He was going about it the wrong way.
Who does he think he is?
Someone was challenging him by consistently and persistently invading his space. Or, at least, that was how it appeared to him.
Who do they think they are?
He reached down to his toes and took a long, deep, calming breath.
I hope they don’t think they’re going to impose themselves on what I am doing.
His peers were not his competition, nor were they his rivals. He kept trying to drill that thought into his overactive brain, but either the drill-bit wasn’t sharp enough or his mind was damn near impenetrable.
He stood tall, raised his biceps to his temples and stretched towards the dim ceiling lights.
He barely touched his coffee. It at at the corner of his desk near a mound of confidential files and it was probably getting cold.
He was too anxious for coffee at the moment. His coworker walked by, but he was indifferent about what they thought at the moment. Sort of.
Do they value me?
He took one last breath before taking a seat before his dusty keyboard.
There was nothing he hated more than a person shoe-horning themselves into his work. Especially if that person wasn’t made for that work. Didn’t live or care for that work.
I bring value, right? He kept pondering to himself.
What did he offer his workplace, his other workplace, his relationships that they could not find anywhere else.
Hard work didn’t count. Anybody could work hard. Availability or kindness didn’t count either. Those weren’t rare or invaluable skills or talents in his opinion.
He checked his phone.
There was a missed call from his mother.
He took his phone off of Do Not Disturb.
The idea he couldn’t figure out what value he brought frustrated him and made everything he knew and thought he knew feel worthless.
He pushed his rolling chair away from his computer and claimed his lukewarm coffee.
Anybody can buy a camera or pick up a pen. Anybody with money or time on their hands, but does that make them professionals.
His stomach to turn.
He felt he needed to hit his heavy bag.
But he needed to figure out what set him apart from the weekend warriors and hobbyists or big spenders who believed wielding a camera or pen made them something. More importantly, he needed to figure out what made him any different.
He stood from his desk.
He needed to find out, and fast. He wasn’t getting any younger and his insecurities, his need to always compete with his peers was becoming counterproductive and stifling his progress.
He locked his PC.
He needed to understand that any peer who put pen to paper or pointed a camera was not his competition, nor his rival, and that it was okay for them to want to do what he does. He needed to stop being so self-important. He would be looking for a professional to help him work through those dark, counterproductive dispositions and insecurities.
He left his office to warm his coffee in the microwave.
He planned to work light that day and answer very few emails.
What his peers were doing were not his concern. He needed to focus on himself, and if anything, figure out what sets himself apart– for himself, and not others and set it for one minute.
He planned to reach out to his peers to applaud them for what they were doing. They were not his competition, nor his rivals.