You Are Not The Sandbox Monitor

sandboxDo you have children or ever been around any small person under the age of 17? Then you can finish this sentence:


“It’s just not _____”


Yep – you guessed it: fair.


And as a parent or hearing the parent’s response you know what the next line is:


“Life’s not fair”


As adults we can smile and give that knowing look and maybe even say it out loud because we are conditioned to it.


So why is it that one of those moments happen in our adult life we don’t use the same tone on ourselves to remind our own pouty self that life isn’t fair?


Because we don’t want to.  And I type this while stomping my little foot down.


In the adult world the equivalent of life isn’t fair is normally around someone else’s behavior.  They are not acting the way they should, they are not treating others in an appropriate way or their bad behavior seems to be rewarded rather than resulting in consequences as they should.


But they don’t.  Then it triggers the “it’s not fair” response.


You are right.  It isn’t.  But what are you going to do?


I will tell you right now that you are not going to change that person’s behavior.  You probably are not the first person to want to but it isn’t your job to change another or their behavior.


Not only that – but good luck.  People don’t change easily, especially if there is no incentive – good or bad – to do so.


Either change your attitude, your response or your proximity.


Those are your options.  No one made you the sandbox monitor that needs to make sure everyone plays nice and shares.


Either learn to deal with it, don’t give in to it or leave it.  It becomes a matter of you because the behavior is affecting you.


I spoke with a young admin assistant once who told me that her broker needed to stop using a paper calendar and put everything in electronically.  I asked her why and she said because it was a huge waste of time.


Too bad.  It is his system, he keeps organized that way and he likes it.  It doesn’t matter if it inconveniences you, he is not going to change.  She had three options: deal with it, work with him on seeing if he could give her his schedule at a certain time to make sure the electronic and paper calendar matched or get another job.  Period.  He didn’t need to change just because she didn’t like it.


I had a friend go through a divorce.  A few months into it she made the statement she didn’t know why he was being so nasty at every opportunity and what could she do to stop it.  I just looked at her and said, “He was an ass for 20 years and you think in three months he is going to be nice?  He wasn’t nice when you guys liked each other and you think you can make him nice now?  Once you do that I got a couple mountains you can move.”


The point is it is not your job or responsibility to change other’s behaviors because you don’t like them.  Now, if you are the manager and an employee is demonstrating behavior that is unacceptable then you have options to eliminate them from that position.  Stop whining and do something about it or you are going to have their good co-workers take option three and leave themselves.


You don’t bring on the bad behavior so why is it your responsibility to change it?  Hey, they grew up with a mother, if she couldn’t change it your changes lie somewhere between nil and none.  Focus on you.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.


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