In at least one regard, my life hasn’t changed at all since childhood: this was a long, tedious week. More than a few summers ago, this particular week of the year was the longest of them all; the conclusion of a year-long wait for my birthday. From a kid’s perspective, waiting for a birthday is on par with waiting to see Halley’s Comet, both in terms of importance and frequency. This week was the hardest to endure.
Nowadays, I’m all growed up, and this week has improved little. Bathroom renovation continues to create ripples in our pool of domestic bliss. The Liberry has been wearing on me. Birthday anticipation is replaced by birthday angst. My pockets are too empty to escape any of these problems via travel.
Of these, only the Liberry truly bothers me. I’ve been fortunate enough to like my work and those I work with nearly all the time. As is so often the case, one person in particular has poisoned me against the Liberry. This is the sort of person who displays a stunning lack of professionality by perverting typical work-related problems (in this instance, caused by willful ignorance) into a personal vendetta, fueled by a petty-tyrant mindset.
It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to quit without a moment of hesitation, and laugh giddily as the bridge burns. Though very satisfying, this is probably an imprudent choice.
So I ask myself how to deal with such people, and what defines my character. That is, what makes you a stronger person: the ability to deflect personal attacks, or the determination to defend yourself against them? Common sense dictates that one should acquiesce (especially at work) and put it out of mind. The greater virtue lies is letting personal attacks glance off without even batting a lash. Normally I prefer this approach, but the strength of my conviction that I’m being mistreated (by someone who ought to know better) drives me to ignore virtue and return fire.
Then my conscience interjects: doesn’t that make you as bad as your opponent? Yes, it probably does. Making an issue out of it has several possible outcomes:
- The jack*ss backs down and leaves you alone
- They feel validated by having so incensed you and keep it up
- Your boss writes a report about it, whose only consequence is making a file cabinet more crowded
No matter how you approach it, you’ll lose face for making an issue out of it. Will you get that face back after a showdown? Or does the winner keep the loser’s face (in a jar, perhaps)?
Since there are too many variables to produce a reliable likely outcome, I think I’ll go with the safe bet: merciless office pranking. It’s a bullet-proof method of annoying and undermining your coworkers without the slightest risk. That should make next week extra fun, and just in time for my birthday.