02 March 2008

To be personal

Today was a really really rough day-- I actually found myself ranting to my coworkers in an email about certain practices! Probably not the most professional, and not the smartest, but I've never agreed with the blame game or the chain of bad blood. I cannot handle those people who take their bad moods out on others or who feel like because they've been wronged, the best way to make things better is to ruin someone else's day just as much as their day had been ruined. What is this, third grade? You stole my crayon, so I'm going to steal someone else's to make up for it? Anyway, one of the people I snapped at actually apologized and wrote a really courteous email saying that the situation had been handled poorly-- to this person I of course apologized back. But overall I still feel like it's so much easier to blame someone else than to try to make things work. I know I do it, but I also know that I do it far less than most people. Another email I got later in the day pretty much picked up right where my angst had left off. I think some people just don't really get the concept. When did human decency go out the window in the workplace? Overall I'm very happy at this job, but sometimes I do notice areas in which things are eerily similar to my last job, namely in that speaking harshly is acceptable and those on the receiving end are told not to take things "personally."
What a ridiculous saying. We are people. I am a person. I am not a robot or a walled, emotionless being. I'm going to take things said to me personally, because they feel personal when said in a tone of attack. Even if I know it's deflecting blame, even if I know that it's someone having a bad day, I will still take meanness personally because that's how I am. I'm sensitive. When did sensitivity become just as passe as corsets and male maturity? And just because you say that something isn't personal, that just means it isn't personal to you.I think that in the workplace we should take things personally. Maybe if we thought about our coworkers, business associates, and clients as people the work world would be a much more humane place. I treat everyone with respect because I think that that's how I would want to be treated. It will be interesting to see what the fallout from my harsh speech will be. I think I'm often thought of as a punching-bag.I don't want to develop a thicker skin. That's not how I am, and I can't bear the idea of having to close myself off to processing emotion. But people say I will be killed in the work world if I don't build up a rock wall around myself. How do you compartmentalize yourself that way? When I'm in the office nothing anyone says to me has any significance or bearing on my character? That's not something I'm capable of.I can't help but thinking of Kathleen Kelly in You've Got Mail when she wisely remonstrates Joe Fox: "What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn't personal to you. But it was personal to me. It's *personal* to a lot of people. And what's so wrong with being personal, anyway? Whatever else anything is it ought to begin by being personal." I guess all of this is just further proof that I'm from a different time and a different set of values, and reinforces the fact that I can relate to very few people...


Chele said...

GREAT POST, i so agree with you. I hate it when people say ├»ts not personal¨Arrgh just piss me off, you are so right on with this. I also hate it when people say ¨you should stop being so sensitive¨ or something in that direction, why is that such a bad thing? isnt that a good thing?

Anyway, what is that a photo of by the way? Been staring at it trying to figure it out

HollyG said...

ha it's a champagne flute (one of those cheapo plastic numbers) with champagne and a crystallized ginger heart at the bottom. I thought it looked kind of funky.
So glad you understand!!

Alya said...

Ur not alone in this. I'm sure other coworkers feel just the same but dont want to break down that wall they have going on.. Anything that is said that might affect my self esteem or my feelings is indeed personal! It was said TO me, ABOUT me, me me me! So how can it NOT be personal?

It IS personal, but I have to make a choice: either it knocks me down, or I shake it off.

I just started work, and a good friend of mine works in the same dept, she gave me some good advice. Do your job. Dont have high expectations. Keep a distance from coworkers. That's just what they are CO-WORKERS. In the end, you dont want to take them home with you (emotionally and physically). And dont show them how smart or ambitious u are. The claws will come out.

Btw, I thought the pic was of a lava lamp.