Disclaimer: This ain’t about me or any place I am currently employed, so don’t pull me aside in the hallway or follow me out to the parking lot to ask me who I’m talking about. Ok, you may continue reading.
Let me ask yinna a quick question, and this ain’t rhetorical. I want you to email me later on and answer me truthfully because ya girl is doing a lil survey. How many of you hate your job? I mean like really hate your job. Like you’ve contemplated getting pregnant just so you could have three months off? And you’re a man.
I honestly think most people who are employed are grateful to be on someone’s payroll, especially during these challenging economic times. And I believe most people don’t necessarily hate what they do. It’s the people they work with and for who they hate.
The workplace is teeming with emotional bloodsuckers who make an eight-hour shift draining. Anyone who could make you consider walking away from a good-paying job when you have bills and mouths to food is dangerous indeed. It doesn’t matter where you work, the characters are all the same and you know them well.
Ms. “Watch out for.” Beware, for the wolf comes in sheep’s clothing. On every job someone desperate to gain your trust (and later betray it), will feel the need to let you know whom you need to watch out for. If you’re smart, you’ll immediately know it’s this person. You literally just started the job two hours ago and she’s already plotting. She’ll wait for all of your coworkers to go to lunch. Then, when the two of you are alone, she’ll slowly turn the volume down on her Kirk Franklin music and slither over to your cubicle. In between asking you about yourself, she’ll let you know that “Ms. Colebrooke” is not to be trusted. She’ll then take turns talking about all of the coworkers in the office, two of whom you’ll later discover are her children’s godparents. At this point, you should know to maintain military silence. Whenever she presses you for responses, quote Deuteronomy 14:8. Never mind that it talks about pigs being unclean. She’ll slither back to her corner until it’s time to talk about you.
Mr. Seniority. If you happen to have a degree, job experience and certifications, you’d better get in the habit of downplaying all of that. Do not hang any of your printed accomplishments on the wall or you can expect to feel the wrath of this individual. Even if you have a Master’s degree from Harvard, tell him you only got a leaving certificate from high school. This man’s been on the job from before you were born and he won’t allow you to walk up in here with some fancy degree and take over! This person is highly insecure and your accomplishments bring out the worst in him.
The spy who didn’t love me. This person is much different from “Ms. Watch out for” and in my opinion, more dangerous. How so? Well, Ms. Watch out for is transparent. You see this person coming from a mile away. You know what not to do or say while in her presence. However, the spy is much sneakier. I’m talking KGB territory. This person has a unique way of getting you to vent about your on-the-job frustration, but is so deadly that she injects her own commentary when retelling the story. The conversation goes something like this:
KGB agent: Girl, I thought you said you have to pick up your kids. It’s almost five, how come you ain’t gone yet?
You: Ms. Colebrooke just gave me more work and she knows I have to pick up my kids. Sometimes I feel she doesn’t understand how it is because she doesn’t have children.
That’s what you said. Here is what the KGB agent tells Ms. Colebrooke:
KGB agent: Ms. Colebrooke, she was in here carrying on and talking about how you working her hard knowing she gets off at five and you know she is a woman with children. She said you’re just mad because your eggs are dried up and you can’t have kids.
This is partly your fault. You said too much. I know you were speaking out of frustration, but you have to learn when you are being baited. After being burned once, you will learn how the KGB agent operates. They never say anything controversial. They never join in with badmouthing the boss or the coworker. They just state facts then take painstaking mental notes about what you said and how you said it. When dealing with the KGB agent, you say nothing. If you must say something, ask the person what they think about that. If they say nothing, you’ll know it was a set-up. If they slip and do say something, store it in the memory bank as ammunition for later use.
The helicopter. Most people who have proven themselves to be competent and trustworthy don’t need a supervisor hovering over their shoulders every second of the day. But, in every environment, you’ll encounter a micromanager who just can’t leave you alone. They give you work to do, then they stand by your desk pacing back and forth until you’re done. What they don’t realize is that it actually slows down the process. These creatures of habit don’t care that they are making you uncomfortable and they are oblivious to social cues. So, don’t think that they care about your exasperated sighs, twitches or pained expressions. Aside from confronting them about their behavior, there are two things you can do. Return the favor by constantly going to their office and invading their personal space every time you want to talk about a project. Most supervisors aren’t accustomed to being on the receiving end of such treatment. It’s like the movie Avatar when Jake Sully uses his banshee to hunt and eventually tame the toruk. The toruk was the hunter. He wasn’t used to being hunted. So, he didn’t know how to react. Hopefully, they will see how annoying it is and stop. If that doesn’t work, you could always break wind every time your supervisor comes around. That ought to stop ‘em.