Dealing With Tension in the Workplace

I have worked a lot of jobs in my time. I have worked with people I like, and people I don’t like. I have always managed to maintain a professional working relationship, even with the ones I didn’t get along so well with. However, in my most recent position, I have had to deal with someone who may very well be the true test of my patience and professionalism.

This person is everything I hate in customer service people; he is arrogant, and egotistical without foundation. He is rude, and his penchant for thinking he is better than the customers purely because he knows more about our job than they do, comes across in his service. I mean, of course we’re going to know more than them; that’s why they come to us, but that’s no need to treat them badly. I have seen him blatantly ignore customers, refuse to answer the phone because he doesn’t want to, speak to people in a blunt and disrespectful manner simply because he believes their questions are beneath him, and refuse to acknowledge his own faults…of which there are many. If I were a customer, I would be making complaints, and more than one have. And yet he always manages to make out like his wrongdoing is entirely their fault. In short, he is an asshat.

I have been working since I was fifteen, and all of my jobs have heavily involved customer service. Now, I hate everyone. Seriously, like…everyone. And yet despite my misanthropy, I have always, always maintained a level of polite professionalism in whatever job I’m working. It doesn’t matter what side of the service counter I am on; I always approach it with a smile and a friendly attitude. I may not necessarily love my job, but I am damn good at it. And that is what makes me so angry about this person I work with; if I – the most people hating person I know – can manage to be a good customer service assistant, then he has no excuse to be a bad one.

On a more personal level however, the thing that I find such a struggle to deal with is his clear disregard of me. I genuinely believe that he is threatened by me, and my ability to do this job. See, for the last 18 months, I have been working for someone who takes pride in his work, and taught me everything I know about how to be good at what we do. Better than good, in fact. And the honest truth is that I know how to do more than this guy I’ve had to work with over the last month, and I know how to do it better. His attitude towards me indicates that he hates the fact that someone has come to work around him that can show him up without even trying. More than that, I think he is incensed by that fact that the person showing him up is a woman. Now, I’m not going out of my way to prove myself better than him. I just came to the city and started doing my job the same way I’ve been doing it for the last year and a half; the same way I was taught, and the same way that has helped me to earn a solid reputation in my field. The fact that his standard of work is lower than mine is not my fault, and I shouldn’t have to bear the brunt of his attitude as a result. But even when I have tried to play peacemaker, he has thrown it back in my face. A couple of weeks ago, I complimented him on a particularly good engraving he had done. When I told him it was really good, he just said “I know.”. Honestly, dude, a simple thank you would have sufficed.

We don’t like each other, that much is certain. He has made cracks at my gender, my sexual orientation (when he gave me his number in case I needed to call him about work, his exact words to me were “This is probably the only male number you’ve ever gotten”), my standard of work, my appearance and a number of other things. I confess, I’ve stooped so low as to respond in kind. Today he informed he how good looking he is (seriously, that’s how conceited this guy actually is), and after telling me how long he spends staring at himself in the mirror (schyup), said that he’s been told that he looks like Chris Pratt and Benedict Cumberbatch. I responded with, “yes well that’s accurate, given how neither one is particularly attractive”. I know, it’s a terribly petty thing to say, and I should have taken the moral high ground and just ignored him. But this was directly after he had essentially called me ugly, so on the other hand, I kind of feel like I’m justified.

I have reached a point where I no longer care if he is offended or threatened by me. I don’t need to prove myself to him, or to anyone for that matter. And at the end of the day, his insecurities are his own problem. Despite all his bravado and incredibly large ego, I believe it’s a front, to hide his own lack of self worth. Because let’s face it; anyone who gets that threatened by someone else truly can’t have that much faith in himself.

Uninformed Assholes With an Opinion

I have a serious problem with people who judge another person on the basis of sexual orientation. I mean, it’s a dick move to judge anyone based on anything they have no control over, but homophobia is a particular sore point with me. As a young woman who has identified as liking other women since I was twelve, I take umbrage to people automatically hating me on the basis of that one small detail that I have no control over.

You said it, Mr Freeman!
You said it, Mr Freeman!

Yesterday my friend came back to work after a smoke break, with a story about one of the tradies currently doing some construction at the shopping centre I work at. He asked her about another fellow who works in the same centre, who happens to be openly gay. Once the tradie heard confirmation of gayness, his automatic response was ‘ugh, I hate faggots.’ As soon as my friend told me, I saw red. I wondered if the tradie in question had the same problem with lesbians, considering how often judgemental assholes seem to think that there’s a difference. This guy was, surprisingly, an exception. He hates all gay people, male and female alike.

When my friend questioned him further, he fit snugly into the stereotype, and said he hates gays because, in his words, he believes they all want to fuck him. Here’s where things started to make me even more angry. I don’t automatically assume that every girl I meet is going to want in my pants. And by the same token, not all gay men want to shag every man they set eyes on. As a vehemently straight man, I don’t assume the tradie wants to jump the bones of every girl who walks past either, so I don’t understand how he thinks there’s a difference. He went on to say he never chases after girls, because they’re always falling all over him anyway, so evidently his arrogance has no limits. He made some comment about ‘being from the country’, as if that was an indication of his heterosexuality. I’m sorry, but I wasn’t aware that gay people only lived in big cities. His argument makes no sense.

I just don’t understand. If you’re going to bigoted about something, at least get your facts right. I get so sick of these uninformed jerks raging about things they don’t understand, and making assumptions about a certain thing based on preconceived notions they have about it. And hating someone because of thier sexual orientation is archaic. Spouting bigoted nonsense is only going to make you come across as a jerk, and frankly it makes you seem uneducated.