Recently, I met a new coworker. After only a few interactions with her, I knew I did NOT like her. Generally, I get along with most people. I don’t think I’m the type of person that rubs people the wrong way. I avoid conflict and don’t often go out of my way to ruffle feathers or be controversial. In fact, my tendency is to try and make friends with others, and to figure out why I might not like someone. With this coworker, I initially could not place what it was. But after being in a few meeting together, I think I figured it out.
First of all, this person is in an internship type of role in our office. In other words, she is the low man on the totem pole. And in our first few conversations, she came across as arrogant, dare I say, cocky. And then, in a meeting with many others in the room, she declared that a particular task she had been assigned was ‘not a good use’ of her master’s degree.
Now, I know what you might be thinking here. I had some sort of personal conversation with her that changed my view, I suddenly realized my judgy attitude was unwarranted and we became friends. But that is not what happened (at least not yet). In fact, I plan to only interact with this person in work-related matters when I must. I don’t like her that much. Yes, I know that is very mature of me.
What I can say, is this person’s general attitude, as well as my reaction to her, made me realize a few things about myself.
1. I don’t have enough self-confidence.
Ok, I already knew this. The interaction with this woman just made it all the more apparent. Here she was declaring her own worth in the workplace, her own value as a skilled and educated person, and she’s only been working in our office for six months. I have trouble sticking up for myself and recognizing my own skills and abilities and I’ve been there for almost seven years! I could stand to be a bit more confident in my skills.
2. I am willing to do what is asked.
While some may consider this a negative thing, I think the fact that I am willing to put in the work, even if it is ‘below me,’ is a good thing. I am a dependable employee and a hard worker, and honestly, I don’t think most things are ‘below me.’ That seemed to be a very entitled way to approach life, in my opinion. You never know when the tables could turn and you will have to flipping burgers to earn a living (I have flipped burgers before, by the way). Never look down on a task, occupation or person doing that job. You have no idea what their circumstances are.
Let’s face it. There are always going to be people in this world we don’t like. But I think the real value is in being able to have enough self-awareness to know what it is about them that we don’t like. Most of the time, we don’t mesh well with some people because they come across in a way that we are not used to. If you are from the South, you may initially find a person from New York City to come across as rude or abrasive. But most New Yorkers are actually friendly. They are just busy and want you to get to the point (which comes across as rudeness to someone not from the Northeast). And sometimes we can dislike someone because of things in our own past (i.e. they remind us of a person who hurt us) or they remind us of what we consider our own flaws (my lack of self-confidence).
Have you ever found that you didn’t like someone due to your own issues? Did you come to eventually like that person, or maybe just understand them a bit better?
This post is linked up at Welcome Home Wednesdays.