Friday, March 14, 2014

When Things Are Complicated

The job that I currently have, and which I have had for two years now (!!), has been challenging in a number of ways I could not have anticipated. Middle management, for one thing, is just as bad as it has traditionally sounded to me. I avoided managing people for years for this reason. As a middle manager, you are sandwiched between your boss and your employee(s), and must run interference when there is a problem on either end. Managing people takes an insane amount of time and energy, and quite frankly, I already have children so I don't find managing adults all that fulfilling.

I work with someone who has naturally-occurring high levels of stress, to the extent that every speed bump is a ten on a scale of one to ten. She takes work-related things personally. If someone doesn't respond to an email in a timely fashion, for example, she tells me she hates that person, and from then on, that person has a terrible track record in her eyes. She also then gives attitude to that person, who understandably does not enjoy receiving attitude and thusly, tries to avoid working with her. 

I explain to her how she can't respond to people from a place of hostility, how it will work better if she recognizes everyone has multiple demands on their time and her request is just one of multiple requests that each person has to manage for themselves. I urge her to approach co-workers in a spirit of collegiality rather than as adversaries who have perversely decided to ruin her workflow and her life.

I am turning the tables on myself and for my own sanity, not taking things my boss does personally. I do pretty well with everyone else, but my boss can come across as rather judgmental (she is a bit of a perfectionist). You can see how this might make me a bit nuts between the two.

So today, I give you this:

In case you can't read it, it says: 
The sun is up
The sky is blue
It's beautiful
And so are you

It's a postcard for a business called Lyrical Kids, which offers "music classes for babies, kids, and their grown-ups."

It is a simple message. I keep it by my desk to remind myself when things get complicated. They don't always have to be.


Bridget said...

Your post hit home today. I have to deal with two toxic people once a month and it takes a week to get them out of my system. Their anger and insecurities never cease to amaze me.

And you're right… it' s hard to balance yourself around these people. It's like everyone is so freaking fragile these days.

Okay. Now I sound old. *laughs* I suppose I should throw a "Get off my lawn!" in to complete the transformation.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

Bridget, yes, it feels like their bad energy starts to permeate you after a while. Sometimes I have had to resort to putting on headphones in the office just to get myself back into a better place. Calgon, take me away!

Speaking of "these days," though - I do think this modern age is partially to blame. (putting on my geezer hat) With all this technology, everything moves so fast and everyone expects everyone to respond right away. The stress of that is enormous. You can't keep up with it all, honestly.

Bridget said...

Holy Cow. I requested headphones a year ago for Christmas for the very same purpose! Although I just gave the reason that I don't like earbuds (which I don't, they hurt my ears for some reason). So, I've got these big foamies on my head for a the better part of a day when things go south. Whatever it takes, right? *laughs*