I would not describe myself as a naturally cheerful person. I'm analytical (to a fault), cynical, quick to criticise, pedantic, grumpy, obstreperous, cantankerous, touchy.... and basically not really someone you would ever describe as "happy-go-lucky".
....and yet in the time since I have been back at work, I've been called "smiler" twice and have been asked several times why I've been walking around with a permanent grin on my face.
Have I really? That doesn't sound much like me at all.
Work is as ridiculous, pointless and frustrating as it has ever been, but on the whole I haven't minded being back. Even after nine months away, spending my time the way I wanted to spend it, it really hasn't been all that much of a wrench dragging myself out of bed in the morning and spending five days a week wearing an ironed shirt and smart trousers. I'd like to think that I always had a pretty good perspective on the role that work played in my life, and that I always understood that it was only a job and that it doesn't need to define me. I was pleasantly surprised to realise, however, on my return to work, that I had actually missed the people, and I found that I was genuinely pleased to be catching up with them now I was back. The work aside, there are lots of good people here, and the fact that we're surrounded by corporate inanities (the people as well as the policies) doesn't negate that. We sit in endless silly meetings discussing ridiculous demands, but that's okay...even when the ridiculous demands are being made of me. The key is to know that they're ridiculous and to try not let them affect you.
I'm hardly a zen master about it, but I'm getting better all the time. At least I can now look at a communication from our HR department that contains the Gandhi quote "become the change you wish to see in the world" with a smile and a sad shake of my head rather than an indignant, incredulous splutter (what are they thinking there though, honestly?)
I don't know why that would make me smile more, though. Maybe it's the realisation that work is funny ha-ha and not just funny peculiar. At least we're all in it together.
As some wise people once noted:
We All Know
That People Are The Same Wherever You Go
There Is Good And Bad In Ev'ryone,
We Learn To Live,
We Learn To Give Each Other
What We Need To Survive
(If the sentiment alone doesn't make you smile, then think of the video, never mind the musical crime being committed there....)
I'd highly recommend that everyone to try smiling at people more often, especially in a working environment.
It confuses them.
.....that being said, I should add that my somewhat smug-sounding equanimity has been sorely tested today. My smile may have wobbled a bit, but I don't think I actually punched anyone in the face or kicked them to the ground. Not outside of my head, anyway.
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