Saturday, January 16, 2010

Work Relationships

I have a friend at my work who is interesting and kind of crazy in a lovely, endearing way. She has a big head of curly black hair that matches her crazy personality. I am sometimes lacking in expression or enthusiasm in my normal temperament so crazy people lend themselves well to me. I have driven her into work on several occasions when she did not have a ride, and in a way I enjoyed my out-of-the-ordinary conversations in the car. She is a bit dramatic but she has a good, honest heart and she is a good person so I like her. He major problem is her son, who seems to think he rules her house and has absolutely no responsibility except to go out and enjoy himself at her expense. My friend is a bit naive because she had never engaged in any teenage, rebellious activities so when she tells me her 18 year old son came home at 3am and a girl slept over with him, I have to give her my realistic opinion of what her "baby" is doing up there with that cute girl in her house. The problem is that she gives him too much, and holds him accountable for nothing- she fills up the gas in his car, she buys him a new cell phone each time he looses his(of course he needs the fanciest one), she pays for his speeding tickets, on and on and he has no job. She feels bad for him, may feel guilty for stuff and can't seem to cut him off and follow through with any threats. Do you know - this kid had a $180 speeding ticket, which of course she left him the money for, and he told her he went to court and paid it. She called up the court to see what happened with the ticket and they told her it was dismissed. So that little brat lied and took her money!
Since I talk to her often about her son and try to advise her objectively, I came to realize that some people can truly hold it together and be effective at work, and then fall apart at home. My crazy friend is a perfect example of this - she is very good at her job (a social worker) - she manages behavior problems and is professional and compliant with all aspects of her job and remains pretty upbeat throughout. But at home she has lost all control of her son and herself. I asked her if she could have a rational conversation with her son without yelling or flying off the handle and she said no. So what you see at work is not necessarily what is carried over into that person's personal life - I think we're all just a level worse at home. So be very afraid of those people who cant even keep it together at work.
Funny enough a new dietitian started where I work and she was coming in real early wearing super cute dresses and quite high heels and was very energetic and enthusiastic - it was great! I thought, wow, we sure did hire a good asset to our team! And if I have ever been that enthusiastic to start a new job, it probably only lasted two weeks. Sure enough, Upbeat Dietitian is coming in at 9 now, wearing flats and sucking down caffeinated beverages because she is now tired like the rest of us! But I must say that the initial impression of the first 1-2 weeks is what sticks with you. You meet someone and decide upon what you think of them. So my brain registered her as "friendly and enthusiastic" and she was not afraid to ask anyone for any information that she may need to help her learn the way and do her job. So even as she is sleepy, not as dressed up, less eye opening make up and revealing a more realistic mood pattern, my first impression still resounds in me. Morale of the story - put it all out there for two weeks even if it is unnatural, so that people who are paying a heightened attention to the new person will take away that good impression forever more. It is hard to unprove someones first impression, so make it a good one!

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