In the past, I've experienced quite a few times where I'm anxiety-stricken because someone else is getting punished. There's stress coming from all directions - frustrations and fear from both the punisher and the punished, and those emotions are very sticky. It's like having paint splattered everywhere, and once it gets onto me it takes a lot of time and effort to wash away.
Usually, when people notice that I'm anxious, they say the following:
"You're doing well."
Although I believe the people who say this mean well, it doesn't improve my anxiety at all. What am I being compared against? The person who just got yelled at?
To me, even if I'm performing "well" if the rest of the organization is shaken - if employees are getting fired, if the employees who didn't are quivering thinking "am I next?" and if everyone is frustrated and fearful, I can't separate myself from that. I am part of the organization after all, and I care about the wellness of the organization as a whole compared to myself only. Are we doing well?
"You need to compartmentalize" is also something people told me in the past. After giving this some thought for a few years though, I have decided to not follow this suggestion. Yes, it will be emotionally overwhelming. But the connection between the self and the organization is something that feels natural to me.
It's like looking at a biological organism. Sure, you can look at each organ as its own separate entity - the brain, the heart, the lungs, the liver... but they're all part of the same organism. And when one organ is unhappy that could very well affect all the other organs because they can talk to each other. Even if the system is not biological, like a machine or a program, I think the same thing still holds. If one part of the machine is damaged, or if one part of the program has a bug, that's probably going to affect the output.
I'm not saying that the notion to separate the self from the organization is wrong. It's merely not my cup of tea. I do find the differences in the way we think interesting though, and I am curious to know how the differences emerge through the different experiences that shape us. (For me, I suspect that the COGS program played an instrumental role.)
I'm Candice and I doodle with the intensity of the doomguy.