It’s been a rough work week from a navel-gazing perspective. Yesterday’s Work Dread beginning begot a personally uncomfortable ending as I had to “assert my authority.” Publicly. After trying valiantly to play nice in the face of a group insistent on trying to play me, I had to end the game.
Does that sound like I’m being neurotic? I think it does too.
I spent years learning how to play well with others – listen better, give people the space to do their jobs and make their own mistakes, take the time to make sure everyone’s voices were heard and acknowledged – so this “and now I will show you where I stand so you don’t this silliness again” gamesmanship just feels bad. Very bad. Like I should be better than this, have some kind of brilliantly elegant solution to both make the point (lying isn’t the way to go, not with me) and allow us to sing kumbaya and move on. But I didn’t. With a polite lilt to my voice, I calmly stopped all forward progress to make a point.
I talked to Jen; she said that’s called “being a boss.” I called my mom; she said being a parent feels the same way. If you let a little thing slide, it turns into a bigger thing, so sometimes you just can’t let it slide.
I realized I was feeling resentful more than bad or sad or silly. Every single time I have a public (group) interaction with a certain person, the situation ends with me asserting my authority in some way and I feel like I don’t have a choice. I do, though – I can choose to let it go, rise above, ignore. But I don’t. I choose to “win,” to make my position (org-wise) clear in the hopes that we can avoid the same kind of stand-off again.
I shouldn’t be surprised it’s not working. That said, apologizing for doing the thing you had a right to do makes the whole thing worse, so I’ll have to move on.
*sigh* And I think it might be a female thing. Try as I might, I can’t discount the fact that I recognize the game-playing because I’m a woman – which leaves me feeling like I have to respond.
*sigh* And then I think this debate over the need to assert my authority is a female thing. Do my male peers worry whether they said something nicely enough or should have let a situation go? I don’t know. I doubt it.
I decided a few weeks ago that the only way to get through the learning curve in this new job was to allow myself to suck for a year, thereby freeing myself from my own need to know what I’m doing and prove my worth at this next level. Chalk this one up to part of the suck. I think my efforts to be nice (because life’s just a little bit easier when everyone’s nice) have led some people to believe that I’m a pushover – myself included.
This feels like my first year of marriage all over again, trying so hard to be something different I end up overshooting the goal.