Being The Reliable One: A Blessing and a Curse

by Peter Marus

"Oh, you're so reliable" 

"I'm glad how you are the reliable one". 


I have heard that crap for so long.  It's nice to be recognized, but it feels like a back-handed compliment.  Sure you get kudos and the "atta boy!", which I admit makes me feel a little good and makes the BS I did worth it.  But in the end you rarely get moved up in rank or in pay, yet the others around you who are the "free spirits" do.

I'm wired to be the one who always shows up early (15-30 minutes before the agreed on time), I am the one who always does the job, I am the one who will help others out when needed.  Why? THATS WHAT I DO!!!  I've had this engrained in me since I was a child, and I can't change it.  It wouldn't feel right.

Look at your family, your job, your friends, and you'll see either you are one of the reliable ones or not.  The reliable ones are like me: get there on time, do what has to be done just because they do that.  The others are the ones that show up late, screw around, and are unpredictable when it comes to if they will show up next time or not.  What pisses me off is the others are the ones that get moved up or rewarded for their nonsense. 

Like I said earlier, I am the one who get to where I am supposed to go to (work, family/friend matter, etc.) 15-30 minutes early.  I want to make sure I am there on time, delays won't make me late, and surprises at where I am going can be fixed before the time of the event.  There are others who will show up late due to being unprepared or not caring about being on time, get overwhelmed with any unforeseen complexities or problems, and do at best a half-assed job.  To me, this crap is an insult to everyone else and shows lack of class.  But these are the people who "get ahead in life".

Another point that irritates me is that the other people will at the very last minute call out of work or an obligation they agreed to for no reason, leaving people like me with more work to do.  Or the other people will go away for a week on a vacation they planned two days before.  Again, screwing over the reliable people.  I would never do this crap just because I feel like it.  Any time I took a day off at work was always for some medical reason, family emergency, or a matter that had to be dealt with.  I think I only have taken one "mental health day" in my entire career.  I plan vacations weeks, even months ahead and tell my job when I am going, so they are ready and there's less headaches for me.  But again,  the lesser "other people" get ahead somehow.   

Are reliable people taken advantage of, absolutely.  Their assets are their greatest faults, myself included in this.  But the thing is that reliable people are usually assets needed, and could leverage it into more money or better positions, but usually they won't until they absolutely have to.  I know, I have and can say I probably in that position.  We can't screw others over and use our position of being the linchpin holding everything together.  Why?  It's not in us, it's not in our genes.  Many like me just aren't built to do that, as much as we want to.

Occasionally, you get rewarded, but it's more short term, almost just enough to keep you going type things.  It's almost never a raise or bonus.  That's for the screw ups in the other category.  

I envy the other people sometimes, where they don't care and somehow things work out.  I wish I could be as careless as them, but it's not in me.  What is in me is a focus to make sure what I need is done and help others when needed.   



In short, being the reliable one in anything; blessing that it gets things done, a curse where you are always asked to do all the work and they know you will.  It's a habit that is almost impossible to break from. 


Thanks for for reading this