My teachers were right.

And I hate having to admit it, but there it is. When I was in school, my least favourite assignments were the ones where I had to work in a group. Not group assignments in class, mind you. Group assignments that took you out of class. Why? Because some idiot would always mess it up for everyone else.

Unfortunately, you’d still have to scramble and get it all done anyway, regardless of the idiot who didn’t know the difference between research and outright copying from the damn book. You know who you are. Or, the ones who were asleep at the wheel, so to speak. They’d look at something, and instead of thinking “Huh, maybe there’s a mistake here,” would promptly assume it to be correct, regardless of how obscenely wrong it looks, and go about whining when the end results were stupid.

At the end of the day? Teacher didn’t really care overmuch. What he wanted to see was a completed project, come hell or hurricane (I did do most of my schooling in South Florida, after all)! And that’s kind of how the real world works. The restaurant customer isn’t bothered that someone else forgot to make the sauce the night before. They want their food now. The policeman isn’t going to care that your wife forgot to fix your broken turn signal, he’s going to give you the ticket. Too bad, so sad. Tell your sob story to someone who cares.

Unfortunately, I’m in a position where I have to wait for someone else to finish their part before I can continue mine. This isn’t in the kitchen, or in the office. It’s more so that I’m waiting for numbers to come back from an outside source who is responsible to finish them correctly (because they were asleep at the wheel) before doing the stuff that I did do correctly (but was messed up because when the previous year’s numbers are messed up, the current year’s will be off as well). Unfortunately, like the teacher, customer, or police officer, the IRS isn’t bothered.

What have I learned from all of this?

Life isn’t always fair. Sometimes, because of the negligence or incompetence of someone else, your neck is on the line. That cannot be helped. What can be helped is your reaction to it. I could sit here, and complain that the actions of others are causing me grief. I could loudly bemoan the lack of good help nowadays. I could even give myself ulcers, because I’m so worried about this or that going wrong along the pipe, and screwing me later on.

Or, I can do everything else that can get done except for that one thing that I need the numbers for. Which I did do. I’ve got the forms fully filled, and ready to roll. I’ve got the boxes that I do need to fill in highlighted on the computer, so that I can make the corrections, and move forward.

This takes me back to filling out the FAFSA form when I first started college, and I needed federal aid to help me get through school. There were various spots that I had to wait on others for. My dad’s IRS forms. My W-2 forms from work. All sorts of other annoying pieces of information that I was missing.

What did I end up doing? I made sure that every other box in that form was filled out. My name, the address, the social security number. Essentially, the only boxes empty were the two or three that I literally could not fill out on my own. It made it so that when the time came to use said numbers that I was waiting for, I got through it rather quickly, and was able to send it off to the proper places.

The point is that life isn’t always in your full control, but you'll still have small bits that you can control. Take care of those, so that when you do regain full control, you’ll have an easier time of it.

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