I work with a very “group-oriented”, social services department. I realize that I work in a “person-centered field” and that collaboration and brainstorming with co-workers comes with the territory. I know that it takes discussion to continue developing a relatively new program composed of several moving parts, and I also know that, in general, I am always very different from everyone else… with whom I work and otherwise.
After several years in a job that allowed me to self-schedule half of my workweek, gave me daily opportunities to make my own decisions, and afforded me the option to complete paperwork in an office full of people or in a quiet library between appointments while dressed in normal clothing, I am still adjusting to the constant group-think, public declaration of personal goals, people having to express their offense and displeasure with life as it crosses their path, provided that you agree with them. It isn’t just that I have a different upbringing, or that I have different political views (which I have learned not to express so as not to offend anyone), it is partially that I am more introverted than most of the group. I like time to myself to work, think, re-charge after a stressful case. I need breaks so I can come back to something when I am ready. I like to be able to get lunch on my own to read or write for a few minutes, but I can’t do that here without having to make up the time. That is not how it works at most jobs, but it is definitely not how it works when you wear a uniform, drive a marked vehicle, your work is tracked and you, specifically, have to answer questions about how you spend your time while other stop off to run personal errands, spend their time on Facebook, and take many personal calls.
Our new fiscal year is coming up, and the boss decided that we should discuss our program goals and individual goals recently during our weekly meeting. In my opinion, your personal professional goals would be better discussed during your upcoming employment review. I felt put on the spot when answering this question, especially being next to last, and due to previous conversations regarding my time management, my commitment, my interest in the job, and why I needed clarification on different policies/protocols after almost two years. I feel that we are all good, hardworking people, but I don’t trust everyone and I believe that some co-workers have an agenda. This means that you get shown up when they have the opportunity, and you may just get thrown under the bus. This means that some people get to ask questions but they can be annoyed when you ask, and they get special recognition for being perky and outgoing, even though it causes chaos at times. I still have a hard time forgetting that one of these people accused me of making a “racist” statement, which was judged so based on their own ignorance. I was asked to justify a vague reference to something I might have said but was not allowed to know what I said or who was accusing me. I had to apologize for what I may have said and for my poor joking skills, explain that I have always had diverse friends, and promise to be careful of what I say in the future. Mind you, these people would consider themselves open-minded, liberal people.
I know that I can only control myself, my actions, and my attitude. I have no control over others’ attitudes, actions, agendas, or how the wind is blowing. I am who I am and I can only be me to the best of my ability. I have done the best I can to adapt to circumstances I cannot change and cannot communicate because people see what they want to see and they ignore what is not advantageous to see. I am trying to cope the best I can and do what I can to manage my stress, but would welcome feedback and suggestions. Any thoughts?
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