Sunday, June 4, 2017

Two Faces - Putting on a Good Show

I came across a quote today posted by Daily Plug on Facebook.

It's frustrating knowing how terrible of a person someone actually is, but everyone loves them because they put on a good show.
This is why I now have a few gray hairs.

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See, I fell for the show for a year and half. I learned from a person who was wise, kind, had a HUGE heart, and big opinions. I learned to have a thicker skin, to be more pessimistic and see things from a different point of view. I learned many skills I needed to survive. This person was a mentor.

Until I grew.

I grew from my study of them. I learned. As I grew, I tried to do what they do, to take the control that they possessed, which was my right. See, I was their ranking superior. I treated them with the respect of a peer and even a superior for a while when I was learning. As I grew, though, I needed to take over. They needed to phase out.

They didn't like that.

I cried myself to sleep. I talked to a few people about it and got some great advice. This person was going to make a mistake, say things to the wrong person, or tick someone off, and as long as I was keeping my nose clean and butt covered, I'd be fine. I knew they were trying to cover their own butt, so I had to cover mine.

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This meant documentation. If anything went amiss, I needed to write it down. This person was good though, both in the way they performed their job, and in their good-natured heart. I began to examine what things upset me as well as what things upset them.

It was about control and action. They wanted control and quick action on events and trials that occurred in the workplace. I was supposed to have the control, the power, and I like to think before I act. I also do not like confrontation, so I did not have good conversations with them. I was not going to cry at work.

This person continued to offer up suggestions for the way I should do things. Sometimes I followed them and sometimes I didn't. I made schedule changes that they didn't like by having them switch lunches to supervise kids instead of have lunch with their best friend. I planned things for myself to do and they sat back and scoffed when I didn't do them their way, sending me 'warning' comments across the room. (It was a cooking lesson and they were a better cook, so they had comments about timing of parts of the meal and heat settings on the stove.) But I was the superior in rank in the room. If it didn't work out, it was a teachable moment for all of us. Not everything had to be perfect.

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Fortunately, this person moved away. In the time leading up to this, I tried harder and harder to take control back. The person was not happy at all. They began to push others away with their complaints and negative attitude. I talked to others who also worked with this person and found out THEY were putting on a show of liking the person, too. I felt better. It wasn't just me.

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I saw beneath the mask. I wasn't alone. Others could see beneath it, too. It's just not polite to talk about what you see behind the mask because it's often so ugly. Sometimes you need to know that others can see it, too. It makes living with the person more bearable.

I learned many things.

1. Life is short and you so have to make decisions, sometimes quick ones.
2. Say no and don't fret about what others think. Sometimes you have to be the bad guy. Sometimes you have to yell. You can go back later and debrief.
3. Document everything that can be traced back to you. Every action that another person will find out about. Make sure that if you use electronic communication that big issues go through email or paper notes and not texting or messaging.
4. Find a good friend to talk to about things. Don't keep it all inside. If your good friends still see the mask and not what's behind it, find a co-worker or someone else who might understand.
5. Cry. Go ahead and cry it out, in private or in public when appropriate.
6. Evaluate your own actions, your own masks. Make decisions. Change things. Grow. If you need time, take it.

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