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 school playground 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 biblical lines 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 And on the horrible knowledge that such acceptance could and would be suddenly and arbitrarily withdrawn.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.