Thursday, September 25, 2014

The price of peevishness

In case you were wondering, it is okay to get a little righteous at work, a bit peevish, to cry out

"Who packs a box like this!"
"What alphabet are these people using!"
"Why would someone leave this here!"
"Who can't put a stupid date slip in the bins!"
"What would possess someone to write such a confusing note!"
"Why would someone take the last slip and not replace them!"
"Who would tell a patron such a thing!"
"Who would...

Oh, right, yes, that can go on for awhile. Sorry.

It's okay to get a little peevish at work, a touch outraged. Just, you know, try to keep it under a hundred times a day. It's bad for your soul if you go over a hundred times a day.

But even if you only have 50, or so, bursts of offended, peevish, disgruntled outrages, which is a totally natural amount, and perfectly healthy, there is still a price to pay.

"Who are these people always talking about the price to pay!"

Sorry, but, yes, there is a price, and here it is:

For everything you get all righteous and peevish about, your own behavior must be scrupulous.

I know, ouch.

Don't worry, I'm not talking about irritation or disappointment. I'm not talking about being bummed out because someone before you left you a bunch of work at the easy, phones work station when you were planning on a relaxing hour there. You don't have to be scrupulous. You can just do your tithe of work and pay forward your disappointment to the next disappointed person. What I'm talking about is complaining. I'm talking about getting on your high horse and looking down, with recrimination, upon these people who have failed you. If I am putting a book in one of the boxes for delivery to another library branch and it's irritatingly packed in an illogical, messed up way, and I want to cry out to whoever is in the vicinity "Don't people know how to pack a stupid box! Is it that hard!" So that they look at me nervously, I really have to have my ducks in a row. I have to be a master box packer. Not only do I have to pack my boxes with a scrupulousness that would never cause one of my co-workers to cry out as I have done, but I must feel so strongly about it that I fix the boxes that someone else has packed so obscenely. 

But here's the thing: while I pack that box I get to mutter, a lot, and feel very, very, very superior. So there are perks, too.

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