Sunday, January 10, 2016

Life Lesson: Dealing with a Crazy Maker

First entry in my art journal in a long time.... I have a new, larger book for 2016, but I thought I'd finish the
one I had going already before I start it. 
A lot has happened in the last year. Enough that I'm doing the annual look-back-at-my-life thing and questioning what I'm doing. One big thing for me right now is my job... I have to have some kind of employment, mainly because I think turning art into my main source of income might suck the joy out of it for me, making me focus more on what sells than on self-expression. There are things about my job that I really dislike, a big one being a coworker who takes out her unhappiness on whoever happens to be on hand, and that person is often me. It's rough bearing the brunt of someone else's discontent... I have enough of my own to deal with, thank you very much. Her very presence stresses me out, not just when she's pitching a fit about something, but even when she's calm... I know it can't last and it's the proverbial calm before the storm. So, I walk on eggshells around her, waiting for the next attack, and I'm tired of it.

For the most part, I have a decent job. I've been there a long time. It would be a shame to have to leave because of one person. With our upcoming "open concept" workspace (which happens tomorrow... yipee) it's going to be a little tougher to avoid her... my primary method of dealing with the issue for the past couple years.  I'm trying to not anticipate the worst. But I'm really good at anticipating the worst. Really good.

I try my best to have some compassion for this woman... we have been friends at various points over the past 15 years, so I know a bit of her history and understand that she is a very smart person in a job that must be, after so many years, boring as hell. She's not horrible, just unhappy. But its one of those situations where compassion will only get you so far. I know you're miserable, but this is not my fault. The only one who can deal with the situation is you. Saying that out loud has gotten me where I am today... on the shit-list. At least I think that's what did it. She didn't actually say. One day we were ok, the next I was (apparently) too stupid to live. Sigh. I guess I should have know how my observations would be received. Even if it is true, it's not the kind of thing people appreciate hearing, especially when they are fuming about something they deem to be out of their control.

At the moment, I don't have much power to control the situation. I don't want to go the contrite route. I may have pointed out the elephant in the room, but I didn't put it there. I can try to be more careful with my words... which right now is easy because we don't talk unless absolutely necessary. I do my best not to resent that management won't deal with it. I wear my headphones so I can't hear the snarky comments and choose to ignore it when she treats me like I don't exist. Those passive-aggressive notes that get left on my desk get dropped directly into the recycling, and the emails deleted. But I still went into fight-or-flight mode when I saw the most recent seating plan and realized they had put me directly beside her. There is only so much I can handle.

After a few days of intense self-reflection, I understand that my reaction to her attempts to manipulate me have everything to do with me, and not much to do with her. I've taken issue with people trying to control me for as long as I can remember... which has, on occasion, resulted in self-sabotage purely out of spite. I won't do that this time. I have to carefully weigh my options and decide if it's best to wait her out or to cut my losses and move on. I guess I should, at the very least, give this new workspace a try. Sometimes things can surprise you.