I have been super busy for weeks, not just with a particular organisation, but with multiple organisations. At times, I feel like I need to duplicate myself into 3 or 4 me to get things done. However, no matter how hard I worked, I feel people will be never satisfied with my work. There are always hints on how 'little' effort I've put in. The fact is, I've tried my best to make everyone happy, honestly. (maybe I shouldn't even bother doing that) Like you, I only have 24 hours a day and I've made 6-hours sleep a luxury I can never attain for the moment. If I get 5 hours of sleep, oh thank God for the blessing! With all the pushy messages and no words of appreciation at all, I became very annoyed, felt not appreciated and over time, unmotivated to work and burn out. All I want to do, is to mute my phone and completely ignore you.
I do not blame you. When you are at home, enjoying your summer break, having all the time in the world to sleep and eat, the project is probably the only thing you need to handle at the moment. You can't fathom the reasons when I don't reply instantaneously. 'Why is she so irresponsible and unresponsive? Why can't she take the initiative? Why is she pushing all the work away? Why are her replies so terse?' you asked yourself.
I don't blame you, really. Because I will do and think the exact same way if I were you.
That's why it made me realised how we need to have a bit more of empathy. When we interact with a person in one context, all we can see is we need this person to get this job done, now now now, the way we want it. When it's not done properly, we get agitated, we complain over this person's incompetency, laziness. It's like when a junior doctor prescribed the wrong drug, we blamed his ignorance, incompetence and negligence.
But during my fellowship with the Ministry of Health, I've learned to keep calm, take a step back and look at the big picture before you start pointing fingers at that 1 particular person.
That junior doctor wasn't sure what to prescribe that early morning. It was the 32nd hour in his 3rd 36-hours on-call shift. He rang the consultant, but couldn't reach him. When the consultant came to the hospital, he tried to ask him but was asked to wait because the consultant has more important cases to deal with. So he waited and waited. 2 hours passed, the patient's deteriorating fast. The junior doctor could no longer wait and there's no one else around to help him. He read up on some literature and prescribed what he thought was the best medication to help the patient. But it wasn't. The patient continue to deteriorate rapidly and eventually, passed away. The consultant was furious, no one could comprehend why did the junior doctor did that, the media blamed him and the hospital, under the public pressure, sacked him.
Who's fault was that? Was it the junior doctor's fault? Was it the consultant's? Or the literature? Or maybe the junior doctor's medical school's? We are always quick to point finger and assign blame to one particular person when things go wrong or not the way we want it to be, just because that's the easiest thing to do. (Read: easiest. not the right way)
Keep calm, take a step back and look. If the system has made sure that there are 1 more consultant there to help this junior doctor out or there's a proper guideline for prescription in such situation, these wouldn't have happened. But if we were in that consultant's shoe, all we can think of at that moment, when the emotions were so intense, was probably only, why on earth didn't you ask me, you idiot?!
The point of this story is to serve as a reminder to myself that whenever I rant, complain and blame others, pause and try to put myself in another person's shoe. You can call me naive, but I like to believe that everyone's (or at least my friends and colleagues) sensible, nice and always trying to do their best. When that's not the case, something must be troubling him to be less motivated that he usually is or to result him making this mistake? What factors may have contributed to this? What can we do to improve the situation? Same goes when I am wronged, I need to remember and understand that others can't see what you've been through in your daily life, they may not you've been up since 6am and they may not understand how tired you are, but it's not their fault for not knowing because you never tell them, so don't hate them.
Empathy. empathy. Because what you see, is just a small facet of another's life. Try to put yourself in their shoes before making a decision.
It's true, I have no idea how hard you've worked. Thank you so much.