Friday, November 02, 2007

Workplace Drama

Before my post today, I’d like to note this is my 350th post! Can you believe it? You’ve been bored by me over 350 times! Yea!

Ah, office politics.

There’s something they don’t teach you in college.

I got my first taste of office politics at the Visiting Nurses Association where I worked as a File Assistant, Receptionist, and all-around-gopher when I was on summer and semester breaks in college.

Let me tell you, you find out what people are really like by the way they treat temporary workers. I found myself in alliances with the file room and the administrative office employees. Apparently, “we” were supposed to make life difficult for the accounting department. And, oh we despised the “uppity” nurses.

I was a fresh-faced college kid and didn’t want to make waves, but I soon learned one “had” to pick sides. It was virtually impossible to be liked in every department.

The nursing supervisors looked at me like an annoying bug, the nurses blatantly ignored my nicely-phrased sticky notes for files to be returned to the file room, and the social worker told me in confidence that he avoided the office as much as possible.

Things weren’t much better, although slicker on the surface, when I worked as a communications intern at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. My boss there still remains one of them most cool, kick-butt people I've ever known. She was a loud, recently-quit-smoking, genius with communications. Learning under her was the best experience I could have hoped for to propel me forward into a life of career communications.

But, even in that very professional office, there were alliances. And we interns - there were four of us - were on the bottom of the bottom of the ladder. The four of us had to share one desk, two computers, and we actually got along a lot better than our bosses, who often tried to pit us against one another.

I still remember me, Darnell, Ming-Na, and Darryl running interference around the office. The secretaries hated us and often “forgot” to leave us messages from our bosses. And I once personally got yelled at by the president of a major company because I didn’t have the correct label on the package for the messenger guy.

I learned from the masters, back then.

It’s tough just being a person in an office. Let alone being a Christian. Let alone when people KNOW you’re a Christian.

Politics. Networking. Grandstanding. It’s all very difficult to maneuver when you have to keep in mind you’re not actually working for these people. You’re working for the Lord. And He’s the one you’ll answer to.

Still one of the hardest things I face everyday.

Currently, we have a little office drama going on. One person dislikes another and is gobbling up alliances with other people trying to turn them to her side. The other person is beleaguered, confused, and not about to take this lying down.

It’s like Junior High revisited.

And we all know how much we disliked Junior High the first time.

I find myself torn. The part of me that enjoys the occasional drama is willing to pick sides and start slinging sarcastic mud (which we all know I can do quite well).

The other part of me knows the smartest business acumen is to stay out of the whole thing and rise above. And the inside part of me wars with being involved, but in a positive way, trying to be kind to both sides and foster a tentative peace.

But oh, how the mud calls to me! I find myself trying to resist falling prey to falling in it.

Whoever said having an office job is easy - obviously hasn’t had any of mine!


WendyJanelle said...

Hahaha. Yes, junior high all over again. Only not very funny if you are stuck in the middle of it. We have those kinds of family dramas with Fred's parents, step-parents, siblings, and all the step-siblings... and one half-brother. Life gets complicated. And often it seems that if you don't pick sides, both sides suddenly hate you. (sigh)
Let me know what you decide to do. ;-) (Listen hard to the angel on your shoulder.)

The Beard Bunch said...

You are awesome, Ann-Marie! And congratulations on 350 posts---never a bore :) As long as you keep remembering WHO you work for, you will be on the right side. But, I understand it can be very fun to play in the mud. Praying for you, cuz!