Detachment vs withdraw: advice needed

Old 04-07-2015, 07:32 AM
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Detachment vs withdraw: advice needed

Right now I'm facing a situation at work where some unethical things are happening to people with very little power. I have some power, which has nothing to do with merit or specialness, but more to do with the structure of where I work. I want to be involved and believe I should but I also feel myself getting very upset as I sit in conversations with people with power and (it seems) poor ethics and do this work. IN the past, I would drink to numb, which is no longer an option. What I want to do as a result is withdraw. What is the happy medium here? For those of you who do activist work or face a similar situation where you are up against some powerful machinery, how do you detach without withdrawing?

I realize too that, historically, in my personal life I have been a poor detacher, and when things get rough with family or lovers I can either stick in there and take a lot of abuse (literally in some cases) or run for the hills. So there is a life lesson here for me to pick up, for sure.
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Old 04-07-2015, 07:50 AM
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You have to distinct and separate issues here - one is related to your work and the other is a personal issue.

Regarding the work issue, you need to be careful. You say that you "want" to be involved in this issue and "believe" that you should be involved, but is it within the scope of your job to be involved? AKA - are you going to be sticking your nose into other people's business by doing so? And also remember that there are always 2 sides to every story - if it is your job to hear both sides great, but be careful about sounding an alarm if you don't know.

Regarding how to detach from this kind of thing at home or away from work, I'm still working on that myself...but I find that walking, reading, playing with my kids, really anything to get my mind on to another task helps quite a bit.
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Old 04-07-2015, 08:02 AM
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I can totally relate to you Matilda. I am the same way...either totally withdraw or stick it out come hell or high water. I think the middle ground is to be assertive, but not aggressive or passive. It took me years to figure out how to be assertive and it still is not easy. If you feel that there is something unethical going on with the people in power, can you speak to them about it in a clear and rational way? If you think it will fall on deaf ears or threaten your job to do so, maybe it is best to detach (but that doesn't mean you are consenting). You must look out for yourself as well!
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Old 04-07-2015, 08:21 AM
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I'm an AAer, although still only on step 6, but my way of making decisions now tends to be...

1) Ask myself..
What would a successful AA member do?
What would God have me do?
What is the loving thing to do?
Is my motive good?

2) Use the serenity prayer, asking to the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

What 'real' power do you have in the situation? Sometimes employers give us pretend power. Ie. they just want to have us take the flack for them when they make a decision they know will upset other people. I.e. If you speak your mind about the situation, can you actually change what is happening?
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Old 04-07-2015, 09:55 AM
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Work is always a difficult arena when it comes to speaking out and taking action, or not, the problem is the consequences can be great if you get it wrong, on many levels

For me I go to work and remember that I do my job to the best of my ability, and all the other stuff, the politics, the ethical questions, the rest of it, I let that be the responsibility of the person who runs the company, the shareholders, etc etc, at the end of the day when I retire I'm not going to get brownie points for moral crusades, I'll be given a farewell and a handshake and be forgotten about in time, the machine, the power structure will continue on with or without me regardless.

That's how I stay detached, with perspective, I do my job, but let everything else take it's own course without stressing about it!!
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Old 04-07-2015, 11:05 AM
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Thank you, all of you, for this sage advice. This is definitely a serenity prayer moment.

I love my job and I'm so lucky to have it. I get to talk about interesting and important things with interesting people. And I get paid to write. But I do wish that folks took better care of one another, particularly taking care of those folks who are professionally vulnerable. That part makes me sad.
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Old 04-07-2015, 03:33 PM
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hi Matilda - it's hard to give advice without context and details, so the main thing I would recommend is think about it for a while.

It's great you want to help others - I can really identify with that - but look after yourself too.

You're as important as these people without power.

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Old 04-07-2015, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
hi Matilda - it's hard to give advice without context and details, so the main thing I would recommend is think about it for a while.

It's great you want to help others - I can really identify with that - but look after yourself too.

You're as important as these people without power.

Thanks, D. That was helpful to read. I have spent a lot of time in my life taking better care of others than myself.
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Old 04-07-2015, 06:08 PM
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if its not practical its not spirtitual
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Old 04-07-2015, 06:18 PM
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If there is even the slightest chance that getting involved would in any way jeopardize your job or your reputation at work, I would stay out of it. YOU must always come first!
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