Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Trying for empathy

I have a coworker that I'm not fond of. She's pedantic. She's unpleasant. She gets away with murder. She's kind of a bitch. In reality, very few are fond of her. Nobody wants to work with her. Even our boss gives me assignments that based on our 'areas of focus list' totally should be hers. Since I'm the one who says 'no problem' when asked to do something (and then actually does it) I get asked to do things that infringe on her territory.

I realized recently that I kind of feel badly for her. It has to be hard for her that more of my coworkers like me. I may sound conceited with that, but really they do. It isn't a hard formula to get people to like you - don't be a bitch, help out when needed, do nice things for people.  She never does any of those three basic things. After a year in the department, I can now kind of see how she's threatened by me. It has nothing to do with my knowledge and everything to do with my personality and in some respects I'm not sure that personality is something that can be easily changed. She's probably 10 - 15 years my senior so her brittle personality probably isn't going anyplace.

 So I feel badly for her. It has to suck knowing, on some level, that most of your coworkers don't want to work with you, or laugh with you or eat lunch with you.  It has to suck when people stop asking your for your expertise in matters, and your new, younger coworker gets all the attention. And the thing is, I don't really think she gets why people like me better. She commented to me once about some stuff I did for the wellness fair, how did I know to do this kind of thing. And here's where the big difference between her and I shows - I just think of what I would like someone to do for me in a similar situation and do that thing (it does help that I can remember random factoids about my coworkers like she can't eat chocolate and likes carrot cake, vegetarian coworker loves things with fruit... blah blah blah). It doesn't have to be fancy, just think about what someone else would like. It would never dawn on her to do that. And that's a bit sad for her.

1 comment:

Ms. Chick said...

Ah, the Golden Rule. So many people are baffled by it and yet if they could follow it, they would find their lives that much better.

I do the same thing and am realizing how much it really comes back to you in a good way.