The workplace and its concealed real life characters have been the consistent subject of my posts. While most of the stories I shared related imperfections and negative experiences, please don’t develop the impression that I hate my second home. I love our institution and its accompanying weaknesses.
For this post, YES I will blog another experience and realization that sprouted at the workplace.
After having been the only subordinate in the office, my Boss welcomed a new addition to our two-man team. We can finally call our office as a team.
The newest recruit is not after all new at the workplace. He was employed years ahead of me. He used to report to another department. Similar to my story, he was transferred to our office, with a new job title and assignment. Truth to be told, I PREFER ANOTHER PERSON. If I sound too harsh and blatant, let me rephrase. I DON’T TRUST HIM ENOUGH. Different but everything boils down to the idea that if given the chance to choose a colleague, he’s not included in my selfish list.
I have my own set of objective and subjective reasons why I don’t like him. Much of it arose from the undesirable encounters. The most prevalent was when he requested me to generate the statistical tables for his masteral thesis. For those who know me, this is what I actually do for freelance. I use my advanced knowledge in Statistics to assist masteral to doctoral students in finishing their thesis or dissertation. I generate statistical tables, provide interpretations and thread everything to a one great report for a minimal professional fee. Let us just say that he was one of those people who took advantage of my kindness and underestimated my professional services. He asked me to generate his paper’s statistical tables and demanded as if HE WAS A PAYING CLIENT. To be honest, he was actually more demanding than my paying clients. He was one of those people who made me feel that my services don’t deserve any compensation. I also realized that he was one of best people who has the tendency to use friendship as a pathway for personal advantage. Oh well, I just have to mention and emphasize that HE WAS NEVER COUNTED AS A FRIEND.
His reputation was already tainted. I’m already subjective but I gave him a fair chance. We started working and soon enough, I discovered his immature and annoyingly flawed ideals.
When another conceited colleague left our office, he told me that he is straight forward and hates to play pretend with colleagues he doesn’t like. In colloquial parlance, he claims that he is not plastic. He avoids conversations and interactions with people who failed to earn his respect. He cannot pretend to be good with people he deems as bad.
I respect his principle even though I don’t adhere with it. I didn’t bother to express my contradiction. As most of you know, I hate arguments. If that’s how you see things, fine. I will not stress myself from engaging to an unnecessary debate. In my mind and heart however, I wanted to share my own set of unwritten realizations and personal wisdom I gained from the workplace.
He is years older than me but at that point, I was able to prove that maturity does not come with age. Wait, did I mention that he teaches this subject termed as Human Behavior in Organization? Oh well, what about practicing what you preach?
Back when I was just starting to work, I imbibed the same principle. I don’t like you and you have to settle to my selfish and immature conviction. I will ignore your existence. I vow to never make any single conversation with people I hate or I don’t like. No good mornings, Christmas greetings or even the simplest hi and hello.
I remember sharing this principle with an older friend who treated me like a little sister. Ate B told me that I shouldn’t treat undesirable colleagues that way. She encouraged me to wear the shoes of the good and patient person. I never listened and held on to my selfish conviction. Ate B’ told me that whether I like them or not, there’s a high chance that we will need to collaborate and work together. If I continue to impose my hardheaded conviction, I will end up stressing and punishing myself.
Years after, I realized my immaturity and followed Ate B’s advice. Along the way, I discovered, learned and experienced the most important yet unwritten principle in any workplace.
This is what I wanted to tell new/older colleague. Back off your hard and selfish convictions. The righteous colleague prefers to be good, patient and civil.
At some point, I believe that colleague will tell me that being civil is the professionally disguised term for being plastic. Both may appear as pretending that everything is fine. I beg to disagree then. There’s still an evident line that separates being civil as against being plastic.
Being civil means choosing to become the professional and educated person. You chose to be in the shoes of a good person because this has been the universal rule carried out by the educated human beings. As a good person, you allowed your heart to prevail than the often selfish conviction of the mind. You love and value your company. To prove and practice this, you decided to become good to everyone. In the future, when the company requires you to collaborate with people you don’t like, you will forget your personal convictions in exchange for the success and gain of the company.
Being plastic is much different from being civil. Plasticity means wearing a fake mask of a good person. After the encounter, the plastic colleague will wear the hat of an evil backstabber. He will spread fake or exaggerated stories of complaints against the hated colleague. Giving gifts, rendering fake praises and all those artificial sugar coatings make the plastic person.
Being plastic is forcing yourself to be good. Being civil is planted by the mature mind and the heart that understands the welfare of the organization. Being plastic means pretending to be good while being civil is choosing to be good.
So there dearest colleague .. It’s hard to be civil but at the end of the day, you have to remember that we are in the same boat. We should row to one direction and throw away those excess baggage of selfish convictions to accelerate and reach that destination.