Nothing darkens my mood at work more than receiving a dig, pointed instruction, or correction from one of my managers. It makes me angry, vengeful, and sad. It happens to me, in forms anywhere from subtle and minor to more pointed and irritated, once every few months or so. I have not had many different managers, so this has always had a kind of consistency.
Undoubtedly some of my qualities work against me here. I'm irreverent. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say I am disrespectful, but I take my own counsel in every possible situation. I can be whimsical and garrulous. I work at my best and hardest when I am most alone, in a kind of quiet, secluded commitment. My managers are not so obtuse that they don't deduce some strong indications of that, and its value, but it's not the sort of thing they get to see directly all that often. Throw me into a bobbing crowd of staff, with swaths of work that can wait (a cart of books to be processed rather than patrons to help) and I get sociable and shy of work. I am rarely keen to fill in the quiet times with industriousness. Reading things becomes terrifically appealing to me in those situations. These things burn my managers' eyes and build up irritation until they just have to say something. And I don't like it. Recently a manager complained "Is anything getting processed back here?" after observing me in a longish discussion with a co-worker about Wes Anderson and then half an hour later coming upon me in a shorter discussion (and how would she know this one was short?) with another pair of co-workers about the Olympics. Oh it made me mad!
Unfortunately, complaining bitterly about management is one of my blogs somewhat taboo subjects. It is something that I can't be relied upon to discuss with my whole soul, composed and complete, and with any essential touch of lightness. But upstairs, shelving, I was thinking about all this. I was mad at the "Is anything getting processed back here?" gibe. And I felt like writing something about it. But not being able to make use of the perfidy of my manager, with nowhere to hurl my invective, with no villains, and with no persecution, I was left with just me. And I was confronted with the fact that I goof off quite a bit. It was like I was getting all hurt and angry at the suggestion of the truth.
"Is anything getting processed back here?"
The answer is "Not a whole lot. I'm trying to enjoy myself."
I am not interested in, nor would it be wise to be, actually answering with that. But too, it would be unrealistic to expect my managers to protect me from the truth of it. And while I may dream of wise, far seeing, and accepting managers who always see through to my full honor and worth, so too they may dream of the perfect employee, ever industrious, responsible, and taking care of everything they want taken care of. I will do better to take us both as we come.