Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sorry. Wednesday, August 25, 2010.

“What else should I be? All apologies.” – Nirvana

I have a co-worker who is always angry. For more than five years I’ve been working at Sandie’s side, and listened to a never-ending list of complaints. After two months, I ordered a book on dealing with negative people, because I was going home every night depressed, listening to her tirades.

These days our environment is even more stressful than before – Sandie and I have survived many rounds of layoffs, which has made our workload heavier and caused us to be constantly looking over our shoulders. Personally, I’m happy with every project I get; it’s a reminder I’m still employed. If I have to stay late or come in on a Saturday, I’m not going to complain. It’s a paycheck.

But Sandie’s howling louder than ever. Bitch, bitch, bitch. The other day, I was just wasn’t in the mood. She told me she was worried about getting a project done in time. In all these years, she’s worried that every project would be late, and yet we have never missed a deadline. I said, “Sandie, you’re always worried about that.” She slammed her door in my face.

I went back to my desk and sent her an e-mail with the subject line, “I’M SORRY.” I then wrote that I was stressed out, that I didn’t mean anything by the comment, that I just felt bad that she was concerned when we have never dropped a ball, yada yada yada.

Three days later, Sandie’s still not speaking to me. We’re working together, but she’s keeping contact to a minimum, and when I smiled at her in the hallway today she glared at me and looked away.

I don’t know how long I’m going to be on Sandie’s shit list, but I know one thing for sure – I really didn’t need to apologize. The truth of the matter is that I can’t stand to have anyone angry at me, and as long as I can remember I’ve been quick to assign blame to myself, even when it’s not mine to accept.

My friend Kim teases me about the time in high school when I ran into a tree and said, “I’m sorry.” Your bad mood? I’m sorry. Rain during the event we planned? I’m sorry. World hunger? I’m sorry.

Maybe I should spend less time being sorry for other peoples’ problems and attitudes and more time standing up for Me.

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