Life and work
For about a year now, there have been two of us writers at the office, myself and this woman, Nina. She was here before I was and rather thought of herself as in charge, gave me a bit of the cold shoulder when I first came on board, very jealous of the immediate relationship I had with the executives and the projects they entrusted to me. Not many people seemed to like or respect her, she has a very off-putting and passive agressive nature. Her attitude left me with an immediate decision to make; I had to either start working right away to exploit her outsider status and get rid of her, or win her over and try to help her settle in and gain people’s respect.
I have always been at my most, impersonal, direct and even ruthless at work, so my usual choice would have been to find a way to get rid of her and in this situation it would have been easy, the VP I originally worked closely with asked me directly if he should keep her. However, in keeping with my new self and struggle to find my humanity last year, I decided to win her over and to champion her with the bosses. It made things difficult for me but I felt pretty good about it. We would have lunch and talk about work, how to improve things around the office and with our projects etc..
A few weeks ago her attitude toward me shifted entirely again. I was handed a vital project and after that she was cold to me again, she started acting petty and stopped talking to me except to make passive agressive comments. Now, I have discovered that she was informed a couple of weeks ago that she was being let go, she said nothing to me, no one did. As of last week all I knew was that she was leaving, so I brought it up to her, she made it clear that not only was she not leaving voluntarily she somehow either blamed me or is angry that she is being let go and I am not. People around the office have organized multiple lunches with her this week (her last week) and no one has said anything to me about them. Their silence and my exclusion has left me paranoid, wondering if I am next and they are distancing themselves, or if she has been spreading some sort of poison around the office about me and my having some role in her being let go. Any way you cut it, it has made work nothing short of uncomfortable.
But it all begs another question. In nearly every respect, I have tried to go about this job in a way that is different from how I normally would, a better way some would say. I am less aggressive, more flexible, nicer and have even tried forming some sort of bond and relationships with my fellow co-workers. Given that this job has been harder for me to fit in and excel at than any other, I have to wonder if it has been the right choice. If not, can I be that wicked, sort of “bad wolf” self at work and not at home? It is clear to me that I chose at work and in my personal life to be, for lack of a better all encompassing word, “evil” because it is easier, no need to bother struggling to figure out the right thing to say or do or the right way to behave is when you don’t really give a damn and just do what suits you and achieves your objectives.
I hated it, I have always hated being that guy. I have loathed the corporate environment in general because I know being ruthless and self centered is the only way to win this game and I don’t want to be that guy at work or at home. At the same time, what is the incentive to be any other way, at work anyway, if this is how it is going to turn out? Why bother being the nice guy if I am going to get burned and end up paranoid, making me cranky and depressed at home? The whole point of taking the other approach was because I believed you cannot be one way at work and another at home. I feel trapped, either be miserable because I am behaving like a ruthless jerk or be miserable because I am being the way I want (kind, compassionate, good) and getting hosed for it.