Dear Preston: My Colleague Doesn’t Appreciate My Efforts
April 26, 2016
I am a new planner who loves my job. I work hard and I give 100% to my boss, colleagues and clients every day while really trying to “go the extra mile” so to speak. So many people show appreciation for this while others can see it as something they need to bring down. I suppose it’s the need to keep someone to size, but it can be hurtful when all you want to do is get along and do a great job. One of the freelancers on the job we are working on is so dismissive and cold to me that it’s really impacting me. I feel nervous and awkward around her, and worse, I just feel like it’s unnecessary. Still, I take it because I don’t want to make waves, but that only seems to make it worse. How should I handle this?
While I think it is reasonable that you would question why this woman would be dismissive of you, I would also encourage you not to look into situations for answers when you have done nothing wrong. I would also give her the benefit-of-the-doubt. The truth is that this woman might actually be thinking about something else, just have a cooler personality, or perhaps she’s just not as cheery or outgoing. Maybe you remind her of someone who annoyed her in childhood or the sky was the wrong color of blue on her way to work. My point is not to diminish your feelings, but to gently remind you that, most of the time, situations like this have less to do with real issues and more to do with misunderstandings and projections. Not everyone is going to notice or care when we go the extra mile or appreciate our “good morning” but if we do these things with no expectations, we hold onto our own personal power. That said, if it is really bad and actually deserves your time, attention and energy (beyond just being an unfortunate personality difference) it deserves action.
One thing I always talk about in my PB Protege class and here on my blog is the importance of charging what you are worth. Of course, most of the time, I am speaking about money, but this is important in life too. It is a reliable (and sometimes hard) truth that you will get what you pay for in this world, but also what you tolerate. We will not always get along with the people we meet or even work with, but I believe there has to be a level of appreciation and respect on a very human level or else there will be all kinds of toxic feelings coming up: resentment, confusion, hurt feelings, anger and even a lack of confidence (as we discussed in yesterday’s blog). I have found that the best way to do this isn’t to approach someone with aggression, but with a smile. Instead of jumping into a “what’s your problem” drama, invite her to take a walk with you to grab a coffee with you. If she declines, offer to grab her one. Pay attention to how she responds. That will give you a good idea as to whether or not your personalizing her personality. If she clearly has an issue, ask to speak to her privately and broach the topic with the intention of coming to an understanding. While that is a possibility, it is equally as possible that she is delighted by your offer and enjoy a lovely walk together. My advice is to go into your office and do your best, give the best parts of yourself to those around you, but don’t push anyone who may not want to be friends.
How do you feel about this, readers?