age. Or so my therapist told me.

And I’ve always been like this at jobs particularly. I always have to do things myself because I don’t trust others to do it right. Because if when they don’t do it right, then I have failed. And that is not pleasing to anyone.

I have always taken things so personal at work. If someone doesn’t like something I’ve done or even something I didn’t do but I am somehow tied to, I immediately get defensive. And then usually cry at my desk and get really frustrated. I have a hard time realizing that I cannot be perfect 100% of the time and sometimes things are subjective so people may not like them. And it has NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.

The hardest part with this new job has been doing exactly what I’m asked and some of the times it not being right. Because there was some unsaid part of the equation. And so on numerous occasions busting my ass and doing my best has lead to the wrong thing. And it has literally been out of my control. Because you did not hire a mind reader.

It has gotten better because I’m becoming more assertive (and in turn a lot less defensive) and they are finally starting to trust me to do the damn job that they hired me to do. And also because I’ve decided to not give a fuck. Seriously.

If I do something and they want to change it, fine. That is not my deal. That is your deal. I can only do what I am humanly capable of. And I will keep doing it until you are satisfied. Because I can’t change who you are. And I have FINALLY learned to stop trying. And stopped taking everything so damned personal.

I have been battling this my entire career, and my entire life, really. And I am by no means “cured” of PeoplePleaseritis. I still do it without knowing. I tell people what they want to hear. I sometimes don’t give my totally honest opinion in certain situations. One, because sometimes it isn’t worth the battle and two, because I’m still insecure and I want people to like me and I want tons of friends in the worst way.

And I know people will be like “it’s because you’re turning 30” like some damn magic switch turns when you hit that milestone. No, it’s not because of that. It is because I’m getting older. And in turn am more comfortable in my own skin. And in turn choose to do things that make MY life easier rather than doing things to make it easier on everyone else. And in turn, use the phrase “in turn” too many damn times in one post.

And it took this job, a job that I needed to keep, to hit it home. Because I needed to pay my bills and I also needed to keep my sanity, in turn. (ha) And I needed to figure out a way to make it work. And believe me when you’re faced with looking for a job yet again, for the fourth time in two years, or working to fix something, you try really, really hard to fix it.

And it makes me not hate going into work every day. Because I have limited interaction with people, which suits me just fine. And the interaction we do have doesn’t make me want to pull my new brunette hair out at the roots. Because I feel no need to make you like me. Which surprisingly? Makes me like them a lot more.

And it only took me almost 30 damn years to figure out. And I did it before the Magic Switch flipped!

P.S. And even with all this lovely insight, I still have no idea why my cat decided to pee in the cat bed today. And am seriously hoping it’s the only place she decided to pee.



  1. Great post! I have also fought this People Pleasing disease for so long, but as you get older, it gets easier to stop. I try really hard to go with wtf attitude, not to take it personally, unless someone comes to me directly and then we can talk about it. I still slip, but I am in a much better place. It does stem back from trying to adapt in childhood, you turn into whoever “they” want you to be. Very insightful!

  2. This, is sooooo me:

    “I, for one, have been doing it my entire life, not even knowing, ”

    And at the job too. I’m sure it’s why I’m in the position that I’m in though… seems to be how I climbed the ladder. Probably this organization’s culture. I always wonder what it will be like at my new job – whenever and wherever that ends up being.

  3. Damn. I have PeoplePleaseritis too, and I want it GONE.

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