I’m Okay, You’re a Jerk


Copyright that guy.

Remember that person at work, the one who got all up in my sandbox inappropriately? The one I’m going to talk to today?

Well, as I got ready for work, I thought about the situation and about what I’d say. And I got more and more angry.

How DARE he pull this! How would he feel if I had told HIM that I was inserting myself in HIS area?

How DARE people tell me that I shouldn’t express my emotions! How DARE they tell me to just pretend like everything’s fine! How DARE they tell me to ignore things I don’t like in corporate culture—to just deal with them instead! I’m so ANGRY that I learned that I had to be a good girl, and that good girls don’t rock the boat! How dare EVERYONE!

All of a sudden, the conversation I was planning would be held on behalf of all womankind, to right centuries of deep in justice. I was going to put on my Big Girl Pants this morning and save the world.

Paved With Good Intentions

And then. . .I got in my car to drive to work, and I began listening to some recordings for the food program I’m in. And I came to a horrible realization. . .

. . .that if what has happened thus far means absolutely nothing about me, then it means absolutely nothing about that guy who pissed me off as well.

He’s a good guy, doing his best, making the decisions that he thinks are best for the company. Really, he’s a lot like me.

So, perhaps, he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Now, he also needs to stay away from my sandbox, but that doesn’t mean he’s maliciously up in my business. It just means he needs to take a gentle step back.

You’re a Jerk

I should mention, though, that this doesn’t apply in all situations. Some people really are just jerks. Just like you, I work with some of these people. I’m related to some of them, even. And I trust jerks to continue to be jerks.

Jerks must be handled differently than Captain Good Intentions.

I talked to a huge jerk last week. I think almost everyone in our company agrees that if you looked up “Biggest Bitch” in the Dictionary, her picture would be next to it.

She is mean. She is a bully. She should not be allowed to continue her behavior, and when she points it in my direction, I calmly let her know that it is not okay.

Because she is also MAJORLY afraid.

She is afraid that if she isn’t a bully, she will become ineffective, she will get fired from her big position, and she will be destitute and alone. She is afraid that if she isn’t mean, you’ll notice that she’s overweight and begin to hate her for that instead. She’s afraid that if she doesn’t give you a reason to dislike her first, for her own protection, then you’ll find one on your own.

This does not dismiss her behavior. It does not give her a permission slip for acting badly. But it does help me understand why she does what she does. So when she starts yelling and pointing in my direction, I can look over and see the scared kid who’s actually inhabiting her seat, driving her bus. And I can respond calmly, firmly, and with compassion.

I’m sorry, but jerks don’t get to drive the bus if it’s headed in my direction. Even if they have their Big Girl Pants on and are preparing to right wrongs done to womankind over the centuries.

Some days I hate this, but it is true.

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