Friday, March 26, 2010

Pick your Battles

Two phrases I heard over and over in different occasions, but never really listened to the words in them. When those were addressed to me at the right time, in the right context, they suddenly had a brand new meaning, and they made a change in the way I dealt with things onward.

She was a waitress, he was the owner's 1/2 brother, I was the bus-boy. I was proud that I hooked up the waitress who was a friend of mine to the job, I was proud of my seniority being there for 2 months, when she was there for a week, while it was only the 3rd day for the owner's 1/2 brother.

As a bus-boy I was in charge of setting the tables, placing the candles, the plates, the ashtrays before we opened. I always followed the instructions to the T. Nobody interfered in my extremely complicated and high-technical kind of job, busing tables that is, till that afternoon.

He arrived and shifted all the tables and the settings around, right after I was done arranging all and before I got the chance to look at my accomplishment with pride, as if I was an event planner who was ready for his celebrity client to walk in with 100s of guests. No, that was not the case, the owner's 1/2 brother felt superior to all and found his way around everything, his lack of taste attached enough damage I thought. I bit my tongue that day and re-arranged it the way I was instructed next day. Again he arrived and shifted everything around. I asked him why he was doing that, he said because he didn't like it the way I set it. I went to my friend/waitress and complained to her, she shrugged her shoulder and said "eh, why the headache, let him do what he wants" and she walked away. Such a simple sentence right! but it kept me wondering, why was I so anal about getting it the way his brother, the owner, wanted? it's not like it was going to save the lives of our soldiers at war or protect a certain species from being distinct. I let IT go "WHY THE HEADACHE!" and I let a lot go too.

I was a manager at A bank, she was a manager at B bank, and she recruited me to join the bank she was working for. At that point she was non-re-hirable at A bank where she worked before and where I first met her, I had no idea.

When I was managing my new branch, I was overwhelmed with how different it was compared to what I knew before. She came to highlight for me the differences she had to adapt to when she had the transition. While we were working and I was complaining, she looked at me and said with a stern tone "pick your battles".

I wasn’t sure what it meant but I started to prioritize my new challenges and learned to ignore and ignore and ignore. God bless the ignore technique, if it’s used right, it can be so healthy.

Five months later, after trying to clean up so much of the unethical behaviors I found around me, under me and over me at that bank, I picked my battle, I picked what’s left of my dignity and I picked my personal belongings and left. I left the company and went back to my previous bank, that was the battle worth fighting for.

Those two lines I heard above, I carry so dearly with me going through the different walks of life, not as much those who said them. Sometimes it's the ones you have the most casual relationship with, who say the most profound things that you might have heard before, but only at that moment, put into prospective.

So now I pick my battles, and if I have to go down, I go down fighting. But I learned that there’s so much going on that deserves the right amount of ignorance. Why the headache when we can avoid it.