Home » Life In General » It’s not you, it’s me. I guess.

It’s not you, it’s me. I guess.

I heard someone say – or read somewhere, I can’t remember – that most work problems have nothing to do with the job, the work, but with the people.  I am here to totally agree with and testify to that!

If you’ve been reading for a minute, then you know I was fired from my last job when my new boss basically decided that she didn’t like me.  Sure, that’s not the reason given on my pink slip, but that’s what it was.  Anyhoo, fast forward to October 2008.

My boss called us all (administrative support) in last week, read us the riot act, told us that we were not behaving or working in a manner that positively represents us as administrative professionals, and that we’re all “on notice.”  Here we go again.  We were told that we are turning in low quality work with poor grammar, missing deadlines, and displaying cavalier attitudes.  Now, I know I don’t do low quality work – period.  I am no grammar queen, but I work for a woman who probably doesn’t even know how to spell grammar, and I double, even triple check every thing I turn in to her.  Now the cavalier attitude?  That one was probably meant for me.  I don’t like being here, and it is a daily struggle for me to pretend that I do.  But I think that on most days I pull off the front rather well.  Anyhoo, now she’s walking around talking about we don’t “act” like we want to be here and that layoffs are probably around the corner.

Y’all – I am tired of this.  I don’t think that everything she said was directed toward me, but I can’t help but to doubt myself when it comes to my professional life.  I am never called to task for my work, but my attitude.  Thing is I don’t think I have a bad attitude.  I admit that I have a nonchalant attitude, I’m not an ass kisser (pardon my french),  not good with the whole schmoozing thing.  If I like you, I like you.  If I don’t, well then I don’t.  But that doesn’t mean I talk crazy (no matter how much I want to), am insubordinate or any of that jazz.  I’m just not a good fronter.  A non-fronter that does good work.

Do you all experience this at work?  Are you naturally bubbly (I’m not, in case you couldn’t tell).  Are you a supervisor?  What do you think about employees that don’t walk around cheesing all of the time?  Do you think they hate their jobs?  Do you think they hate you?  Do you accept it as part of their personality and know that it has nothing to do with you? 

I can’t help but think that I am continuing to go through this because I haven’t yet “gotten it,” I haven’t learned my lesson.  I’ve prayed about it.  I pretend – to the best of my abilities – that I like it here.  I get along with all of my coworkers – administrative staff, nurses, most of the doctors.  I always seem to have problems with my supervisors.

Any words of advice or wisdom would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance!!


13 thoughts on “It’s not you, it’s me. I guess.

  1. I have the same ‘problem’. I do my job, but when it comes to the ‘extra’ socializing, i’ll pass. At the end of the day, everyone (else) stands by the front door at 4:55 and talks until it’s time to go. I just….can’t. I’d rather sit in my office. When you ‘get’ it, let me know.

  2. A lot of law firms are like that. They want you to be a “good fit” and to keep up the “office atmosphere.” Any person they perceive to be a threat to that is cut; therefore, you learn to play the game. I had a friend once that didn’t do anything extra — she didn’t go to lunch with them, she didn’t participate in the 5k walk with the office, etc. Because she just didn’t want to do anything other than work and go home and because she really did just hate the job. I told her that at a law office this was not acceptable. Sure enough, when her performance eval came around, she wasn’t a team player, she was an awkward social fit in the office, she was standoffish (their words, not mine) and she was given a warning while all the 5k walkers were getting raises.

    Really, I don’t know. I’ve never had to deal with that problem before, but I can see your point wholeheartedly. I don’t know how you would solve it except “front” because the bottom line is that people don’t want to be around somebody that makes them uncomfortable. I think when my friend did start opening herself up more to people, she really did start to like the job better. And she ended up getting that raise.

  3. I can still both points of view. When interacting with people on the job you don’t want to deal with anyone who exudes “I don’t want to be here”, even if the work is up to par. I’ve worked with a few people like that…and it sucks…it sends off a bad vibe.

    On the other hand, I don’t walk round kissn’ folx behind either…nor am I all GOOD MORTING on Mondays. You have to find a middle ground, without compromising who you truly are.

    I hope it works out for you. My best friend is the same way.

  4. Y’all –

    Mmmkay, let me put this out there. My boss? She is a hater. I don’t know what word I would’ve used before hater became popular, but it really does describe her. She is insecure and it shows.

    I talk to everyone. But her. I mean, I talk to her, but you’re not going to find me laughing and chatting about her weekend, etc. When I talk to her, it is because she’s initiated the conversation, but I laugh and grin, whatever. No one in the office likes her. She’s hella moody – one day laughing, giggling, hugging folks, and the next calling us in the office telling us she’s going to fire us. We avoid her because we don’t know which of her faces we’re going to get on any given day. One of my dude friends up here? She told me not to talk to him anymore. WTH? Then I found out she tried to holler at him, was turned down . . .you get the picture. But hello? I’m married, he’s married, we’re just friends. Please remember this is the same chick that told us (admin staff) that we couldn’t go to lunch together. Ummm, you can’t tell us who we can and can’t eat with. Can you?

    My frustration – and I admit, I’m gun shy – is that I’ve been fired before because a boss saw my personality as “too strong.” I don’t want to go through that again. I can’t. I was unjustly fired once, I work for the state (again/still) and am an at-will employee. We’re all walking around scared – not sure if what we do/say is going to get us a commendation or our walking papers. It really sucks. It is not the job, it is her. The reason I don’t like being here is because I feel like I’ve worked too hard academically and professionally to be an Admin. Asst. doing the same dull stuff day in and day out. And that is not a put-down to the AAs of the world. Just not what I thought I’d be doing. Anyway, I’m rambling. I’ll stop. But she really is a hater!

  5. yeah, she’s a hater. could you all just get together and go complain about HER stoopit doody? I don’t know where those last two words came from….really.

    as an aside, what’s wrong with everybody’s categories box? mine was doing the same thing.

  6. Pretending to love a job you can’t stand is a terrible tightrope walk, isn’t it?

    I guess the only thing you can do is keep sending your resume out to other jobs, keep focusing on the things outside of your job that make you happy, and refuse to let your boss get to you. All of which I know is oh, I don’t know, ten trillion times easier said than done but I’ve been told that’s the best way to deal with a situation like this. And maybe keep documentation of incidents if your boss gets way out of hand.

    What isn’t the best way to deal with it is what I did when I first started the job I’m in now over the summer. Putting up TOO good of a front. Always smiling, ignoring snide comments, not really emphasizing that my skill set and education is above and beyond what’s needed to do my job, hanging out with co-workers I don’t particularly like…it drains you. Now I’m not putting up much of a front at all and that can’t be helping matters either, oh well.

    I enjoy reading your blog. I’ve been reading it for a while; this post compelled me to leave a comment.

  7. Great topic. This has been a problem of mine since I was an intern. I LOVE my job. Let me say it again, I LOVE my job, but at the end of the day work is work. And I’m not about to act like I LOVE every single task that I’m doing… or at least, I wasn’t about to at first.

    Man, now I’m the biggest song and dancer you’ve ever seen. You want smiley faces on my email, cool. You want me to work late and act like I like it, Cool. You want to give me 15 and 20 minute deadlines, ask for my expertise, then disregard it, give me bullshit work from time to time, fine, fine, fine.

    I play the game by the rules because if I don’t my excellent work, superior drive and creative ideas are going to get overlooked because I’m “difficult, abrasive and/or candid.” One day I’m going to be my own boss and God help me, I’m going to say what the hell I want to say. But right now, working for someone else I just have to bite my tongue (and leave my hangups and attitude at the door)… often.

    It’s hard, Nerd Girl. The thing is, it’s come up on my review several times, so it’s affecting the way people see me and my work which isn’t ok.

    And on the flip side, now that I have interns and admins working for me (oh yeah, I still got those promotions), I rather enjoy working with someone who SEEMS like they like working with me. The workers who just do the work and act like they’re bothered by it are the first to go.

    So yes, you’re in a position that sucks, but fake it to you make it girl and plan fabulous weekends (they always help get me through the workweek)!

  8. Oh yeah, last thing. I think it’s important to remember that just like you, your boss and your co-workers have lives outside of work and you have NO IDEA what they could be going through at home, with family, trying to get pregnant and cant, etc, etc. So everyone brings their broken selves to work and tries to function like a well-oiled machine and it’s really a mess.

    I’d say make an effort to at least once a week talk to her about nothing. Ask her how her weekend was, how her kids are (or family is, if she doesn’t have kids), ask her if she knows about any good sales at the mall. This is advice that was given to me when I first started and when I began to look at my manager as a person vs. my nemesis, it made things SO much better.

    Keep us posted. We’re all in your corner homie!!!

  9. You can’t look at it like that. As if you’re azz kissing. Listen…those folks are paying you for eight hours a day. Basically…for eight hours…TOW THE LINE! Do whatever you have to do to get noticed and get you promoted thereby making more money. Yall gotta play the game man…it’s just that simple. For 8 hours a day just do it. Once the money starts getting better and better then I PROMISE your outlook will get better and then you’ll find you are having to fake it less and less.

    Corporate America is just Hollywood Nasdaq style. Getcho act on man. Give em what they are paying for you. This is NOT the time to be out of work cuz a whoooooooole lot of people are out of work too. And to be out of work without being able to use your last boss as a reference because of a perceived bad attitude? Very, very, VERY hard. No matter WHO you know.

    Until you work for yourself or are the boss’ favorite person…you gotta tow the line. I’m sorry to have to be so blunt.

  10. I totally understand where you’re coming from. Luckily, I don’t always have to be “on”, but it can be duifficult to reconcile the fact that you don’t naturally walk down the hall with a cheese-eating grin on your face with knowing that coworkers feel you have an attitude. I go through that, too.
    I can’t advise you to act differently. You have to have a good middle ground. Like pserendipity said, try taking baby steps. You may not become the social butterfly of the office, but you don’t want to be.
    What’s worked for me is that I work in an isolated “nook”- people come to me then they need to see me. I work well with my limited number of coworkers, and my immediate supervisor and boss both think I’m a hoot. We get along great. I don’t immediately take to people, but the more outgoing people have put it out there that I’m “shy until you get to know her.” So that’s kind of been my safety blanket. So keeping one good work associate may keep you from being labeled as completely antisocial. I’m polite, but not really friendly.
    Good luck. We’re in the same boat. As soon as I get my degree, I’m outta here. I like my ‘role’, but I have to strike out to make more money, and that means I may have to get out of my shell. Or I may continue to build myself up as “the shy one,” while in my mind, I’m thinking of that I’d REALLY like to say to some people. I don’t take any crap at work (don’t let the shy fool you), but I really don’t feel like my true, away-from-work self would be a good corporate fit.

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