Sunday, 5 December 2010

Life Lessons

It’s taken quite some thought to figure out the best way to articulate what I’m about to tell you. I had to take some time before I attempted writing this to let the negative emotions die away. Otherwise I would have ended up blindly scathing those who wronged me rather than taking the positive approach to these situations that I like to pride myself upon. My mantra has always been that optimism will get you everywhere and negativity will leave you with nothing. Although in no way do I dispute this, I think it’s also important for me personally to understand and acknowledge that the reality in which we live is not always as perfect as we might hope.

After being at my new job only two weeks, I was treated in a manner I can only deem disgraceful. As with everything I do, big or small, I put my all into it. I have never been one of those people to just do a satisfactory job, I want to do a great job, whether I’m rewarded for it or not. The company refused to pay me for 12 hours of the work I had done, I found it outrageous and standing up for myself left me not only jobless but hurt by the discrimination directed towards me.

I’ve always believed, and a large part of me still does, that if one stands up for themselves the right way then one will prevail. Whether in the short run or the long run I believe justice will be met.

The whole situation reminded me of a story my father once shared with me, I’m sure he won’t mind me sharing it, even if I don’t get it entirely right…

Long before I was born, as a young man, one of the jobs he partook in was being a waiter for a hotel. As he worked there for a while he got to know some of the regulars and had a very friendly relationship with them. On one day, as he went into the kitchen to collect some food he saw the chef drop some of the food onto the floor, put it back onto the plate and demand that it be taken out. When he refused, the manager was called. In a tight position, the manager had to decide whether to lose his chef or a member of his waiting staff. I don’t think I need to tell you who lost their job.

These things happen, I guess, and enduring them is just another part of life. I’m not going to roll over and play dead, I will fight for the money I earned and will fight against homophobia anywhere, particularly in a work environment, however I won’t dwell upon these injustices: The world is still the optimistic land of possibilities I have always believed it to be.

Despite the many obstacles to overcome, the many people who will try to push us around and the many environments that will attempt to conquer us, believing in ourselves and believing we are doing what is right is worth much more than anything else. I’ll remember what happened for a very long time, but rather than it being another reason to lose faith in humanity, I see it as a lesson learned and a further boost to push me onto finding the environment that I will thrive within.

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