Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pass the Tissues

I was thinking today about my “work” persona.  When I work, I focus on work.  I’m there to get the job done for which I’m being paid.  I’m not there to socialize, make friends, take 17 breaks, or waste time.  I’m there to do an excellent job, quickly and efficiently.  I want to get an A+, not be voted most popular.

I believe in boundaries, especially at work.  Not every person in the office needs to know my personal story, what I did over the weekend, or what I’m having for breakfast.  I’m not an open book, and my personal life is personal.  There’s no place for it at the office.  I don’t share my private life with my coworkers, and I don’t really want them to share theirs with me.  We’re there to get the job done.

What I’ve disliked most is having to share a cubicle or an office with “touchy-feely” coworkers.  Women who have wanted to chat incessantly, tell me everything about their entire life, share personal stories I’m not comfortable hearing, tell me about their marital woes, and cry on my shoulder.  And I’ve had to tell them that I’m neither their friend, nor their confidante, nor their psychiatrist.

Harsh.  Mean.  Rigid.  Cold.  Scary.

Yeah, I’ve been called all of these things.  But I got the job done and I did it well, so I didn’t care, really.  I checked in, got it done, and checked out.  I had a life outside of work.  I had friends outside of work.  I didn’t rely on my coworkers or my job to be my life.

However, I realized with time that it was okay to soften those boundaries (just a bit – let’s not go crazy).  After about two years at my last job, I began to let my guard down and started letting a select few people in.  I realized it was okay to chat for a few minutes in the hallway, to talk about my weekend plans, to lessen my glare.

The office became a friendlier place.  I built some wonderful friendships.  And I still got my job done.

But please, for the love of all things, don’t cry to me in the office.  I’ll pass you the tissues and get back to my work.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Intimidation Factor

Tonight I watched one of those wedding shows about bridal parties shopping for bridesmaid dresses.  In every group there was one bridesmaid who was out for herself, looking to please her own desires instead of those of the bride.  The selfishness these girls displayed was shocking and disgusting.

What saddened me more was that no one really stood up to them.  No one put them in their place.  No one said, “This day is not about YOU, so shut your mouth and do what will make the bride happy on her special day.”  I wanted to reach through the tv and punch them in the mouth.

I’m sure it’s easy for me to express my outrage while I’m on the outside.  That sabotaging bridesmaid is not my sister or best friend or childhood buddy.  But seriously - to sit there and take that crap would push me over the edge.

It made me think about why I’m not so easily intimidated by people.  By situations and circumstances, maybe.  But not by people.  Why would I be?  They’re just people.

What I AM intimidated by are some peoples’ accomplishments.  For example, advanced martial artists or Olympians, or those in the military.  Their level of dedication and discipline just blows me away.  Even someone like Oprah Winfrey, whom I do not particularly like for many reasons, is someone whose accomplishments are impressive to me.  Especially considering where she came from, she had to work extremely hard and make a lot of sacrifices to achieve everything she has today.

I’m impressed by those who overcome adversity.  Who work their tails off to make something of their lives.  Who give selflessly and sacrificially to others.  I’m intimidated by peoples’ altruism, creativity, self-discipline – traits I don’t always possess.

But that bridesmaid who insulted the bride to her face and acted like a brat on national television?  Not so much.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.