May 23, 2005

cracking it

Monday at work was another stressful day. again, it was just busy and relentless, one task after another interspersed with humbug and distractions. by the afternoon I must have had enough because something snapped. I got cranky and one of the people I work with and spoke semi-harshly to them, which I never do. well, that person got cranky right back at me and threatened to quit. I’m the kind of person who avoids conflict like the plague so this was pretty eventful for me.

I don’t really know why I cracked it, something must have got to me but I don’t quite know what. I mean, I know the specific thing I was cranky about, but I don’t know why I actually cracked it today instead of dealing with it as I normally do. I think maybe I just hit the wall or something.

so I was very worried about having that argument. I didn’t mean to upset the person and I was upset now too. And also worried about what the ramifications would be.

But everything actually worked out really well. The next day, everyone seemed to offer me support, everyone here knows I’m working hard and working well but seeing me crack it reminded everyone that it’s not easy for me either. And the person I cracked it at, well, we didn’t talk all day – kind of a tense standoff – but we apologised to each other at the end of the day and I felt good again. So cracking it was a positive thing in a lot of ways. All this mob now know that I do have limits and am capable of cracking it. And now I know that they do care and they do look out for me.

1 comment:

bulanjan said...

Yes, you're human - your co-workers will be relieved to know it! And conflict is a good way to reveal it - it's absurd to think we can be 'neutral' observers who don't become en-meshed in the politics of fieldwork, or that we're above getting pissed off or tired.

In many ways what you did was demonstrate you have boundaries and you did so in a manner that is commonly used in Aboriginal families! So, perhaps you managed to do it in the best possible way: instead of intellectualising it all in the way we middle-class professionals are want to do ("I'd appreciate it if you could give me a little space right now, I'm somewhat tired and overwhelmed") you got emotional.

And doesn't it feel great once the pressure to not lose it is off? Because you've now revealed yourself as human, you've probably reduced the gap between you and your co-workers.

The tricky thing of course, is knowing why and when you *can* lose it/let it be known you're not ok with a given situation. I think we spend a lot of time *not blaming* people for social problems we (intellectuals, again!) can attribute to disadvantage. It's not someone's fault they haven't eaten and are humbugging for food, etc. So in some ways we *train* ourselves out of *judging* people and situations. But I think it's entirely legitimate to get pissed off when people let you down because of more personal issues you can identify, e.g. using you to play personal politics with someone else, etc.