Friday, October 30, 2009

A Big Glass of Shut-the-Hell-Up!

I don't often post about work here...I try to focus more on my personal life and opinions in my blog. But yesterday was a crappy day.

(Not in the whole scheme of things--I'm reading a book right now called Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir by Susan Isaacs, in which the author expresses a huge amount of Lutheran guilt...including guilt over being dissatisfied with her life, because after all, she admits, her problems are "a middle-class white girl's tragedies..." It's not Darfur.)

I can relate to feeling guilty about feeling sorry for myself--I have a wonderful life, a sweet and loving family, a great job (usually), and health, food, and shelter. Why do I let stupid people get to me and unsettle my usually good spirits?

Something happened to me at work that made me recall an upsetting incident in first grade, in Mrs. Lundgren's class. I stayed after school one day to be an aspiring teacher's pet, and painstakingly erased all the chalkboards clean. Mrs. Lundgren jumped to her feet and spanked me! Little did I know that she had kept a boy after school to copy everything off the chalkboard. I will never forget that one moment of misunderstood and unappreciated good intentions.

That's essentially what happened to me at work this week. I adapted an article from the web (and tailored it to my company) about how to become a cooperative and appreciated coworker, and several of my Publications colleagues elsewhere in the firm found the article to be insulting, and they interpreted me as saying that I didn't believe that we were already cooperative and respectful (and one of them sent me a very disrespectful e-mail). Heaven forbid that we should all think about how we can become better, more cooperative coworkers. Upon reflection, I realize that the people who complained about it were probably the people who most needed to read the message. (I must explain that the vast majority of the 300+ people who read the article across the firm found it to be completely innocuous, and some complimented me on it, but the vocal, angry minority won the battle. I didn't hear word one from any of the general employee base in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Hawaii, all of which received the link to the article.)

Ridiculous, really, but the whole incident really unsettled me...mostly because I remembered the incident with Mrs. Lundgren. I hate it when my intentions are misinterpreted.

A few of my colleagues who were aware of this drama yesterday were very supportive. One of them, with whom I've worked for 19 years, told me that they all needed to drink "a big glass of shut the hell up!" I love that! It made me feel so much better.

Next time someone says something disrespectful, stupid, or nasty to you, consider using that message (silently or out loud, depending on how combative you are)!

Fortunately I'm feeling much better about the whole thing today...and can put it all in perspective. Instead of thinking "Don't sweat the small stuff," I'm thinking "Don't sweat the small people."

1 comment:

  1. Must try to remember this. Our neighbors are constantly misconstruing our intent (and personalizing their interpretations). Sorry you have to deal with this at work. I'm dealing with the issue of feeling bad for myself and realizing most people would love to have it this "bad." But that realization doesn't help me in the meantime.