Friday, March 11, 2011

Stepping away from the brink

Thank you.

Your comments yesterday were a huge help. As I said in the comments it was nice to know that my rage wasn't totally irrational or oversensitive. Of course just being able to write about something always helps and getting it out there (one-sided and overdramatic as it may have been) was verrrry cathartic.

I'm doing better now. I took Carrie Dee's advice and focused on the micro-managing and condescension when talking to my mentor and she was very helpful. She helped me identify one of the main sources of annoyance. See, I tend to like to talk things out with co-workers - in our line of work we spend a lot of time hashing out a point or trying to look at things from all angles. When I try and do this with Young Guy he reacts like I am asking for him to tell me what do to. He gets a patronizing voice on and starts to tell me about the basics of our work or tell me what I should be doing/thinking; going over really basic shit I know and was not asking him about. It's gotten to the point where I don't want to try discuss work ideas with him because I feel like it makes me look weak and it fills me with rage. On the contrary, I also feel that it is professionally irresponsible to shut down in the face of an unpleasant situation.

Before your comments and my meeting with my mentor I wouldn't really have been able to articulate the paragraph above. Even being able to identify a concrete and solvable aspect of the problem feels like a weight off my shoulders. My mentor also gave me some practical tips for changing the situation. Basically she gave me professional permission to clarify with him: I would like to bounce some ideas off you, but I am not asking what do to or how to do it. Basically, communicate that I am asking for a discussion between equals and not for him to advise me as if I am a lesser entity.

Of course we do not need to be friends and this is always something to keep in mind. One confusing thing is that our team started out really jokey, which is okay, but it has made it difficult for me to draw  boundaries. I think the Men would rather we be friendly and jokey-jokey and I would like to have some of that but also be taken seriously. I still haven't worked out how to make this happen but I am going to focus on my own behavior and reactions to situations. I will repeat to myself: they do not need to like me but they do need to respect me. I do not need to like them but I do need to respect them.  It is hard for me to fight against my pathetic need to feel liked, but I will try damn hard.

I think if we can get this worked out it will take us a long way towards working together. I am at a point where I can recall positive things about both of them. They are both really funny, and mostly kind. They do clearly love their wives, even if it isn't the kind of relationships that I would want. They are good at their jobs.

Things are much better. Cul-de-sac man's wife had their baby yesterday and he texted me two photos, which was really sweet. The little tyke is gorgeous and I am very happy for them.

Photo from our trip to the Oregon Coast Aquarium for D's birthday. We can really geek out over sea creatures. 


  1. Oh well done you. Seriously. I'm impressed with your ability to work through the problem and move on.

  2. Hey, the desire to feel liked isn't pathetic, it's natural. But you're right that sometimes you have to put it aside for a good professional relationship. I love when bloggers help each other out, a problem shared really is a problem halved. :)

  3. I'm so happy to hear that everything is headed in a positive direction! Sounds like your meeting with your mentor went well and that there's some good movement forward. I hope the Men start acting like better colleagues, and that all will turn out great in the end. :)

  4. Sounds like your mentor was able to give you some great ideas for moving forward. And it's awesome that you were able to look back and figure out the things you liked about them in the first place. It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day patterns and cycles with co-workers. I think the perspective you've found is probably something I could use myself, so thanks!