Some workplace advice from Jane Austen
“Elizabeth had much to do….those to whom she endeavored to give pleasure were prepossessed in her favor. Bingly was ready, Georgianna eager, and Darcy determined to be pleased.”
As a friend recently admonished me, you can’t ever really get away from people. When you leave one workplace for another, you are merely changing one set of challenging officemates for another set. If you move on from one town, the same types of idiosyncratic bothersome people are alive and well and already living in your new village – waiting for you.
There’s one in every crowd. Archetypes exist. One must greet new office acquaintances or neighbors with a positive mindset and openness. It might help to go in a bit open eyed and philosophical like the characters in the above quote from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Be predisposed in their favor.
Be determined to be pleased.
“Vaya con Dios,” Friend said.
“Who is this Dios of whom you speak?” She asked. “I will go out into the desert to find him. Perhaps I will be fed by ravens.”
And Friend replied, “40 days and 40 nights?”
Forget a mere month and 10 days; it had been over 40 years since the two friends had actually talked face-to-face. This cogent Facebook exchange was fraught with meaning. One friend was tired, exhausted, the journey too much. She was moving to the desert, hoping to reclaim a portion of her spiritual and emotional health – to find herself. And with this four-line dialogue, she had communicated an identification with the emotions of the Prophet Elijah.
A minor prophet from ancient Hebrew literature – not even major enough to have an entire book of the Tanakh (Old Testament) named after him – Elijah stood up to a wicked Queen Jezebel (1 Kings 19). He called fire down from heaven (1 Kings 18). He succeeded in his ambiance beyond wildest dreams and expectations. Yet, after the fact, exhaustion and depression nearly pulled him under.
She knows there have been great victories. Victories huge enough to be followed by great desponds. There have been supernatural successes. Successes rewarded by jealousy and threats.
Now, she is in the desert for healing and nourishment. It may take being spoon-fed by ravens. It may merely take daily hikes into the wild and beautiful. She has enough faith left to believe this will happen.