I don't usually discuss work here. Most days it is just plain monotonous and uninteresting, moving one pile of paper to the other. And I fully recognize that my geeking out over cross-battery assessment is mind numbingly boring to others, and I don't want any readers dying of sheer boredom. But today I need to talk about work. I hope that you can bear with me.
Yesterday morning I got an email from my boss, saying that she wanted to meet with me that afternoon to discuss some "issues". Issues? What did I do now, I wondered? What did I forget to do, or do that I shouldn't have? I felt a panic attack starting, that sensation of my stomach falling into my gut, the heart racing, the sweats, the shaking. I may have even burst into tears, I don't remember.
I knew that my anxiety was over the top. I knew that I was overreacting to what was likely nothing. I knew all that on an intellectual level, but guess what? Intellect means not a darn thing when you're having a panic attack. I had to sit there for hours of this, because every time I would see the clock, I would get worked up again. I was so freaked out that I couldn't even eat lunch. Finally it was the appointed time. My boss shut the door to her office and got right down to business.
Yep. That was the big news. I'm rude and I make rude comments. Everybody says so, she told me. It's unprofessional, she said. People are complaining to me all the time. I need to do some self-reflection, which is why she was graciously telling me this.
I have reflected upon my alleged rudeness, as requested. But how am I supposed to know that I'm being rude? All of these "people" deemed my behavior or comments rude...and they did not give me the respect of asking me about it, they just went whining about it to my boss. Had they shown me the tiniest bit of respect, and asked me about whatever it was they had a problem with, there would have been no issue. I would have had the chance to clarify or apologize or whatever to resolve the problem. THAT would have been the professional thing to do, instead of this passive aggression.
I have reflected, and I am a little angry right now. Also hurt, because my boss has known me for twenty years and she still has no clue about who I am and what makes me a happy worker. Instead of supporting me by insisting that these
complainers speak to me first like adults, which I have asked her to do,
fell for the drama, ready to believe the worst of me.
These people made a judgment about me, said nothing to me about it, wallowed in their self-righteousness, and then tattled on me. That's pretty darn rude, in my book. Disrespectful. Selfish. I feel like I've been bullied. I feel like I have been placed into a hostile work environment. Where is the respect for individual differences in this situation? Respect for individual differences means not jumping to conclusions about a person's behavior. Respecting individual differences means being flexible enough to avoid snap judgments about a person. Respecting individual differences means holding the person accountable so they can explain themselves or apologize. Respecting individual differences means allowing the other person to participate in a dialogue in order to solve the problem. What I am getting in this particular instance is that I'm supposed to go out of my way to be respectful of everyone else, but nobody has to give me the same consideration if they don't like my temperament? Because I am different, I'm singled out. I should be used to that, but I'm not.
I'm rude. I'm also an introvert and I don't pick up on some social cues. I have
trouble understanding when others are joking. I often say
the first thing that pops into my head without censoring myself. I
don't like changes in my routine. I become obsessive about certain
topics. I get distracted easily and I hate to be interrupted when I am
trying to finish a task. I have a tendency toward sarcasm or
condescension when I become anxious. Most of my meltdowns happen on the inside, but they do happen. Instead of respecting my differences, I'm being forced into someone else's mold. I don't like it.
Okay, that's all I wanted to say. I tried to keep the ranting to a minimum. What am I going to do about this? I can't really say right now, because I am still processing the whole traumatic day. Maybe I'll win the lottery. A winning lottery ticket buys a whole bunch of therapy sessions, doesn't it?