But as I learned, working with me hasn't always been easy. My epiphany came at a department Christmas lunch a few years ago. I was handed my reality check because it was then I was told just how difficult I could be. Boy was that an embarrassing eye-opener. I was shocked at myself - at my behavior and what I was doing that showed a less then kind or professional face to my co-workers. I didn't deny it - after all, who am I to tell someone their perception or experience of me was wrong? I will say, I apologized a lot (and still am, in some cases) and I have tried to learn from that experience and not look back at my past with rose colored glasses.
I admit it - I don't like change. I don't like people who hover over me when I'm trying to focus. I don't like people who talk about 'invisible dotted reporting lines' on org charts. I like doing things one way all the time and mostly I dislike having to do things all over again, well, just because. I loathe confrontation.
All that aside, I don't set out to be difficult. I try to be nice. I love successful team work and (as is true for most eldest children) I really like it when everyone gets along. I'm the person who bakes for the ENTIRE office at Christmas time because I feel weird about giving to a few but not everyone. I love to come in early and get out early. I rarely take sick or vacation days. I will answer emails in the middle of the night and on weekends and if a co-worker calls me off hours, I answer the phone. I go above and beyond because it's the right thing, not because I want a gold sticker on my report card. I love being able to give people a 'great job!' or 'thank you for your efforts' because I honestly believe it is easier to compliment then to complain.
Let me be honest here, I have had a very difficult time these last 17 years. I worked at a company that was successfully bought out and I lost my job. I worked at two companies that were financial failures and I lost both of those jobs. I have had major depression issues, pain issues (osteo-arthritis) and some intimate relationships that were royal failures. There was a failed pregnancy. But through it all, work was always there - a place to focus on something other then myself, where I could help someone else or where I could find peace in a cubicle. I have even had some great fun with co-workers. I've met amazing, intelligent people who have touched my life. I have met mentors and friends. I even successfully worked with a relative! I have learned so much about my industry, people and the world.
So what of this Karma I started with? Well - I have a coworker who is me, circa 2011. I knew it from the day they started but instead of getting mad, I told myself that this person was put into my path because I had lessons to learn. I also tried not to complain because hey, hadn't others complained about me? I'm not sure what exactly those lessons are yet, but I can tell you they are HARD. This person manages to piss me off royally but I can't get mad at them - why? Because it would make me a hypocrite and no one likes a hypocrite.
But more and more, as my blood pressure makes a temporary fountain out the top of my head, I am trying to figure out exactly what it is (exactly) I'm supposed to be getting here. I don't think I'm supposed to learn how to teach others how not to be like me, because that is way too egotistical. I'm pretty sure I've already learned the lesson of what it felt like for others to 'deal' with me, so it isn't that - but honestly, I haven't a clue.
Well, whatever it is (and pray I find it soon), let me tell you that Karma is real and it stinks and if you really don't want to experience it, do try and be the best that you can be in all things. Apologize. Be open to learning and growing and sharing your growth and learning. Try to do the right thing, not the easy thing. Set your boundaries and respect them and those of others. Mostly, practice patience (hey! this might be my lesson!) and at the end of the day, before you go to sleep, be grateful for the good and the bad.