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Thursday, April 22, 2010

War and peace

We spend one-third of our lives working. We spend one-third of our day trapped in a building with random people working on random tasks. For those of us who have spouses, we probably spend as much -- if not more -- time with our work colleagues than with our spouses.

Therefore, it is not unreasonable to expect that you will develop friendships with these people. You carpool, go to lunch together, work closely together on various projects. Surely, you will find someone at your work with whom you share common bonds.

You may even have friends with whom you get together after hours. These may be friends with common interests, friends who live nearby, or just people whom you'd like to get to know better.

And, there's always the person who's like that cousin no one wants to sit next to at holiday dinners. This person might be chicken little, thinking the proverbial sky is falling. But most oftentimes, this person is trying to be everyone's pal, playing each side of the fence and generally stirring things up at the office.

I don't like office politics. I am paid to come to work everyday, do my assigned tasks and then leave when they are completed. On the rare occasions that I have enough free time to take a lunch, I often go by myself. I don't need to have friends at work; I am just getting paid to do a job. I am way too busy to try to stir things up, even if I were the type of person to stir things up.

I don't have to be anyone's friend. In fact, it's probably better if we are just cordial enough to do our jobs.

But I also don't need someone to tell me they have no problem with me and then refuse to talk to me. I don't have to be anyone's pal, but I do have to do my job and when someone's attitude problem is impeding my ability to work, then we have a problem. No one deserves to work in a hostile work environment, and when there are doors slamming and someone will not even communicate on shared office tasks, we have a problem.

I am on this kick where I stand up for myself, and I really have no choice but to do it in this case. I am going to try to talk to this person like a grown-up, although I am really suspecting that could be a major stretch. If that doesn't work, then I am going to have to go higher up.

Because no one should cry at work everyday because of how they are being treated by a co-worker. For God's sake, we are adults and we shouldn't be subjected to junior high games. I didn't like junior high in 1990, and I really don't like it 20 years later. Not going there.

And how come things only get really super-shitty at work when the economy is bad? Nobody hates you when there are jobs everywhere. I guess that is because when there are jobs everywhere, people who are miserable move on and don't try to make it miserable for everyone else.

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