On Compromise

My fellowship is a bit different than some of the others I’ve been reading about this summer. A lot of my work is administrative, and the people I work with day to day are the other people who work in administration rather than clients or members of the public. This is a bit different than most of the past work I’ve done too, and correspondingly I’m learning some new lessons.

I think one of the things I’m learning quite a bit about is the importance of compromise. I’ve spent a lot of time planning, and since I’ve put so much work into figuring out what the best options are for overhauling our loan closet, I’m now pretty invested in the results. That doesn’t mean that others will always like what I propose even if it’s what makes the most sense to me. People might resist because they perceive something to take extra work (and in the nonprofit world everyone already has plenty), or because they’re attached to the old way of doing things and not ready to give it up yet.

Some aspects of that, to be honest, have been very frustrating. But especially after talking it over with some of my other coworkers, I’ve accepted that some personalities will be more resistant to change and that compromising with them is still important. I think in some ways it jives with me because, as a Buddhist, I’ve thought a lot about letting go of all sorts of attachment. My ideas of the way a thing should work or should be or would be best are all part of that, and even if I’m convinced I’m right sometimes the best solution is to let it go and find something that works for everyone, even if it’s not the best possible scenario.

I’m lucky I have good support from the person I generally take direction from, who I see as something like my boss in the office. She’s been an excellent sounding board and has had a lot to teach me, not only in terms of the logistics of the nonprofit but also in terms of working with others. When I started, I would have said working with others was already a strength of mine, but one aspect of this work is that it always challenges us to be better.

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