How do you survive your public service job?
I've worked in a customer/public service job for over seven years now and even though I've hated it since the beginning, it seems to have reached a boiling point of despair and frustration. I feel like it's been rotting me from the inside out this whole time and now I'm finally starting to feel its effects. Do you/have you worked a public service job and, if so, how did you survive it's poisonous sting?
The despair is not bad. It probably means you are ready for something fresh. Decide what you want and make small steps towards it.
It may be a simple course you attend in that field/job market, or some time spent doing research online.
Either way, you have something to look forward to when you start feeling frustrated on the job.
It's been a long while since I was actually employed, but when I did work in retail, I found the despair and frustration was in large part due to my belief that customers (and the human race at large) were even slightly intelligent or good people. However, once I came to the conclusion that customers were cantankerous, underhanded, thieving, mindless sheep, who can't read, can't follow simple instructions, will lie at every opportunity, have no sense of personal space or hygeine, and will even soil themselves without batting an eyelid (wish I was kidding here), I found a sense of peace.
The poison, at least from my perspective, was the pain of trying to hold out faith for fellow man against overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I learned to treat customers as if they were mentally challenged incontinent children and found the result to be quite satisfactory. And to cope with stress, I found a quiet place with no one else in sight where I spent my lunchbreaks enjoying the silence and reading classical literature. I exercised heavily on my days off or bent my back at manual labor around the yard. The sweat and ache is surprisingly cleansing. And, on particularly frustrating weeks, I either bought a bottle of bourbon to enjoy a single good raging drunk night or went down to the firing range and worked on my aim.
Aggression is something you can't just bottle up. You need to find an outlet to stay healthy while mentally distancing yourself from your customers. If you see them as real people, you're just in for a world of hurt. Hope this doesn't sound too cynical.
Public service jobs are tougher than a lot of other jobs. I've been in public service jobs since I was 16 and since I am a still a student it is really the only option for me right now. Don't let rude, stupid people get to you, there will always be people like that out there. What can cause you to become frustrated is taking things personally. It is hard to learn to stop doing that but it can be done. What I do is tell myself that it could be worse, that I could not have a job at all like many unfortunate people, and that while there is bad, it doesn't outweigh the good. Always be grateful to be employed, no matter how crappy your job is. There are a lot of mean people out there, annoying coworkers and bosses, but instead of letting the negative things ruin your day, add up the positive things and let the rest go.
I know how you feel M.T. I worked in retail and banking dealing with the maddening ignorant public. I hate the public, so I was determined to get a degree and a professional job, which I did, but you just trade one group of stupid people for another, i.e. management. Sorry, but it is SO easy to be cynical. There are so many nasty, crooked people out there. Life is too short for that kind of despair. If you in any way can change jobs, do it. Sometimes the grass CAN be greener. Jarn has good ideas in my humble opinion with dealing with people and getting rid of the stress. Best of luck!
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