Fevered personalities

You can pick your friends.
You’re stuck with your coworkers.

People in an office setting are a curious lot. They really are quite the clunky, dysfunctional, construct family. And you end up spending as much or more time with them than you do with your real family. Over the years a sort of pack mentality can form. Self-appointed alphas and betas thumb-wrestle for position among the staff. Newcomers aren’t always treated well. A good chunk of your life goes by around these people, and unfortunately bad energies, unfinished arguments, feelings, and emotions follow you home after your shift…it’s an office funk that doesn’t come off very easily in the shower.

In my longest stretch at a company, I tried, very badly, to set boundaries, to keep work at work. I didn’t like the fact that it’d be the weekend and I was still thinking about different goings-on from the office. At the same time, and to be fair, things from my personal life have a habit of spilling over into my 40hrs. We talk about maintaining a work-life balance but the nature of the working world has things heavily weighted in its favor. It’s why the chorus of the 1981 hit by Loverboy goes “Everybody’s workin’ for the weekend!”

There are going to be all manner of personality types in any job setting. I’ve had my share of issues with bullies at the office. These were the ‘tenured’ employees. They had been with the organization a long time. They did their jobs for the most part, and management never seemed to care much about the fact that they were a massive source of stress and a pain-in-the-ass to their coworkers.

What’s the best way of dealing with these sorts of work relationships? I don’t know. Some people choose to be more overtly confrontational. I’ve never worked anywhere where the management appreciated that sort of thing. You can go to HR. But Human Resources exists to keep the company out of liability. I’ve not found them very helpful in many cases. Their action usually ends in some sort of meeting followed by the employees involved being handed copies of the employee handbook and sent back to their department. I don’t like confrontations. I always try to find some other solution. Most long-term resentments never resolved themselves. Or I should say, we never made any effort to resolve them. Layoffs happened in the Fall of 2012 and those troublesome coworkers are no longer part of my life.


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