John, my graphic design friend, deals with a tough work situation. Right before Christmas, he was really in dire straights. He was very discouraged by an abusive and unappreciative boss, and given the economy his prospects for leaving are bleak. To his surprise when he returned after the holiday break, his boss was different. Kinder, more appreciative, more team-oriented. For a week and a half. And today his boss flipped the switch.
For a week and half, John was more hopeful about his job. Maybe things would be looking up for him and his team. And then it all unraveled and John felt like it was December 18, 2008 all over again.
The lesson here is that no behavior change, positive, negative, or indifferent, is immediate. No one comes back to any situation with a completely new attitude. Behavioral changes take time and patience and practice. In all likelihood, John's boss's behavior is not going to change overnight, or over Christmas for that matter. I only had one piece of advice for him: take the long view.
For him, this is a stable job in a tough economy and it's a good resume and portfolio-builder. This tough time will pass and we will be better people for persevering. At least that's what I tell myself - it's what I have to tell myself. Sometimes hope, unbridled, unreasonable, unreliable hope, can be the only thing we have. And sometimes, that's enough. It has to be enough because it's all we've got.