Sunday, August 31, 2008

Times Like These

My husband is in his early 50's and I am 46. The financial picture for retirement is not a sweet looking one for us baby boomers in a bear market. Things may pick up in 10 years, but then, they might not. Some of the most careful of planners based their retirement on assumptions that are no longer true. Like, the worth of their home would be profitable. Or that their low risk investments would keep ahead of inflation. Or that they wouldn't have to work after retirement.

So, when I meet grumpy people in the general public, especially older ones, I always keep the state of the American economy on the forefront of my mind as an explanation. Things aren't turning out the way they expected. There are disappointments. Even anger. And people handle this differently. When they can't control their own lives, they might try to control yours, for instance. Or when you are working for a company that is taking a financial hit and having to close stores, making you a target to make themselves feel better about their own lives.

My home store isn't closing, and as far as I know right now, my job is safe. But right now, I'm working in a store that is closing and is understaffed because of it. The contrast in these two stores how customers treat me is noticeable. I deliver the same legendary service at both stores. At the one staying open, things are smooth in relationships between the store employees and their customers. I get responses like "Oh, I'm not surprised you are staying open, you guys all do a great job!". At the closing one, although there is sympathy and even a few protests, there is also a certain meanness from some people who love it that we as a company are experiencing difficulties. Who are relishing in their thought that I am a failure and aren't even human enough to hide it. Every small mistake I might make is met with a certain "Aha! That's why you are an underperforming employee!" After awhile, it could make you not want to even try, because either you get pity or scorn. If I let it.

Under these circumstances, I've figured that what these mean people think is not my problem. Their judgemental attitude reflects more on them than it does on me. I can let go of my natural impulse for revenge or to get even. I can just do my job to the utmost of my ability, because God is who I live for. This can only help me grow into a stronger, more loving and more empathetic person. Everyone wants to be "first" or to be seen as winners. But to be treated as a loser or told that I am a loser nonverbally or verbally, who wants that? But that is what God is allowing in my life. I am resting on His love. He alone knows me and saves me. And whoever hurts me, He will deal with them. I trust in Him in times like these, at all times.

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