Wednesday, July 02, 2008

on being nice

yesterday i was in a meeting that traditionally begins by asking if anyone in the group has "opens" or open issues they need to discuss. naturally these opens are usually a problem of some sort.

p.s. i hate the term opens.

anyway, a coworker of mine says yes, she has one, and proceeds to praise me for the next 90 seconds or so. there was a huge, mind-numbing project that got split between 4 teammates and, long story short, i ended up doing approximately 80% of the project instead of my original 25%. i volunteered for that, because as i've mentioned before, my nemesis is boredom. and being me, i did that work very, very quickly. to be honest i don't really think much of that--that's just how i roll.

but because my friend a) made her declaration during a time normally tasked to problems and b) is very genuine AND effusive, this rubbed some of the 15-odd attendees the wrong way. over the next hour, several folks made snark. if person A mentioned that person B helped them with something, person C would go, 'hey, i want to hear more about how person B helped you. can you talk more about that?'

and so on. i also got called out 2 more times for various work-related proficiency by different people, and at the end of the meeting, when there are "closing opens", i was greeted with "yes, i would like to point out that heather has a really cool tshirt".

haha. after having to explain the shirt (...), i said, ok, no one gets to talk about me for a month.

because i knew that all this attention meant i was going to get teased, and not necessarily in a nice way. it's happened three times already, and each time there's this undercurrent of:

- who the hell are you anyway?
- you're so quiet--you *can't* be working as hard as *i* am
- why is nobody praising to me?

i don't mind recognition -- i am a leo, mind you -- but this left a bad taste in my mouth. and to be honest, i feel worse for my coworker. she has a sort of irrepressible but levelheaded enthusiasm that is refreshing in the workplace (perhaps i'll nickname her Sprite, or Long Island Iced Tea). she's also a little older and hopefully in this case, wise enough to withstand some mockery.

of course the saddest part is the people who felt they had to make fun of a very nice person. insecurity issues, anyone?


Pandababy said...

ahh, human jealousy... at least they didn't form a circle and tear you apart like a bunch of jealous chimpanzees are wont to do, but it makes me wonder how far 'evolved' we may be?

heather said...

i know. it was pretty pathetic. another thing i almost pointed it out is that it was almost exclusively guys who had the negative comments. since my friend was talking in a 'feminine' way, so to speak, it made it that much more obvious--their snarking almost a comment that 'only girls talk like that'.

Dharma said...

Ugh. Sexist and competitive behavior. My *favorite*. NOT! Yet another reason I have a hard time working in such settings. Of course it's bad for my checkbook but oh well.

heather said...

yeah, it's not fun. been a while since i've seen cattiness that overt, at work. most folks are too PC at work...and i suppose in that way, it's a blessing.

Capricorncringe said...

I hate having attention called to myself - even "good" attention. I would have crawled under the table.

It probably shouldn't surprise me (and yet, it kind of does) that it was men making snide remarks.

Then again, my boss gave me a Jesus pen, so what do I know? :)

heather said...

cc - i am very glad i don't have your boss!

otoh, what great fodder they are for the bloggies.