Thursday, May 21, 2009

How would you feel?

Let's say you had a job that gave you a great deal of personal satisfaction. A lot of people adored you and told you what a great job you were doing. Then you became disabled with a TBI so you were not as great but still pretty good. But the people in charge said, you can still work here but only a little and in a less important role and nobody you worked with remembered that you used to be good or had anything to offer. They still let you work there and gave you the same amount of money, so I guess you are supposed to feel grateful. But what if you weren't doing it for the money? Not at first, anyway. It was the love and respect and human contact that meant so much to you. Maybe your brain injury left you unlovable, disrespected, and easily avoided. I guess you'd have no choice.


Entrepreneur Chick said...

I like to go out of my way to see what you have to say so....I don't perceive you as unloveable or disrespected or easily avoidable.
I like the transparnecy of your posts and the honest, creative way you interpret what's going on around you.

Entrepreneur Chick said...

Uh, that's "transparency".
I'm sitting here in my pajamas and have not finished my daily round of caffine injections.
You're good at math. (Under statment.)
Please don't figure out what time it is down here in Dallas, k?

Entrepreneur Chick said...

Well, this just keeps getting worse, now doesn't it?!
That's "understatement".
I better not drive today.

Aly V said...

I'm picking up what you're putting down. I've learned the art of listening to what people mean and not thinking so hard about what they say. A 180• change for me as I used to relish correcting people's grammar. Since 10 percent of the words that flow from my mouth are not what my brain intended, humility has helped bring me down to earth. Writing is a godsend because you can edit. I still look back and see bizarro errors in my entries though.

Entrepreneur Chick said...


BrokenBrilliant said...

I used to have a job like that... and I still do, actually. But it's different now, after my TBI in 2004. I was injured pretty intensely, but also invisibly, and it forced me to go look for another position -- I couldn't hold down the great-paying, very fulfilling job I had before. Now, after more than 3 years away, I'm back with people I worked with before. And it's different. I'm different. I'm not learning as quickly and being as efficient as I once was able to do. I'm not sure if folks notice, but none of them knows I've had a TBI, which I avoid telling anyone about.

It's very strange to be in this situation, but here I am. Still, in this day and age, it's great to have a job -- never underestimate the importance of money, especially if you've had a brain injury! So many people are unable to work -- count your blessings that you're able to keep your job. Seriously. It might sound hokey, but it's nothing to sneeze at or take for granted. Nothing can be taken for granted after a TBI. When we do, we tempt fate.

My suggestion? An "attitude of gratitude" -- it works for me, when I am very low. And that's been happening a lot, lately. Focus on what good you can get from the situation and remind yourself that things could really be a whole lot worse... and there is much to be gained from where you are, today.

When it comes to coworkers, I find that putting the focus on them, during conversations, does wonders. Half the time, I can't follow exactly what's going on in conversations, but that actually doesn't matter a whole lot, when it comes to just making small talk. People just want to be noticed, they want to be the center of attention, they want to feel that others care. I have developed a strategy that helps me deal with just about any baffling social situation -- when I'm talking to someone about something I don't understand and am not following, I just repeat back to them what they say to me, in slightly different terms. And I do it with gusto or an emotional affect that lets them know I'm listening. I don't need to understand everything they're saying, or even retain it. That's not why they're talking to me. They're talking to talk -- to feel like they're being heard. And when I paraphrase back to them what they say to me, they think that's what's happening.

It may sound phony, and I suppose it is. But given the choice between failing miserably at something and doing a reasonable imitation of succeeding, I'll take the phony any day.