My dear friend Octavia tells me that the office is a place of solace for her. I can't help but agree 100 percent. Now before you knit your brows and burst “S-O-L-A-C-E? Are you insane??” let me first set the parameter for this perspective. It only applies to moms who get no peace at home, are sleep-deprived and have more than 1 kid to handle. Moms like me okay? Before I became a mother of two, I’d never thought I’d see my office as a secret getaway from my chaotic home. Now, I see it as a place where I get in touch with the outside world and get a grip of sanity. You see, at the office, things are always organized, neat and quiet. There is no annoying background music of Little Einsteins or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse playing in my head. There isn’t any shouting or screaming that is loud enough to burst my ear drums, causing suicidal behaviour. NO. None of that. To me, the office equals TRANQUILITY.
Having said that, I must admit not the same can be said about all offices around the world. In fact, most people, no matter how much they love their job, complain about their workplace all the time. The reasons for these complaints are many but two prominent ones are negative behaviour of staff members and social conflicts. Now I'm sure most of us at some point during our working lives have been affected by conflict and negative behaviour in the workplace. The kind of conflict I'm referring to doesn’t take the obvious form of a WWE, hair-pulling fight between colleagues. On the contrary, it is often subtle (hush hush) and may only be visible to those who have been affected by this over a period of time. According to Vivienne Patterson, director at EQ Consultants Christchurch, subtler form of conflicts and negative behaviour can be manifested in many ways: - unfriendly or disparaging comments - minimal communication - ignoring or attempting to ostracize others or simply not wanting to be helpful My friend NS for example, is often ridiculed when she wears something fancy to work. Her colleagues would eye her critically and say something like “Ko ni mau pi menyanyi ka mau pi office?”. This kind of remark is then layered with a smile and a devilish smirk, making it even more irritating. Another friend of mine CL, has to put up with her colleague’s habit of taking stuff from her desk without permission. To maintain harmony in the office, CL has to bury her instinct to strangle the cow (her nick name)and seethe silently. A torture really. I feel for you CL ;-). To both NS and CL, the office is NOT a place of solace. It’s a war zone where façade and diplomacy become weapons for self-defense. The better the façade the safer you’ll be.
Sooo, where am I getting at? How do we sweep away low-profile conflicts at the workplace? Does a perfect workplace exist? An office where everyone loves everyone and everything is pink and peachy? I think you and I know the answer to that one. Wherever we go, there's bound to be a jackal (or two) who’ll make our lives miserable. And what’s more, we may not be able to kill this jackal because that’s just not the norm. The norm is to ignore conflicts and let them resolve on their own. So what are we to do? Well, we do what’s right. We work our butts off to make a living and focus on the positive sides of things. When we’re down, bored or going insane, we FACEBOOK and play FARMVILLE. Yes. That's what you've been doing right? Okay, if farming in cyberspace doesn’t appeal to you, there are many many more games to choose from in the internet. The point is, don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s just not worth the effort. We gotta live a little :-) By the way, FACEBOOK is a powerful tool that can either make or break you. Look at this: Be careful with your status updates in FB :-)