When I was younger my mom told me that sometimes adults can be more childish than actual children. I didn’t quite get this idea until I started working full-time– more so in a leadership role. At first it baffled me how people who were in positions of such esteem and regard could be so immature and petty. I witnessed grown adults holding grudges, gossiping and being cliquey– worse than middle school girls. My first thought was “well I’ll just avoid all of that and mind my business” but unfortunately gossip culture will find you; and it will test you.
I figured that by being nice to everyone, not overstepping the work/ socializing boundary that I could avoid that whole whirlwind of picking sides– I was wrong. In being nice to everyone and chit chatting over the water cooler, I opened myself up to other employees prodding for information about their coworkers because I seemed to get along with everyone. When I didn’t play into the game I became a scapegoat and a goody-two-shoes. While I don’t often let idle gossip bother me, dealing with such petulant behavior from adults was tiring. I ended up putting my foot down and just making it clear to all that if something was amiss or there was confusion I should be asked directly– and not relayed messages through the grapevine.
In my middle school days, gossip and ally making was rattling to me and I wanted to badly to be on the right side. I found however, that the “right” side often meant compromising my character or my morality and I just couldn’t do it. In elementary school I was an outcast for making friends with a girl who had an accident and in middle school I was made fun of by proxy because one of my best friends was a little overweight. Once I reached high school I was over it entirely and I built myself a network of girlfriends who didn’t give a damn what people thought of them and although not all of us keep in touch anymore the lesson they taught resonated.
I don’t need to be liked or loved by everyone to do my job, or to be good at it and I certainly don’t owe anyone anything. The most important thing that I can say is to be firm in your footing; stand up for what you believe in and who you are. Most of all, do your job, do it well and don’t tread anywhere the ice may be too thin.