A few occurrences this week  have me thinking about competition. When it is healthy, when it is less so, when it becomes something destructive to our systems.

I do not think of myself as especially competitive. If pressed, I feel more likely to fold like a house of cards and forfeit. Unless I am having fun or feel more confident about my abilities, at which time I might try harder and finish gracefully. Better than that, though, I simply prefer not to be involved in competitive events. I like it much better when things are friendly and just for fun. Obviously it does not work that way at work – for jobs, promotions, project assignments, etc. But that’s also partly why I work for myself and am the only one who does my particular job with its myriad of functions for the last decade and a half for small firms.

My not confident and therefore not competitive nature is also part of why I do not pursue sports, other than my lack of natural ability or strong interest in learning necessary skills. The tomes on my exercise progress should demonstrate that despite being in the gym daily for the last 9 months I’m pretty far from some sort of brilliant specimen to parade out as an example of a success story. Gains and improvements are inside, not because my physical appearance has altered. I’m okay with these things. Not competing with others has allowed me to avoid getting depressed about my lack of conventional progress.

But despite not feeling competitive, I do frequently find myself avoiding the trappings of it in all aspects of my life. Parenting, and now grandparenting. I mean, seriously, being a grandparent is not something I can or should be concerned about or consider that within my realm of control. And I resent the Hell out of friends who try to frame it as a sad event in my life or worse – that there is something defective about my kids because they believe a child-free life is the correct course for them. Like so many things people are pushy about with their own agendas, I simply don’t get it. I try really hard to have an open mind about people and their choices in life. Why do I seem to be associated with so many who are hung up on their own ways being the only correct ways?

Maybe it’s not a competitive trap so much as it is a comparative trap. There are life and lifestyle choices and it should not be one size fits most. M and I have this discussion from time to time, because he is far more conservative than I am and periodically I grow weary of his narrow Judeo-Christian point of view and beliefs as being the one and only true way. Of course, I did not grow up with the same fundamentalist Christian upbringing and have my own sort of anger toward the hypocrisy of organized religion. But that is truly discussion for another day, perhaps another blog altogether.

This comes up today because of recent work-related challenges and stressors. Seriously, I am about done with the sense of entitlement and “deserve” type flack of late. I do not expect everyone to be cheerful, happy, effusive about how great it is to work at their jobs, but I do have really basic expectations of professional demeanor and behavior on the job. Pouting does not count as professional demeanor.

Tuesdays I do not typically go into the office, because it’s my one sure day dedicated to my business and clients. However, I’m reachable by phone, text, and email, so it’s not like I go into deep freeze and ignore them completely.

My troubled receptionist returned yesterday, with a doctor’s note per our policy. We had a short meeting that was long on specifics regarding duties and office behaviors. She is pouting – and I loathe pouting – but I am trying to make this work for me until I have opportunity to screen and secure a replacement. Since I am in the midst of negotiating for new office space and planning a move this year, it is kind of a crazy time for me at work. Selfishly, I am deciding what is more of a priority in my busy work world – dealing with her bullshit or finding and training someone else. I am leaning toward the latter.

There is part of me that feels personally challenged by her behavior and attitude, like I am a poor manager for not firing her ass right this minute. What spirit camp does that come from – comparative, competitive, or rightfully annoyed by childish behaviors? I knew I would be out today, we have brand new staff interns that started yesterday and there needed to be some semblance of stability in my absence today.

Tomorrow is a completely different ball game.

I have a summer solution, in someone I know is home from college for the summer who would love a job of any sort. I’m brining her in on Thursday to meet with me, talk about the job. With her in place, I have some time to screen and recruit a permanent staffing solution. Either way, I am done with such an immature brat that values herself and her performance far above reality.

So I feel a lot better about the work situation. I also got a lot done with my self-employment client workload today as well as my administrative tasks and May invoicing. We have guests this week, so juggling work and practice and everything else such is more hectic than usual. But I’m hanging in, hanging on, getting my crap done. And enjoying spending time with our friends.

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