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Tuesday, 18 March 2008

To bitch or not to bitch? That is the question...

I was asked at work today what would I do if another staff member confronted me and called me a bitch. I just smiled. Please don’t be shocked but I have been called a bitch before. Most strong minded women have. It does not bother me. It takes skill to be a bitch and not let it bring you down. Anyway, this manager was serious so I put on my serious, caring face – I keep it in my pocket for serious occasions. I also have my intensely interested face, my bland non committal face, my I’m really happy to be here face and my woo hoo its knock off time face in there as well. It can get tricky sometimes if I’m not paying attention. I don’t want to be wearing my woo hoo face when someone wants me to do a sucky job as they may think I am dedicated and that would be wrong. Anyway, where was I? Yes – the bitch thing – now management throw these questions at you, as you know, to see how calm and responsible you are. I rattled off some crap about handling it in a professional, non personal manner to diffuse the situation and to not create gossip - but hells bells everyone knows someone walking up to someone else and using
the ‘b’ word for all to hear is going to spread like wildfire through an office. Anyway, whatever I said was the right thing. I can act so normal sometimes it frightens me. However I am not against people speaking their mind. I know – big surprise. But I believe if you are so wrought up you have to call someone a bitch then do it, get it out in the open, sort it and move on. It’s all the seething tensions that lie below a surface that make a workplace difficult.

For an example of this I go back to Promptel (code name for crap phone company). Many moons ago, myself, Ethel and another person I’ll call Celia used to sit together in the office. It was a terrible grouping of people because we were all bad to the bone. Anyway, Ethel likes to have the radio on at work and she likes to sing to it – loud. When you are used to working with someone I find you tend to switch off to easy listen music being wailed in your ear. Others aren’t though. We used to sit near a woman called, er Angie - anyway Angie was your typical psychopath. Every office has one. If there was the need for a bunny boiling, duco scratching, light fingered, sexual deviant then it was Angie. She had a problem with us. I suspect because we had a lot of fun and we weren’t male. She liked to sit near males for obvious reasons. She also hated Ethel’s singing.
Now, I was not averse to telling Ethel to shut up – she would swear at me and then be quiet for 5 minutes before she started singing again. Angie never said anything to us, she just built up the rage until one day it boiled over into what we called ‘Highlighter-gate.’ What happened? Pretty silly now but she snapped and threw a highlighter pen – a big thick one – in our direction. It missed my nose by inches and slammed into the dividing board of out desks. She then looked at us as if to say ‘what are you going to do now huh?’ Being in a call centre as we were, doing something like that does not go unnoticed and dozens of heads popped up over dividers like meerkats. Most people did not like Angie and most assumed I would snot her. (snot = punch her in the nose). I don’t hit. Words are more effective.

Naturally, this whole incident stopped Ethel singing and Celia and I just looked at each other in surprise. I do have a wild temper but over the years I have learnt to control it. I just stood up and walked away as I knew whatever I did next would be talked about for days. I could see as I passed by that Angie was shaking with rage. I’m not about to tackle a psycho without a net. I knew her history. I also knew I had to get the true version of what happened to management before the wild stories I knew would break out. Now, I personally love the elaborate stories that people make up but not when they have the potential to harm me or friends. They broke out anyway due to a woman call, Nellie – nasty cow that she was. Thankfully I got in with my story before she did and her exaggerated story of all four of us in a punch up only made her look stupid – which was a bonus for us as we did not like Nellie. Hello Nellie, if you’re reading this…still an interfering cow are you?

So what is the point of this ramble? Um…let me read back…maybe it’s about thinking for a split second before you go with your first reaction at work. Maybe your second reaction will save you arse or maybe it’s about not sitting with people who sing along to the radio or maybe it’s about the fact that work can be a war zone and you have to be prepared for the highlighter pens that get thrown at you. Or maybe it’s just a Tuesday ramble on.

Just heard …
….on the radio that Paul McCartney was ordered by the High Court to pay Heather Mills some $50 million as a settlement and that she was ‘very happy’ with this. Well yes, I suspect she would be. Money can indeed buy happiness. I would personally be ecstatic at 50 mill. Now, I don’t care if you are a celebrity or not, I tend to think if you have assets that you have worked hard for then a pre-nup is a must. Yes, I know it’s not romantic but the bottom line, to my mind, if you both go into a relationship with eyes open and cards on the table, a pre-nup is a realistic thing and both parties should be able to see that. Love is great but protecting yourself is a must. Any thoughts?

Speaking of thoughts…please go to www.annycook.blogspot.com and see if Anny has put the antler picture up on her blog. If not demand she do so. Then go to www.kkirch.blogspot.com where author Chris Power has day two in her guest spot on Kelly’s blog.

www.freewebs.com/amarindajones/
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?

6 comments:

Sandra Cox said...

You really need to be writing a column in a newspaper. I read each blog with fascination.
prenups: I know you're right. Its stupid not too. But I still can't get past the fact, that for me, its no way to start a marriage. Its like you aren't going into it with the attitude its going to succeed. So what's the point?

Mona Risk said...

I love the picture of the guy sitting on the copying machine! Did he get a good picture?

Kelly Kirch said...

Not going to touch the pre-nup question. It doesn't apply to me.

On to highlighters. In my call center places things arched over the walls constantly. One highlighter would not have meant a thing. No one would have wondered at it. And my boss has never asked me my reaction to being called a bitch. Ever. Interesting differences between Aussies and Yanks.

Anny Cook said...

I think EVERY marriage should start with a prenup whether you have money or not. Then later if there is cause for a break-up everyone is clear on where they stand...

As for bitchiness in the work place. Everyone knows which one are the bitches... no one has to mention it to their faces.

Ashley Ladd said...

LOLOL. Your office sounds a lot like mine. Maybe all offices are like this. I mean, you put so many personalities together, you're bound to have some fun, some fighting, some bitching, some psychos (maybe lots). We have a singer in our group and she happens to have the same name as me. It really helps sometimes to be hard of hearing (which I am). When my good ear is on the phone, I don't hear the singing (usually). At work, I'm pretty circumspect when it comes to fighting and name calling (except at the lunch table). I bend all over myself not to cause waves and to keep the peace. Once, however, at a different job, when someone called me a bitch and waved a brush in my face, I grabbed the brush, flung it far, and got back in her face yelling whatever back. I surprised that bitch - she wasn't expecting me to stand up for myself. I'm usually nice and polite, but if I'm backed in a corner, like that woman did to me, I'll come out fighting. Don't be fooled.

barbara huffert said...

I'd love to work in an office with you. Great demotivators. I have the calender.