Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Square Peg In A Round Hole (MY Eng #53)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer', 'apples and oranges', 'cut to the chase', 'leave no stone unturned', 'that's the way the cookie crumbles', 'can't have your cake and eat it too', 'old is gold', 'putting the cart before the horse', 'mountain out of a molehill', 'pot calling the kettle black', 'bite the bullet', 'go the extra mile', 'silence is golden', 'the devil is in the details', 'sink or swim', 'once bitten twice shy', 'don't count your chickens before they hatch', 'don't put all your eggs into one basket', 'chicken and egg', 'walking on eggshells', 'flogging a dead horse', 'better late than never', 'storm in a teacup', 'between a rock and a hard place', 'darkest before dawn', 'empty vessels make the most noise', 'birds of a feather flock together', 'separate the wheat from the chaff', 'let sleeping dogs lies', 'open a can of worms', 'light at the end of the tunnel', 'trial and error', 'look before you leap', 'lightning in a bottle', 'on the same page', don't judge a book its cover', 'reinvent the wheel', 'shifting gears', 'throwing in the towel', 'jump on the bandwagon', 'passing the buck', 'breaking the ice', 'cracking the code', 'when it rains it pours', 'bigger fish to fry', 'ball is in your court' and 'back to the drawing board'.

At work or at school, we're often given things-to-do that are totally out of the scope of what we originally signed up for. Sure, there's always the odd mundane chore or two that lands on our in-tray. Booking the conferencce room when the administrative assistant's away on leave. Ordering coffee for some VIPs dropping by for a meeting.

Still, there should be always a limit on being tasked to do things that we're not supposed to be doing and really someone else's responsibility. Time is precious. Time spent on doing random stuff means time not being spent on doing important stuff that needs to be done, like since yesterday.

And then of course, there are just nasty people in every organisation looking for oppourtinities to make our lives miserable by making up unnecessary work just to make themselves feel important and seen as adding value.

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We're all guulty of it, to a different degrees. Placing unrealistic expectations on people just not cut out for the task. But why? There's really no point in trying to force a square peg in a round hole.

Sometimes, we feel like we're actually doing a favour for the unfortunate victim. Pushing their boundaries. Upskilling, reskilling, and all that ridiculous new-age jazz. We genuinely feel we can mould a square peg to become a circle instead.

That, of course, is fanciful thinking. Too much optimism on others. Or just overestimation of our own's ability to judge others. Yes, we're all prone to feel like we know what's good or better for other people - so much so that we push them to do things that they're not comfortable doing and feel strongly against.

And then there's just really nasty managers who just delight in bending people to their will with little regard of people's feelings...
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Me? I know what's good for myself. I'm well-aware of what I'm good at, and what I'm not. I do things because I enjoy doing them, I avoid things that I don't. Simple as that.

That's not to say I'm inflexible and uncompromising. Every now and then, I'm happy to ezplore or experiment things that I'm not particularly fond of (like tea-breaks or shopping). If you ask at the right time with the right tone, your wish is my command!

But at the end of the day, life is too precious spending time on things - as a wise sage puts it - doesn't spark joy. Live free, and life well!

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