Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Co-Worker & the Kleenex

At work today I was given the suggestion that I tell a co-worker to just bug off. This was a suggestion given to me by somehow who I feel is an incredibly kind person, but who has just the right amount of attitude. Plus, she'd been watching me get picked apart by someone who isn't even in charge of what I do for the better part of my morning. This is not an exaggeration. I wish it were.

Pretend for a moment that you've been working at a new job for exactly a month (yes, I have been there 1 month today). The first week you felt a little overwhelmed, but a great deal of that was just because you couldn't believe that no one really knew anything about the super-basic computer set up in your office and that everyone seemed overly amazed by the fact that you are a competent human being and decent at your job. The 2nd week was very similar, but you stopped feeling overwhelmed and just felt good about what you were doing. You'd made friends with your co-workers and all was right with the world. The 3rd week was a little strange simply because you were good enough at your job that you ran out of work. No one expected you to accomplish all you did or at least not nearly that quickly, but you are GOOD at your job.

Then the 4th week rolls around. You think you finally know what you're doing. Your supervisor loves you and is constantly teaching you new things about the business. You enjoy this, but another co-worker starts making you crazy. They've been there a few months, and they've got the system ironed out and understood. You, on the other hand, ask lots of questions. In every previous job you've ever had, asking questions has been very much encouraged. You like doing a good job, so you ask questions to do your best to make sure you understand exactly what people want from you.

The co-worker starts working their magic. It starts out by them correcting little things. This is fine, you want to do a good job, so you don't mind having them make suggestions that will make things go faster and make life easier for everyone. But then they start to amp that up. By the end of week 4 you want to pull your hair out or possibly their's. Every little thing you do is apparently not done up to their specifications. They're constantly trying to tell you that you need to do something their way when the way you're doing it works just as well and your supervisor has no problem with it. And then, my personal favorite, the one that for whatever reason pushed me over the edge of my limits today: Kleenex.

Now...I'm sure you're wondering how Kleenex can be what made me want to snap, but it's no joke. Anyone who knows me is aware that I like to keep Kleenex around. I tend to sneeze a lot and at this time of year it gets a little ridiculous, plus I was sick about a week ago, and my sinuses haven't exactly been perfect ever since. So today I am working not at my desk, but in the "office" because I was learning how to do more of our filing. This was fine, and I was doing well, but I realized I was going to sneeze so I asked my supervisor to hand me a Kleenex. She did so and then suggest that I just hold onto the box until I moved back to my desk. I didn't ask for this to happen, all I asked for was one Kleenex, but Christy (my supervisor) just thought it would be easier. She wasn't upset or put out by this, it was her idea (my emphasis will make sense in a minute).

This is fine. Nothing is thought of this transaction, and life moves on. I keep filing and working on stuff minding my own business because I already had been given enough work to last me all day. When I got done with the filing I told my coworker I was going to go start on the next project Christy had given me so that they would know where to find me if I was needed. My coworker says alright and then motions me aside and says, "Do you know where the Kleenex are?" They proceeded to let me know, I thanked them and said that I already had a box on my desk (which, by the way, I had brought in from home because I have never worked for a company that provides you were Kleenex boxes. Fancy), and they responds with, "Well, you need to get one for this desk (by which they meant the extra desk which I was only occupying because Christy put me there this morning) so that you don't have to take Christy's." Now, I realize this statement seems harmless enough, but they'd been picking at me all morning and they gave me a rather scathing look that made me feel like they were a) accusing me of office supply theft & b) that I should be pitied for my extreme selfish stupidity. I said alright and then left for my next task.

I wanted to strangle her. Now, I'm not much for swearing, but I can tell you right now that the clouded conversation I was having in my head for the next 10 minutes was filled with a lot of minor profanity and a great deal of anger. If it hadn't been for the fact that the pharmacists requested my help and presence for the next half hour or so, I very easily could have said something incredibly rude which would have gotten me into a lot of trouble or at least would have caused a bit too much drama for an already overly busy and hurried morning.

Honestly, Kleenex?

Sorry, I realize this is silly and that I should probably find a way to properly deal with this coworker instead of writing this frustrated, anonymous tirade against someone who probably hasn't figured out that they're picking me apart and making me hate my job (which angers me even more because I really do love this job when I'm not being bossed around every couple of minutes by someone who assumes that every mistake is my fault and that they need to micromanage all my work even though they aren't my boss or supervisor). Sadly, confrontation is not my strong point, and I'm not sure how to handle this. Usually my anger just slowly burns until it ignites something all at once, or I suddenly become ice and that burns in its own way. Neither are good, and trust me, no one wants that.

Suggestions? I'd happily take suggestions on how to deal with this situation. I don't want to become a jerk, I don't want to hate my job, and I don't want to be mean to this coworker. I just really want them to leave me be.

Now, I'll leave you with this:

Favorite Things of This Very Moment:
  • The Last Olympian by Rick Roirdan
  • Sunshine and 77 degree weather
  • Ice tea
  • OneRepublic

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