Why Can't We Just Get Along?
At the root of many disputes it seems that a lack of consideration plays a major role. For instance, there was a time when a girl almost broad sided me while switching lanes on the highway. I honked my horn at her to warn her that there was a large vehicle immediately next to her because she appeared not to have noticed or cared. What did I get for trying to avoid an accident while sailing along the highway? The bird and some nasty words.
There was a lack of consideration for me when my coworker who shunned her duties increased my workload. At the same time another coworker took pride in cussing at both of us and raising his voice to customers. While he had 20 years seniority, he was not our boss or manager, just rude and mean. With the lazy coworker, I was accommodating, biting my tongue for a long time, and hoping that she would snap out of her selfish behavior which never happened. On top of this behavior she frequently asked me to change my schedule to cover for her. The error in my thinking was that she would appreciate my kindness and she would pick up her own slack.
I labored for a full year in this situation while seething just under the surface until I was in a position to quit and I did. What really made me angry was that I was exceedingly patient and bent over backwards to accommodate her many requests to change her schedule and cover times that she couldn't or didn't want to be there.
Perhaps she now has a better understanding of how I was feeling with a heavily expanded workload for the full year that she treated me this way without cause or explanation. I was stressed and constantly felt the need be pleasant at all costs (just as in any other job I've had) despite this problem. As I understand it, the load fell solely into her lap for a considerable amount of time as they searched for a replacement. I would have never had any problems with her had she been more considerate of the fact that the duties that she shirked for a year were shared per our boss and never changed by him.
As for the cussing coworker, I'll never know what made him so nasty, but one day he nearly brought me to tears with his words. His behavior was well known and tacitly approved of within the company and he'd been there over 20 years. One day, he came over and stood near me while I was sitting at my desk. An angry attitude oozed from his very pores. When I put down the phone after speaking with a customer, he took a stack of papers off my desk and threw them on the floor cursing at me for losing his fax. I was startled by his behavior and was never even asked to look for a fax by him or anyone else. I knew that I did not want to be working with the likes of him. Even though he cussed at me and took my paperwork and threw it on the floor, I tried to still show some semblance of civility and consideration by offering to help him look for it.
It turned out that the coworker who increasingly became busy doing nothing had taken the fax as she was told to by the jerk who cussed me out and threw my paperwork on the floor. She came out and told him that she had the fax and he left to get it from her. Moments later he came back to mumble a very insincere and quick apology, admitting he never spoke to me about the fax and went back into his office.
Because Rob never thought about the fact that he could be wrong, he made a lasting and negative impression that will be associated with him by people who heard about this incident. I knew I'd get nowhere in going to management being the last hired and possibly the first to be fired in this situation. I just had to suck it up a while longer, holding my breath every time I saw his face just to keep what had become a crappy job. While I actually enjoyed the position and the other people there, his behavior was more than anyone should have to take and when combined with the other co-worker, I felt very motivated to leave.
Unknown to him, some customers also told me they disliked or hated him. He turned some customers away with his behavior because he would not display courtesy or consideration and was exceedingly quick to anger. Perhaps management was too afraid to consider reprimanding him or forcing him to resign, it's likely that he brought in enough business to keep them happy despite his demeanor. Had they witnessed what he said and did to me and others without cause, perhaps they would have acted differently. Our manager didn't want to step in for either of these things, so I eventually had to step out permanently.
In another scenario filled with a lack of consideration, I was forced to approach neighbors who enjoyed loud music at all hours of the day and night to ask them to turn it down, they never came to the door. Even when I moved to a completely different apartment complex, the same thing happened and when I tried to discuss it with this neighbor in a polite manner, I was abruptly told that I was the only one complaining and he didn't have to listen to me.
Sharing apartment walls, he was keeping me up at night and I still got no peace during the day if I was in my apartment. He would come home from work after midnight and crank it up. During the day he would crank it up as well. He is the one who actually told me that he has the right to "crank it up." When I reiterated that he was very loud and used his exact choice of words, he walked away, knowing he was wrong but still defiant and inconsiderate of the fact that he had people next to him and below. I was sitting at my dining room table in the part of the apartment farthest away from our shared wall and could clearly hear the refrain "girl who is you playing with, back that thang up" apparently on repeat. Hearing lyrics loud and clear not only through the shared wall but apparently the front door as well, I became upset.
Knowing that most people are afraid to complain, I kept trying to explain to him to get him to understand how his actions were affecting my "peaceful enjoyment" of my apartment because it was happening several times each week disturbing me night and day. His loud music went on for about 6 months straight. In the breezeway another neighbor told me that they were not willing to talk to him about it and they'd already gone to the landlord with no results. Teaming up didn't help either. We both went to the office and all the office did was call him and ask him to turn it down that one time. Perhaps it was all an act for us because nothing changed. Calling police and security didn't help either despite living in a city with a noise ordinance.
I noticed he would turn the volume down for only a couple of days whenever police were involved & didn't do this when I deployed any other means. Each time I spoke to him, I used a polite tone even though I was not happy with his behavior. He refused to change his ways despite the fact that we had a shared wall down the length of our apartments and I could hear every single word of his music loudly in every room of my apartment at various times of day and night.
Then one morning at 3:30 a.m. I heard the music and some girls in the hall screaming "woo hoo" extremely loudly. Fed up, I jumped out of bed with nothing on but a sports bra and shorts with my shoulder blade length hair looking absolutely wild and crazy at that hour. I went out and asserted myself in an admittedly inconsiderate manner but I had endured far too much for far too long and was fully committed to getting peace and quiet for the long term no matter what the cost.
I flung my door open and loudly asked them to to be quiet at three effing thirty in the morning to get their attention. I yelled at my neighbor who was standing in front of his door and told him that he needed to control his guests as this was just the latest of many of these types of loud episodes including two loud domestic disturbances. The loud guests were clearly afraid because they stood frozen on the stairs as if they were trying to hide in plain sight of me, cowering with their backs turned. None of them said a word, they just stared.
The young punk responsible for the loud music stood there with his mouth agape as if he was amazed that I'd suddenly grown a pair. The look on his face was priceless. The two girls said nothing and continued to stand still while being quiet as mice until I went back in due to a lack of response and sudden quiet from all of them.
Only when I closed the door, did the girls loudly answer my question by saying "no" in a teasing manner. I saw red because there I was in all my 3:30 a.m. lack of beauty waiting for them to speak, yet they cowered and became bold only when I went in and closed my door. Again I flung the door open and told them to come to me and say it in my face. My words thereafter were quite graphic and I will not repeat here. But what I can say is that I called it like I saw it and nearly brought one of the two girls to tears. She had on the equivalent of a t-shirt, stripper heels, and was carrying a red Solo cup at 3:30 in the morning. I was peeved and let loose. I also made it clear that their actions have consequences and that if they weren't doing what they were doing, they would not have incurred my wrath.
My boyfriend sprang out of the door pulling me back in (he was still asleep until he heard me yelling cuss words). I heard not a peep out of the punk or his guests since that night. The change in the young punk next door was stunning. He came to apologize the next day and kept quiet for several months until he was finally evicted for a lack of rental payments. This frustrating experience showed me that exhibiting the same lack of consideration for those who first (and repeatedly) display it can sometimes bring the desired outcome.
No matter what the setting is, I truly believe that showing consideration can build relationships, puts good karma into your social bank, and can keep minor misunderstandings from escalating. I know that other people don't have to share this belief but it would be better for almost everyone if more people did. The one time in my life that I blew up, I finally got the results I'd been politely asking for over the course of many months going through the proper channels with no results.
I also have to say that I was fully committed to anything that was to come due to my extremely harsh words and believe the punk and his girls recognized this. I believe that's why I scared them into submission for once and for all. Only when I threw the mother of all tantrums and was ready to back it up looking like a wild woman at 3:30a.m. did I get what should be the norm and what I had politely requested many times prior.
I will keep my blowups in check and am going to buy a single family home ASAP. As for problematic coworkers, I've eliminated that problem by freelancing with people that communicate clearly and show respect. I will always give respect until I have been sorely disrespected and have learned not to be nice to people who cannot show the same courtesy.
I'm learning to assert myself sooner rather than later (only when it is very important) and while I wouldn't normally recommend blowing up at anyone, I have come to understand that there are rare occasions where it should be used. Perhaps this is the only level at which some people prefer to communicate.
© 2012 Express10
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