Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'll Tell You What I Want, What I Really Really Want

Actually, go ahead and tell ME what YOU want, what you really really want.

I've been struggling the past few weeks with my attitude at work. I've been pulled into a high-profile, near-failing project (lucky me -- usually I'm on the low-profile guaranteed-to-fail projects, so this is a step up) and so get to spend a lot of time with my direct manager and HIS boss, the director of my department. This means spending a lot of time biting my tongue, but that's good practice for me.

Unfortunately, it means spending a lot of time with my manager, which then exposes some flaws in that (relation?) (work?)-ship that we've been able to gloss over in the past. And that is this: He doesn't like me. Sure, we've worked together for eight years, but we have a similar sense of humor and so can get through most things. And actually, it's not fair to say he doesn't like me. Two weeks ago as I found myself getting more and more frustrated with him I came to the conclusion that he's afraid of me. Because I'm so, you know, scary.

But today after another meaningless meeting in the War Room (Why do we insist on having rooms called War Rooms at work??? Doesn't it just automatically foster more feelings of hatred?) Anyway, my co-worker and I were walking out of there together for a much needed break, and he put his arm around me as we commiserated together. I said, "See? Andrew hates me!"

"Andrew doesn't hate you. He just wants everyone to agree with him."

Blink. Blink.

Well, duh. Of course that's all he wants. I just forgot that that's how I'm should be looking at people. What do THEY want? Not what do *I* want?!

Basic life management principle, and one I'm just figuring out how to practice more fully. How much better would our (relation) (friend) (whatever)-ships be if we put that person's needs first instead of our own? I know, this isn't news to any of you out there. But after eight years of dancing around my manager, it certainly was enlightening to have it explained to me in 30 seconds.

The maddening part is, of course, that HE doesn't think about what I want. HA! And that, my friends, is the problem -- when we think we should come first no one wins.

So tell me what you want, what you really really want, and let's see what we can do together.