top of page

Repairing Our Spirit from Thick Skinned Situations

Wow is it hard to be knocked down in life. You know you’re are just giving your best and pouring what you have into something and them wham! Someone takes it from you, claims it as their own, tears apart what you did or just makes you feel stupid about it all. People are pretty harsh to each other sometimes and I don’t know that I’ve ever had it happen where it felt particularly good receiving it. There is not only pain from the experience but then the realization you have to get back up and decide what you do next.

At work we are expected to just take under the guise of constructive criticism. Sometimes it is definitely more criticism and meanness lacking any constructiveness to it. Yet, professionally you’re told to have thick skin, take it and then be a good employee and go fix it, do better, be different, improve, learn and so on. I have to admit that is one of the hardest things to recover from when it comes at you from work. I mean seriously who wants to go back to the office the next day and just move one from something like that? My motivation isn’t there for sure. It is equally hard to not say something really bad and walk out from that situation too, especially when it is unjust.

Yet we do this all the time to ourselves. We put ourselves through these incredibly painful situations where our spirit just gets trampled on until it is in shreds all for the sake of a paycheck. I mean really, I get the paychecks are important, I need mine too but come on, is this really how it’s supposed to be earned? Here let me make you feel like a total worthless piece of nothing that isn’t doing your best at work and rip you a new one and then you go out and do better you hear? Too many of us put up with this bullshit at our jobs. That’s what it is too. There is a point where thick skin is just a whipping post for abuse and we are letting it happen.

Most of us in that situation will just go find a new job. I can’t tell you the amount of times it’s happened to me and that evening I’m updating my resume, making a list of network contacts and committing to finding something else. This is a very natural and emotional response. It is oftentimes very needed but what happens, at least what I have seen, is we are so desperate to get out of that situation we take the first thing that comes along for relief. It doesn’t matter if it too does the same thing to us we just need relief from where we are right now. We need the ability to say f-off and move on to something we think will be better or that we can control from happening again. Sometimes we can.

Corporate training does so little in the area of developing real leaders who don’t need to resort to this type of behavior for results. Honestly, in general our society says we need leadership everywhere from corporations to government but no one is saying how we build leaders. We definitely know though what a bad one looks like. Meanwhile our mental well-being and spirit get crushed under the weight of poor leadership that allow this to happen under this thick skin, constructive feedback labeling. Let’s call it what it really is shall we? Bullying.

It has taken me a long time to recognize how badly these types of situations have broken my spirit. I would leave work completely drained from stressful non-stop days where I had nothing left to give my family. I fed them cereal and frozen pizza for dinners because it was late by the time I got off work trying to save my job (again) or meet some ridiculous deadline. I would fall into the shower and bed to scroll LinkedIn and apply for new jobs thinking that was the answer. I knew it was only a temporary answer at this point because sooner or later all this would happen again. Was I just a bad employee? Was I really not as good as I thought I was? Did the experience and knowledge I have just not fit in the jobs I was holding? Maybe it was me.