I know this might be coming a little out of nowhere, but considering the randomness of how my brain fires, anything can shoot out at any time. So for me, this kind of question is perfectly normal.
Let me ask you, in your opinion, do you think most people want to be successful? I know, it sounds kind of rhetorical, and almost dumb to ask, but humor me. I’m asking because I genuinely feel, deep down, like most people do. And I’m guessing you probably feel the same way.
Why, then, have I been hearing chatter from so many people about issues they’re having with haters hating them just for being productive and trying to do their jobs well? That just makes no sense to me. In fact, it seems almost asinine.
Now I use the word ‘hater’ assuming that you spend as much time on Urban Dictionary.com as I do, and that you’re totally down with what the word really means. But if you’ve got no idea what I’m talking about, then let me explain. A ‘hater,’ by definition, is someone who gets irritated when other people around them take initiative or take their work seriously and go above and beyond their job description.
Now a hater could be a work colleague, they could be a classmate, they could be a friend. Anyone, really. It’s just a catchall word for a person who simply can’t be happy for someone else’s success, so rather than be happy for them, they go out of their way to make a point of exposing a flaw in that person.
I know this might come as a complete and total shock, but a hater is usually a pretty negative person by nature. I know, I know, hard to believe. (I’m smiling now. And it’s my super cheeky, sarcastic smile.)
But really, I just don’t understand how someone could go through life like that—hating all the good and positive things that people around them are doing. Or, more importantly, why the hell they’d even want to. All that negative energy—it’s gotta be like walking around with a cinder block swinging from your neck. Living with that kind of pessimism would just suck the life right out of me.
I’ve always thought we were expected to give our work at least 100%? I mean, that’s how I was raised, anyway. And I think it’s probably a fair assumption that most parents out there aren’t raising their kids to be underachievers. I mean, they don’t teach us when we’re in school to give the best 50% we’ve got, right? Teachers aren’t like, “Hey, Timmy, great job on that 50 you got on your biology lab! Way to go, buddy!” I feel pretty confident that no boss would intentionally hire someone with an expectation that they do a half-assed job. We’re taught to work hard for the sake of working hard, for the sake of being productive, for the sake of being successful. It’s really that simple. Or at least it’s supposed to be.
The thing is, I keep getting wind of situation after situation where people are being criticized for wanting to excel at their work. For wanting to do the best they can for the people they’re working for. And that’s just cray-cray (which is Urban Dictionary.com for crazy). And the sad irony is, most of the people who complain the loudest about other people going above and beyond are usually the very same people who, if they really put their backs into it, could be superstars. But they can’t see that. Instead, the only way they can survive in the world around them is to spend all of their time cutting down the people who really take their work seriously, instead of just digging in and doing their version of their best.
The problem is, there are too many insecure people out there and the depressing thing is, they’re too busy feeling threatened by other people and trying to make those people look bad, that they’ve lost sight of the fact that everyone has something unique to bring to the table and life isn’t supposed to be a competition. Because to go through life feeling insecure about putting yourself out there to the best of your abilities is just a loss. It’s a loss for the hater and it’s a loss for the people around them.
It seems like, for some, being a hater is almost a full-time job. Ironic, that if they’d just quit badmouthing the conscientious people out there, they could actually become valuable and productive themselves.
Most of us, as well as I can recall, were taught to aim high, to go above and beyond, to give “it” our best shot. And we weren’t taught to do that for the sake of one-upping anyone. But I know those one-uppers are out there. I’m not as naïve as I look in my headshot. They’re hidden right there in plain sight, pretending to have your back while they’re criticizing you behind it. They’re the climbers who’ll step on anyone’s head just to get a boost up to that next level. To get the praise and the kudos and the slap between the shoulder blades that they need to satisfy their own insecurities. But it shouldn’t be about praise. Ok, correction: I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t nice to hear positive feedback every now and then. Because it is. And no one should apologize for liking that. But, and this is a big but, we should all be out there doing a good job just for the simple sake of doing a good job. For the sake of, oh, I don’t know, pride and a sense of accomplishment. Because I don’t know about you, but if my name is attached to something, I damn well want it to be something good.
And that’s actually a good segue to one final thought, and that is, that most haters don’t even realize they’re haters. They’re just so wrapped up in their disgruntledness toward the hard-working people around them that oftentimes they don’t even know they’re hating. And that’s sad. Because they’re not endearing themselves to anyone by cutting everyone around them down.
Look, any way you hold it up to the light, the word ‘animosity’ is a dirty little word. So I guess we all have two choices: (A) we walk up to the person doing the hating and we dope-slap them in the forehead, and say, “Dude!!!!” or (B) we take a deep breath, and walk through their cloud of bitterness like we were just Simonized at the Lynnway Carwash and just let it all roll right off. Because at the end of the day, a hater’s gonna hate. But we have the ability not to care. Guess I’ll choose B.
Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItisWhatitisColumn OR follow her blog at https://itiswhatitiscolumn.wordpress.com.