“The sooner you accept…”

March 10, 2010


So I had my 90-day review at work, and it was fucking awful. At the end of the day my boss hands me a list of grievances which included (among other things): I’m constantly late, I’m irresponsible with confidential information, I’m belligerent towards co-workers, and I do poor design work. It just seemed so over the top, so blown out of proportion that it felt farcical, it didn’t even hit me until later that night when I realized I had to have a follow-up meeting about it the next day.

So the next morning I come in early with a list of responses, dressed in a nice sweater and slacks, hair and makeup all ready, and a smile on my face. I had no intention of causing a ruckus, I just wanted to let him know that there are two sides to every story. The minute I walk into his office, I say “hi Jon, how are you?” and he immediately snaps, “First of all, you have to stop calling me Jon. Nobody else does that.” (His name is Jonathan).

That knocked my confidence down a little, so I decided not to even mention my list of responses. I signed the list of grievances and said I’d work to be better. Then he says, “there were also some things that I didn’t put on the list, because they’re hard to put into words (read: hard to get past HR). When you fake cheerfulness, it makes everything weird. When you smile and have contempt underneath, people can tell. People aren’t STUPID.”

I was completely taken aback. I don’t have contempt for anybody. Um, I was trying to have a good attitude? I try to make the best out of a corporate job? I make smalltalk with co-workers and it feels pretty normal to me, I’ve never sensed any awkwardness from ANYONE except him. I went back to my desk and totally couldn’t hold in the tears, it was really embarrassing.

What sucks the most is that we’re supposed to be a team, and back each other up and support each other. But now I don’t trust him at all, I can’t go to him if I’m having troubles or anything, and I’d feel so weird asking his design advice. I know I should just suck it up and power through it, but I can’t stop thinking about the words he used. BELLIGERENT? CONTEMPT? His perception of me is so radically different than how I see myself, it makes me wonder if I’m crazy.

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