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So I've reached a point where I am ready to make a new beginning in my working life. After a few years of being an independent consultant I've decided to go back and look for a full time job, and I'm finding there are some interesting reactions coming to the surface from the situations I'm encountering.
First of all, the idea of being judged by people "whose opinion matters". There is an almost atavistic response, kind of like butterflies in the stomach, of stress that is making itself literally felt in the body. Of course in the end these people's opinions affect only the impermanent state of the body, so it is a sign that somewhere deep inside there is some kind of survival instinct that I haven't yet let go of — something that still hasn't understood the importance of impermanence and letting go of clinging in the pursuit of peace.
Second, I have in the past had some complex relationships with my bosses, or I suppose one would call them managers in modern business parlance. There too I am sensing something unresolved, to do with authority relationships, which is going to come and bite me at some point by causing a flare of unwanted emotions.
Third, there is the whole tangle of reputation management in an organisation. You're often dependent on your reputation, on how much people think they need you, on how respected you are, to keep your job in difficult times. Just thinking about that makes me a little queasy, it is a sticky patch of nasty proportions which I don't think I have properly let go of.
How have you all coped with these kinds of work-related topics in a Buddhist way?