I suppose that if you are going to work in the corporate world for as long as I have, you should not be surprised by what you see, what you hear or by the actions of those around you. A corporate office is a microcosm of personality and as they say (whoever "they" are), it takes all kinds. Because of this and the very nature of human nature, sometimes people may pre-judge or jump to conclusions about you, whether this is fair or not. Take my recent encounter with Newbie A for example.
On Friday morning, Newbie A pulled one of my coworkers aside and asked what my story was. I will be joining Newbie A's group in a couple of weeks and he had concerns. He wanted to know if I was going to be OK to work with because I looked "mean". I nearly hit the floor when I heard that. I always have a smile for everyone and am well known for my cheerful demeanor and willingness to help. I've been called a lot of things in my LOOOOOOOONG career, but this is the first time I have ever been described as mean (In the office, that is. My kids have hurled that at me on more than one occasion).
My coworker strung Newbie A along for quite a while, telling him that I was a complete horror show and that I'd make him cry if he made a mistake. The beads of sweat began to form as Newbie A wondered out loud whether he made a mistake in coming to this group. Eventually, my coworker let him off the hook and told him how absurd that assumption was, assuring him that I was one of the "cool people" and that I would be very supportive and nice to work with.
Hearing about their exchange made me wonder - maybe Newbie A was just being a little paranoid and crazy or maybe I had done something to bring it on. I needed to give this some thought. What could I have done to give off a vibe that would make someone use the word "mean" when describing me?
When I looked back, I realized that I have been incredibly sad this month, as the situation at work has been less than ideal. It all started when my amazing, beloved and supportive manager was reassigned to another group. completely out if the blue. Once he left, I got snatched up by another group that is drowning in work and has an out of control business user community. So, I lost my boss, got moved to a team that I'm hesitant about working for and I have to leave behind a project that I have worked very hard on so that a pathetic brown noser can bring it over the finish line and look like a star. I suppose that I have been wearing all of this on my face, in my body language, in my recently acquired death stare.
I guess the smart thing to do is to take this as a wake-up call. My job mourning period is over and it is time for me to pull my self out of the funk that I have been wallowing in and do what's right for the sake of myself, my reputation and my coworkers. I know that I am stronger than the situation. I have certainly weathered worse in my career. Oh, and I am definitely not telling my kids about this because, the last thing they need is that kind of validation.