I have read the essay "How does one lead a rational life in an irrational society?" but I do not know how to apply it to real life situations, more specifically, irrational workplaces.
A small re-intro: I lived as a bad person most of my life. I guess I still do. I'm in my 40's and I don't have a stable employment situation or have managed to support myself longer than a few years without family bailing me out. I have read Ayn Rand for the first time over a decade ago. There was a serious attempt to be more self-responsible and I even got a job. Things seemed to improve for a while, but I never fully integrated her ideas into my life. I've disconnected from Objectivism. I feel that was a big mistake.
I have major problems with the jobs I get that I do not know how to deal with. I end going from starting to be very serious about my job and wanting to be a good worker who actually puts an effort and believes she will be rewarded for being honest, to a rebelious one who doesn't care anymore. And I rage quit jobs which I cannot afford to do.
On the induction day of one of the jobs, I was told we had no right to a meal, but we had a staff discount. In my first day I see other staff members just helping themselves with what they wanted to eat. When I commented to one of them "I thought you had to pay for your lunch" I was told "Oh, they just say that to new staff so they don't steal. The implied rule was that for "old staff" breaking rules is OK. Either because you are friends with management or because you are good at having management not catching you. Or some irrational nonsense like that.
So there I am in a new job among strangers, and I learn the first day it's a terrible place to be where people are dishonest. I'm expected to be accomplice in this dishonesty. A job which I got after months of unemployment. A job I'm still learning and that I am not very competent at yet. I actually depend on these older staff members that steal food to teach me the ropes. I didn't feel I was in a place where it was wise to complain. So I didn't.
And later when I complained to management, it was seen as me being weak and not coping, so I stopped complaining. On a few occasions, including my last day, I ranted on Facebook which was wrong and reported to management and I only quit because I think I was about to be fired anyway.
I can't say my hard work wasn't recognised in a way, because in part it was. My hours were increased, in one job my contract was extended and went from a part time contract to a full hour contract. Still temporary contract, sadly, but that's the nature of the business. But I always felt overworked, underappreciated and disposable. I felt the reward for hard work was more hard work. Perhaps my mistake was to expect appreciation in the first place and to care that other staff got away with being lazy, doing jobs wrong, calling in "sick", etc, when it wasn't my problem. But it felt unjust.
How do you remain rational in irrational work environments until you find better work? What exactly is the rational thing to do?