When You Piss Off Pollyanna

Without completely violating my No Work Talk on the Blog policy, I want to tell you about something that happened to me last week.  This wasn’t the first time this had happened to me, but for some reason it was more bothersome because it happened in a (theoretically) professional environment, rather than at the hands of an ex-boyfriend or family member.

I had a negative (but rational and proportionate I ASSURE YOU) response to something that was said to me.  Rather than take my feedback at face value and try to resolve the situation at hand I was asked, not unkindly, if everything is OK at home, is there something going on, am I feeling OK, etc?  Stopped JUST short of asking if I’m PMSing, basically.  And while I get that a lot of people bring the personal into work or use home stuff as an excuse to act up I a.) never do that – if I need a personal day, I take one and b.) am insulted that my honest, professional reaction was treated as “Bitches be hormonal and crazy, amirite?”  At the very least, there was zero acknowledgment that this was about work, nothing else.  No attempt to find some common ground and resolution, just deflection of responsibility.

While this reaction was upsetting in itself, I figured out why it has stayed with me for so long:

  1. There is some inherent sexism at hand here, I think.  A sort of “We need to calm the hysterical woman” vibe.  I may be reading more into this, but maybe not.
  2. It is unsettling to work with or for someone who cannot take responsibility for his or her own words and actions – and when called on it – tries to turn it around and pin it on hypothetical marital or health problems or something other than the situation at hand.
  3. Who asks for feedback, and when given it, then asks, “What’s going on with you?”  Someone who doesn’t actually value honesty, that’s who.


I’m sure part of the reason my reaction elicited such a response is because I’m quite the little Pollyanna glass-is-half-full go-getter at work (here is where people familiar with me in real life die from shock), but I’m also a practical problem-solver (or at least seeker of a solution) and blindly nodding and smiling agreeably isn’t practical.  It’s being a suck-ass and that’s not who I am.

Don’t worry: I’m not so delusional as to think I’m the first person ever to experience this and YET I AM STILL AMAZED.  So I guess the takeaway here is that while I am a pretty cynical person, I have still not lost my sense of wonder.

Pollyanna indeed.


One thought on “When You Piss Off Pollyanna

  1. […] As rough as this has been on Ed, I must say he is a.) insanely tough and b.) taking this all in stride waaaayyy better than I ever would.  After the initial impact, he was asked to rate his pain on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being “the worst pain you’ve ever felt in your life.”  His response?  “Well, it’s definitely the worst pain I’ve ever been in, but I’m sure there’s something worse so I’ll say a 9.”  My response?  “It’s an 11.  Give him whatever meds you’ve got.”  I also think this pain scale is much more effective, but the nurses didn’t get it when I told them it probably felt like he was being mauled by a bear.  Aside from handling the pain, discomfort, and other inconveniences of all of this, he’s been incredibly patient with me as I juggle caring for him, handling our families and their well-meaning-yet-totally-over-the-top calls and histrionics over something that is ultimately GOING TO BE FINE.   Maybe we’re both just numb to this kind of shit after Cervixpalooza 2011, Ed’s dad’s sundry hospitalizations, and my early experiences with my own dad but we’re both of the *shrug* “Eh, this blows but it could have been worse and at least they make decent pain meds” camp.  And while I wouldn’t characterize any of this as “fun” per se, it has forced us to slow down, cancel some events, and spend some quiet time without feeling like we should be doing anything other than hanging out together.  And our living room slumber parties (Ed asleep in an armchair, me on the couch, and Molly in her bed on the floor near us) haven’t been the most restful but hey!  We’re all together!  Glass half full!  Pollyanna REPRESENT!  […]

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