Métete En Tus Asuntos
If there has been one cause of conflict throughout my work career, it has been this: my coworker's inability to mind their own damn business.
I try to be a good employee, I swear that I do. I pride myself on showing up on time, following all the rules and implementing the duties as well as I can. Unsurprisingly, when I have had reviews, the duties of my job haven't generally been an issue. But somehow that never seems to be enough. No matter what I give, it isn't enough--people still want more. The trouble is that they want something I refused to give--me.
What has come up over and over is my rather "anti-social" behavior. I am generally a quiet and reserved. I don't really speak unless spoken to and I don't give out personal information about my life with people that I am not intimate with. I like to spend my break times alone in order to regain my energy. I have never understood why this behavior would cause an issue, but for a certain type of person it does.
I've learned over the years that my rather reserved nature makes a perfect screen for people to project a myriad of ideas, opinions and insecurities. People often find those of my temperament to be arrogant. Or people are resentful of you for not participating socially the way that they want you to. Or more accurately, the way they feel required to interact.
Or something. I don't know.
All I know that I have had a disproportionate number of jobs who seemed to care more about what I did outside of my workload than with my actual responsibilities. Initially, this created something of an insecurity for me. I couldn't understand why what I did was never enough. And I resented the fact that people felt entitled to know what I felt was personal and private information.
What has and still annoys me more about this, however, is that this curiosity never seems genuine. Instead, it seems that people are just looking for information or "dirt" on you. If I am honest, these type of jobs seemed low on productivity and high on gossip and rumors. At one of my last jobs before leaving the US, I felt as though I was in the University library as opposed to an actual professional business. While my co-workers were "nice," it was more than obvious that for most of them this was their first job and they acted as such.
Because I never fit into these types of organizations, I often felt as though there was something wrong with me. It never occurred to me until recently that perhaps this just wasn't the type of environment where I was meant to work.
Then, I moved to Spain.
I arrived in Spain being more than a little over it. As my friend recently reminded me, I saw my journey here as a gift to myself. My twenties had been rather tough, and I saw this sabbatical in Spain as an opportunity to be young and carefree for what seemed like the first time ever. I was only expected to work for 16 hours a week which meant that I would have plenty of time to pursue all the passions that had eluded me back in the states.
Unfortunately, the principal at my school was a narcissist who felt as though he should be consulted on all my adventures outside of the classroom. I've already written rather extensively about my conflicts with him, so I won't go into much detail now. But suffice it to say, being around him made my experience in Madrid rather insufferable.
In Minorca, I was lucky enough to avoid these pitfalls, my teachers seemed to really appreciate my work in the classroom. But thankfully, they gave very little concern as to what I did outside of it. It truly was paradise.
Now, I am back on the mainland and that common refrain is starting to rear itself up again. To make matters worse, unlike when I was in Madrid, my school is isolated and my schedule is all over the place. Meaning that I have to be at the school for an excessive amount of hours without being paid. To remedy this, I've begun to start taking taxis to work from the train station. While it isn't ideal and is rather expensive, it is actually the only way I can be there without feeling angry or resentful that my time is being so utterly disrespected.
The problem is that my solution for internal happiness is beginning to become a source of conflict for some of my coworkers. To make matters worse, again, I don't really care. But nothing sets self-absorbed people off more than indifference. Everyday, I feel the tension building. But this time, instead of allowing it to explode, I am going to bow out.
At this point, I am old enough and wise enough to understand when to just let well enough alone. For two years now, I have truly been repeating the same process over and over while expecting different results. It is time to write my own rules. And the first one will be, mind your own business and get to work.