Update chez nous

I’ve been an employee of some organisation or another for the biggest part of my life. And there are times when the workplace more closely resembles the schooplayground than I feel it rightfully should.
Am I being naive?
Is it really an inevitable outcome that when adults, with varying degrees of power (both the innate, personal power which is generated by particular personalities and the formal power conferred by position, role and rank) and with disparate personalities and needs, are brought together under intense work pressure and within the auspices of one office or department or project – that their behaviour begins to regress?
Intense pressure shines a spotlight on individual vulnerabilities. The fissures begin to appear. The bad behaviour begins to surface… 
Personally, I am ill-suited to this type of environment. I become ill when I feel I cannot be sure of those around me. Where you never quite know who is talking to whom. Where rumours and whispers abound. Where punishment is meted in a poisonous but subtle exclusion. 
But others appear to thrive.
I’ve tried to simply “get on with the tasks in hand”. Tried to ignore the rumours and the whispers and the malcontents spreading poison and the people who befriend simply for the information you can impart (why do you (me!) aways find these folk out too late?). 
Surely one of the saddest biblicalines is “Trust no-one. Not even thine own Father”… Why am I reminded of this line? 
Surely the workplace does not need to be like this? And surely it is a sick workplace that is like this?  
Unfortunately, it all reminds me of school. Of when I was a frightened too-clever outsider child in a small school with a small and particular pool of children. Of a time when peace of mind was predicated on whether you were “accepted” by the “in” girl and her gang. On whether you would give “in” girl your answers in class – or risk her “telling everyone not to speak to you”. And on the horrible knowledge that such acceptance could and would be suddenly and arbitrarily withdrawn. That it was built on sand. And that sand is forever shifting. 
I welcomed adulthood as a relief from all of that. And then I discovered that the world of work could be that playground, but with added bells. 

Anyway. All that is just so much shit.

The fact is, I am not too happy today – so maybe my views are a bit jaundiced and uncharitable. My Mum is ill and will need surgery. I’ve watched my Dad nurse his fears. I am frightened myself.

I am a worrier. By nature, I fret. And this latest installment in the family saga is a worrying one. 

10 thoughts on “Update chez nous

  1. I'm sorry about your Mother…and for your Dad.
    I've been too close to it too often not to feel for them and for you.

    But as for the workplace…!

    Isn't it enough to do to just do the job?

    I have a feeling, based on experience of the unfortunate outcomes of office politicking, that a bit less of it would provide great benefits in that the participants might just get on with doing what they are paid for.

  2. I'm sorry to hear about your worries.

    I totally agree about the workplace. I feel I am lucky to have an excellent working environment even if I could do something more challenging. Peace of mind comes at a price, and I'm happy to pay it because the cost of stress is far-reaching.

  3. So sorry to hear about your mother. Frightening for all who love her and of course the effects rub off on all aspects of life including the workplace. I was reasonably lucky during my working life in that I more usually had to deal with incompetence than with politicking and pernicious gossip. The latter must be very hard to have to deal with day in, day out and you have my sympathy.

  4. Thank you all so very much for your kindness…
    Mum has cancer – but a hysterectomy may be all that is required. It is a too powerful word “cancer” – it slays the ability to think rationally… We will think good thoughts…

  5. Muj best to you and the family…now matter how effectively it might be dealt with that's a scary situation.

    As for the work stuff…***** 'em. The only thing you can control is how you react to them. It's nothing…unless it becomes a direct threat to your job. At which point you break out the leather britches and the claws.

  6. I'm so sorry to hear about your mum, and I really hope that surgery will bring about a quick and complete recovery. I've been there with my dad (though it was bowel cancer in his case) and I was scared as all hell, but he made it through with flying colours. All the very best.

    As for your workplace issues… oh yes. It's so true. I have found, unfortunately, that women tend to be worse than men when it comes to virulent and anxiety-provoking high-school-esque bad behaviour in the workplace. Men just walk down the hall and shout at each other a bit, and the air is cleared. Women tend to fume and seethe and backstab instead. In my last workplace, when I had the energy I would go and grab the bull by the horns and have a quiet and gentle word with whoever seemed to be doing the most quiet/nasty seething and backstabbing. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it just made things worse, especially for me…

  7. I hope that all goes well for your Mum and that the worry caused to her and those around her is soon over.

    I found in my working life that there was a significant tendency amongst the more highly trained and educated workers in the social services and education to spend more time fighting than caring. Sad but, unfortunately, true.

    I would echo efb's words “The only thing you can control is how you react to them.” The moment that we let people get under our skin is the moment that they achieve their objective. Never was there a less true saying than “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.”

    Kia kaha!

  8. Thanks GB – will email you. But e.f.s words are helpful and it was good to hear them from you. People like that only have the power we allow them. And I have decided not to grant any power.
    Mum is alright just now. Yx

  9. Am sorry to hear about your mum. That is the thing that matters. Your bloody colleagues can go stuff themselves.

    I completely recognised your description of the pettiness of workplace politics. I hated it. Now I'm working from home and in control of my environment I realise how much energy I wasted on that stuff – for years!

    To achieve detachment is what you want but I know it is far easier said than done. I respect you and think you will be able to handle this.


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