Fighting the Tyranny of Unreasonable Expectations
Ever read a job advertisement that went something like this? “Utilising your unique business management skills, industry connections, and our non-existent marketing budget, you will transform our modest building supplies company into a household name with nationwide brand recognition.” What follows is a list of 38 complicated and specialised tasks you will perform for the princely sum of 70k per annum. You will arrive with a tertiary qualification, 7 years of experience within a similar role, and a healthy swathe of references.
The owners of this family-run business will bicker amongst themselves, deliver conflicting and contradictory instructions, and micromanage every aspect of the workday. They will hover over your shoulder like enemy drones. They will tap impatiently as you set about transforming them into multi-millionaires while you draw you meagre monthly salary. Once they are sufficiently enriched and you have laid out several years worth of marketing strategies, there is no guarantee that you won’t just be cut loose for vague reasons of “not meeting our expectations.”
Welcome to hell.
Valentine’s Day arrives. You are remotely aware of the date due to a barrage of saccharine TV advertisements featuring scenes of loved-up couples cuddling aboard Venetian gondolas. You are not the only one who has witnessed these shameless promotions, and she, your other half, is expecting flowers, handwritten poetry, and expensive dinner reservations. You have made no such preparations and suggest visiting the local Thai restaurant. She is not impressed by this latest failure to meet her relationship expectations. Her girlfriends all have sensitive partners who routinely demonstrate their undying love with grandiose gestures, while you do not.
How to Push Back Against the Expectations of the World
Your boss staggers over in your direction with a huge pile of paperwork that he slams onto your desk. It’s Monday afternoon and he sternly requests that you “have that lot finished by first thing, Tuesday.” You are mid-way through a more important task and lack the inclination to stay around late into the night to cover his lazy, disorganised ass. This is not an isolated incident, and as a salaryman, your extra hours in the office count for nought, while cutting into your recreational portion of the day. Fun times.
How does a man deal with the unrelenting, unreasonable demands of the world? Is it all just part of the game? Do we grin and bear it, or push back against those that would rule our lives with their demands.
Becoming a Sovereign Man
Being a man is about owning your sovereignty. There should be no situation that you cannot simply walk away from. Boundaries need to be set very early during negotiations. I am paid to work from 9 to 5. If there is something that desperately needs to be completed I will stay until 5:30 but do not expect me to toil away in my own time for free. If that is the workplace culture, get ready to move on, start applying for alternate positions. Take your life back.
If you are dating a woman who believes Prince Charming is a historical figure that you are obliged to emulate, she will slowly but gradually break your spirit with incessant demands. Nothing will be good enough. You will continually fall short of her towering expectations. Life will become miserable. You will be diminished as a man.
If a job advertisement mentions words like ‘superstar’ then keep scrolling. Saving beleaguered organisations from oblivion is not worth your effort. Neither is single-handedly enriching a group of start-up founders who are incapable of telling their story to the world.
Lift weights. The act of pushing back against heavy impediments that would drive you into the ground will become second nature. It will infect every aspect of your life, and you will become formidable, not to be messed with. And if standing up for yourself is a real weakness, learn to fight. Start boxing, or kickboxing or any of the martial arts. Master the art of the counter-attack. Lose your fear. Conquer your anxiety.
“When the fight was over nothing was solved, but nothing mattered. We all felt saved.”– Fight Club