Friday, January 14, 2011

The Art of Subtlety

I tend to be able to keep my head about me when I hear something in the workplace that I shouldn't know about, or noticed behavior that the supervisors are undoubtedly seeing too, but the employee hasn't realized their obviousness. Sometimes, I can tell the employee, and know that they will deal with the situation quietly and subtly, gradually changing their behavior until the questionable behavior disappears.

Unfortunately, sometimes I meet fellow employees who have no subtlety. If I dared to speak up, try to say something, dare to stick my neck out for them, they'd be more likely to brusquely and loudly proclaim and explain their innocence to all who would listen, and some who don't want to.

I'm always surrounded by such people, as make up both pools, but the latter are easier to identify. It hurts me more when I see their behavior grating on other people than myself, because as a third, outside party, I have a lot of control on how I face the situation. If it's a public setting with a decent number of people around, I'm more likely to get someone else involved, especially if that someone has apparent authority. If it's a workplace, I will intervene if their behavior is affecting someone innocent of their actions; if it's only affecting themselves, I leave it alone.

I'm a selfish person, and for that reason, I want to feel good about myself. One of the way I manage that is through reaching out and helping other people, especially in the workplace. When I've been employed in small retail stores, I have moved up the ranks as quickly as possible and as high as possible (in a small-store environment, that's not very high) so I can make myself indispensable to the management. I wouldn't say that after I achieve this, they can't operate the store without me, but it does become inconvenient..

These days, I'm working in tele-recruitment and marketing. (That's a nicer, less stereotyped way of saying I'm a telemarketer.) There's little I can do in terms of "moving up the ranks." What I can do, and have done, is learned the software and hardware as best I can, and help others around me. When you can't appeal to the boss in a better light, appeal to the employees. I know that sounds terrible, but when you see me at it, it seems so nice.

I do it for the benefit of myself and the benefit of others. I strive to make my workplace a functioning unit between the ever warring subtle and brusque pools of employees, and all the people in between.

And for anyone who has ever heard me say, "Don't make me come over and separate you two," it may sound like I'm joking, as that usually defuses the confrontation fairly well on its own, but I really will come over there if I need to, and enforce it. I don't make idle threats.

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