Remember the other day when I was telling you that I hoped to become less judgmental and mean? I want to state up front that THIS, this here post, is DIFFERENT than that. So no need to remind me I said I’d try to be more kind. I’m still committed to that.
Here’s the thing. People. Are. IDIOTS. It’s true and you know it. It’s not a kind thing to say but holy hell the sh-t people come up with, the BS they spew, it sometimes makes me feel just a teensy bit violent. I see things on Facebook that beg the question…”WHY WHY WHY are you telling people THAT?! WHY?!”
No, no, I’m not talking about any of you who are FB friends of mine.
I’ve had past jobs in which I’ve let idiots (lovely people can be stupid too) change how I’ve felt about the organization and the job. For someone who puts a lot of energy into her work, this can be infuriating, and it can ruin a perfectly good thing. It changed how I felt about getting up in the morning and going to work, how I felt about sticking around the office and really buckling down, how I felt about bringing work home, and frankly it made me a much less effective worker. All because of other people…not because of my day to day interactions with my clients…I let those idiots get the best of me.
And don’t ever let me paint a picture of myself as someone wiser than most…this has happened to me more than once. And by “happened” I mean I’VE let other people get the best of me. More. Than. Once. Who’s the idiot now (see what I said about lovely people being stupid too?)?!
At my last job the song “which one of these things is not like the other” was playing in my head every day I went to the office. It wasn’t a good fit, which is fine and I always learn from those experiences, but the social interaction part of work was BRUTAL. And I mean seriously brutal. There was almost nothing to talk about with my colleagues. I had so little in common with any of them. Because of that, I would sit in my office, and listen to crickets chirping all day. I can’t survive on so little social interaction. I need SOMETHING from my colleagues. I mean I can talk about almost anything… shopping, or kids, or health, or pop culture…just about anything. But there was so little common ground that I just stayed in my office alone. I was an only child until I was 15…I like hearing myself talk and the inner commentary is great but as I’ve said before, I can get sick of myself, and quickly if I have nobody else with whom to converse.
I complained all the time. My husband, who is much better at tuning out the “noise” of people he doesn’t care about, would just tell me to ignore it and to do my job. But I whined and whined. To me it was more about WHY these people said and did this, and WHY they didn’t do this, and WHY nobody understood what I was trying to convey in all-staff meetings…WHY, WHY, WHY?!! It always felt awkward and forced (two things I don’t typically experience when talking to others so I have to assume it was them…not me). Thankfully, I was recruited by another organization, and soon enough I was in a new office full of people I could relate to and who fully appreciated my humor.
Two jobs ago I got involved in office politics and things got very negative very quickly. I was surrounded by people who would come to MY office to b-tch and moan. And surprise surprise, even though I was not having the same experiences that my colleagues were, hearing about it constantly made me slowly begin to HATE my job. It felt so gross to hear stories about my colleagues and to hear how unhappy they all were. I let it reshape my feelings about my job, the office culture, and the organization.
Unfortunately, idiots are not relegated to the office. We are forced to deal with people that don’t meet our standards of intellect, grace, tact, grammar, etiquette, kindness, etc. every day. If I corrected grammar or actually winced when people told me things I felt were inappropriate for them to tell me every time it happened, not only would I be widely known as a snotty b-tch, but I’d be in a constant state of irritation. I think there are people out there who do go after the people that irritate them, and tell them why, and I can’t imagine the energy it sucks. I may not do that, but don’t let me fool you, I don’t always let it go either. I let it get to me.
As I mentioned above there are people who post the most ridiculous things on Facebook. Sometimes when I read it, I tell my husband about the inane things people are posting, and he suggests that I “hide” those people. ‘Well that would be silly,’ I think to myself, I mean what they’re posting IS ridiculous but to go so far as HIDING them?! It seems a little rash.
I’ve been thinking about it though, is it better to see the ridiculous posts and go postal over them, OR is it better to not see them at all? Hmmm.
When I started my current job I decided I was NOT going to get involved in office politics under any circumstances. I could hear whispers of my colleagues almost immediately after I started and I just was not willing to participate. Only three weeks after I started I was in the car with several of my new colleagues and another fairly new guy started talking smack about the heads of our department. My options were to listen (you can’t really walk away from the conversation when you’re in the back of a minivan doing 60 on a highway) or to put a stop to it…even though I was brand spanking new at the company and even though I might come off b-tchy. Never one to avoid coming off as b-tchy I told him I didn’t think chatting about it amongst ourselves would do one bit of good and that I, for one, wasn’t interested in doing so. From that point forward people never talk to me about office politics, their disappointments with their jobs, or what they don’t like about our company. In addition, because of that day, I don’t feel any hesitation in walking away if a conversation seems to be heading in that direction.
If I can do it at work, couldn’t I also do it in real life? I don’t know about you but I am forced to deal with some really challenging people on a regular basis. There are times that their behavior throws me for a loop and I can’t get over it. Even though, for all practical purposes, their stupidity doesn’t REALLY affect me or my life. I have this weird need for justice, or for understanding, or for truth, and sometimes I get so worked up trying to make people GET IT when there is no way in hell that they will ever. EVER. Get it.
Similarly, is it doing me any good to NOT hide the idiots on FB who need me to know WAY more information than even my best of friends would share?
I’m thinking no.
Maybe ignoring those with whom I don’t agree, or who are spewing ridiculousness, or who are simply being so so stupid, might do me a world of good. Lord knows I can’t CHANGE any of these people. So…
TODAY: What if I chose to IGNORE people with whom I can’t see eye to eye? What if instead of spending hours/days trying to figure out how to MAKE THEM UNDERSTAND I just let it go? What if I decide that while people may be idiots, I’M the idiot if I let them get to me?
PS – I’m well aware of the fact that I may be one of the IDIOTS of whom I speak in somebody else’s opinion. Or maybe not…probably not. I mean…I can’t imagine…