February 1, 2014

The World is Our Boss

Dear M,

Anyone who has worked with a Boss (typically a person who has been an employer for a long time) knows that appreciation comes very few and far between, from (most of) these people. If your work is satisfactory, you don't hear anything. If there are flaws, either there are words of discontent or discussions on how to improve.

It is very difficult for us to let slip a few good words to any person. The quality and quantity of appreciation we offer depends not only on us, it also depends on the way we perceive the recipient. Complex? If the subordinate is a personal favourite, the appreciation pours out quickly, with a brightening of the eyes. If not, it comes out in a constipated way. If he is a person we hate, there could be no appreciation, no acknowledgement, nothing. Or there could be a show of approval which everyone knows is fake.

Imagine something similar, on our work. The whole world is our boss when we publish it. Each person has an opinion about the book. They can be kind, condescending, indifferent, ignorant, ruthless, insulting, anything. Well, why not - they had paid for it. They are entitled to their opinion. If we cannot handle it, why did we set out to publish our stories in the first place?

A good exercise in developing courage to face these would be to go to websites where people discuss books by known authors. Not all comments are favourable or nice. Some are downright abusive. I wonder how the author lived through those. But he/she should.

After all, if you aren't happy with the way the Boss treats you, you have the option to quit. If you want to stay, you have to learn to survive, to battle and face it in the best possible way.


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