As I look back over the past year, I’m asking myself: What are some bad habits or entrenched assumptions I should take a closer look at?
Welp… I tend to hermit, but I’m happy hermit-ing and in that very sentence –with the word but–we see another of my prominent traits. I have a contrary mind. You say it never happened, and I am off on a hunt to find the one time it did happen. You claim it can’t be done or must be done… And there I go, down the yeah-but rabbit hole. This is a fine quality in an attorney, in moderation. At the customer service desk…?
Another tendency I have is to hang on for too long to relationships and processes that aren’t working well for me. I don’t know whether this is laziness (the devil I know…), an excessive sensitivity to abandonment guilt, or optimism gone awry, but I am slow to acknowledge an inequitable situation when it affects me directly. Over time, I have become better about shortening the distance between, “This isn’t working,” and “I’m outta here,” but there’s still much work to do.
I think about all the times I cut somebody or something loose–highly sexist Fortune 500 employers, needy boyfriends, contractors of less than honorable ethics–and never, not ever, do I wish I’d hung on longer and “tried to make it work.” Just the opposite.
Case in point: After decades banking at the same institution, through mergers, branch closures, horrendous snafus on the bank’s part (putting my tiny retirement into junk bonds, paying out on a very big check that had NO signature), I’d stuck with them. By the time I finally made the decision to switch to a more professional institution, my finances were far more complicated than if I’d switched years ago. I’d also lost a ton of investment opportunities that an ethical bank would have steered me toward.
The new bank isn’t perfect, the swap was a hassle, and the learning curve steep, but I’m much happier dealing with an organization that grasps the need to work for the customer.
Next up, I’m going after my internet service provider. Ever since the FCC rules on net neutrality were repealed, the local ISP shop (we have exactly one in the whole valley) has been offering worse and worse service for the same price. We’re supposed to call them in dismay about our “slow modems” or “traffic volume slowdowns” so they can up-sell us.
I believe in voting with my dollars. I believe in treating everybody honorably. Squeezing loyal customers (twenty years plus) isn’t honorable. And when I get the ISP situation sorted, I’m having a serious talk with my accountant, who was no use whatsoever helping me figure out how to manage payroll in two states at once. And after that…
The talk I have to have with myself is this: If I can consistently feel the pea under the mattress, then it’s not a pea. It’s sleepless nights, sluggish days, cranky conversations and worse. Some situations must simply be endured, but others… Chuck the peas, Grace. You don’t get any princess points for ignoring your own frustrations. Make 2020 the year of chucking the peas.
Is there a pea under your mattress? Was there one once upon a time that you finally tossed? To one commenter, I’ll send a $50 Barnes and Noble gift e-card.