… But your words can cut me deeply.
This morning I was called a name at work – Little Miss Perfect – by a 78 year old administrative assistant who fully plans to greet the next life from the comfort of her desk chair. And I am not even joking about the clichéd nickname or the life plan. I think the cherry on top of this malevolent treat was the fact that when I spoke with her about a scheduling issue earlier in the day, she was sweet as pie. She even went so far as to say, “You are such a darling, thanks for your help with this!” But apparently as soon as I was otherwise occupied she made it her business to actively spread her alleged gossip with my new moniker attached.
Now I know this begs the question: What did you do? Sorry, but I must disappoint because nothing has happened to warrant such a reaction. My tale thus far has not been a build-up to a fantastic story filled with drama, angst and strife. Instead, yesterday there was a silly mix up with a set of Cher concert tickets between her boss and mine. (Yes, the executives in my office are all about ‘believing in life after love’ and I had the pleasure of planning their rockstar weekend getaway to Las Vegas.) In any event, the gossip worthy incident amounted to me visiting her cubicle to retrieve the previously allusive tickets, thanking her for finding them and walking back to my own workspace. And yet, she has been giddy today as she has spread the word that I am not perfect. Well, I hate to burst her bubble but that is not news. I make mistakes. Shocker!
But I do admit that I sometimes have thin skin. I want to be liked. I want to be accepted. I want to succeed in what I do, even if it is not my long-term plan. And what she said hurt my feelings. Her words were mean and with no other intent than to cause me harm. In the eight months since my transfer to this office, I have spoken to her five times and it has always been polite and cheery conversation based on work. So really, there is no basis for her to actively attempt to defame me. But sadly, I have learned that this is the way of life in my company. Eat or be eaten. And since I have not the will or the desire to step on the backs of my coworkers in an effort to climb to the top of this ridiculous administrative ladder, I am many times the target of office gossip attacks among my peers. Simply because of the attitude bred in this corporate setting.
So I suppose the real reason I am sharing this silly experience is mostly to remind myself to watch my words. To take care in what I say about others. I know it is a lesson that is taught from diapers to adulthood, but this morning was a harsh reminder that what we say affects people. And I hate to think of the trail of hurt feelings I have left in my wake through life in my unguarded moments when I have said things about others.
I believe that old nursery rhyme is just a bit misleading, because words really can hurt. So with that in mind, I apologize to those I have ever been less than kind towards. And I promise to try harder even after the sting of this reminder has worn into a faded memory of a stupid day at work.