I enjoy coming to work, get a sense of satisfaction from good work and like that I get to use my brain and talk to other adults. Getting a paycheck is pleasant, too.
But I tend to keep my job in perspective. My life is all the stuff at home. My job is just a job. I like to tell people my paycheck doesn’t cuddle me and it’s unlikely to visit me in a nursing home when I’m old a gray. My kids might. My husband doesn’t get a choice.
So for something to get under my skin at work it has to either hack me off beyond all comprehension by violating my sense of right and wrong with nothing I can do about it. Not Holocaust right and wrong. Again, it’s a job not life and death. I'm talking about treating someone wrong. Yesterday I felt like I was the one that got treated wrong.
I’d innocently popped by to see someone with a question and a helpful idea only to have the conversation turn into semi-personal attacks about my work style. A couple people got chucked under the bus along the way, some doubt was cast on some friendships I thought I felt secure in and my wings felt generally clipped.
Um. Did I mention I just came with a question and a helpful idea?
I didn’t come for all the rest. What just happened? It felt like watching a train wreck. Except I’m in the car. I was surprised and didn’t really know where to go with it. It seemed to keep coming despite my best efforts to head it off at the pass. So I finally just found a lull in the conversation and politely said I’d be on my way. I resisted the urge to thank them for their time.
And then I went in the bathroom to cry like many professional women before me. Then I cried in a friend’s office. And then I somehow mustered a few quiet hours thinking about other things until it was to leave and head home to cry to my husband.
Those were all wasted tears. Tears I should have saved for something far more important. I wish I could take them back.
Everyone I tell the story to can’t believe the story doesn’t end with me giving the person both barrels. Apparently I’m a girl known for speaking her mind and holding her own. Apparently that typically involves both barrels. In the nicest, politest professional kill you with kindness way you’ve ever heard. But still both barrels.
But I was so surprised! I seriously went there with a question and a helpful idea and left beat down. Sheesh.
My husband called it an ambush. More than one trusted colleague said the person must have been having a bad day. And everyone agreed it wasn’t nice and I shouldn’t let it get to me.
Maybe it’s the lack of giving them both barrels that bugs me and that I wish I could go back in time? Maybe it’s the climb up the corporate ladder and the realization that plenty of people are not going to like me? Maybe it’s the struggle of not knowing who can be trusted and who is capable of lying to my face? Or maybe I was just tired and hungry. Because I can be a hungry wench.
My husband has been brainstorming good lines for me to use to end it quickly if something like it happens again. If I have a reputation for giving people both barrels, that’s a guy that knows how to give people five or six barrels and raze their entire village.
So far his best line involves mild cursing. He thinks it’s mild enough that I wouldn’t get in trouble for using it but still significant enough to make a statement to stop a speeding train. He suggests combining it with standing up and walking out. If I were a stand-up comic, it would be the equivalent of throwing the mike down and walking off stage.
|This guy right here could throw a mike down and make it count.|
But I told him I need to stay hidden away at my desk for a while until I feel up to giving anyone any barrels again. I must still be licking my wounds. I’m human. If you cut me, I bleed.
Today was a better day. If nothing else, there were no tears in a bathroom stall and that makes me happy. The long holiday weekend around the corner make me happier, though.