Which is Worse?

A colleague is going through a terrible experience, so let’s talk about me…

It shouldn’t be a surprise that I do not get along with my fellow recruiter. This is more of a general disagreement than an actual war. We are polite to one another, but outside of work, we have almost nothing in common. I don’t agree with his principles or his general lazy attitude. He often makes poor hiring decisions which is evidenced by his high turnover rate. However, he has developed a relationship with the managers he hires for and they seem to still be generally satisfied with the level of service and that wasn’t a division I particularly enjoyed recruiting for anyway. I have learned, over the last 2 years, to accept that he has a different standard of performance than I do and that what he does at work is no longer a reflection on me, and what he does outside of work has nothing to do with me. I have made it to a satisfactory middle.

Part of my general dissatisfaction with my workplace is the tendency of others to badmouth whichever employee happens to be absent. Whether they are just checking the mail or out for a week, if someone is not there to defend themselves, my lovely co-workers take that opportunity to talk about anything and everything they don’t like. Their horrible style choices, lazy behavior, poor work habits etc. My recruiting partner is a frequent target of these personal attacks. He’s morbidly obese and his attitude toward his health is nothing compared to the lack of effort he puts into his work. Clandestine conversations about his poor performance and poor health habits are frequent in the office. He often tells people what they want to hear and then fails to follow through, simply because he forgets. He is quick to blame others for problems he creates. He falls asleep at his desk.

He was just diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer that has generated one enormous mass in his stomach lining and is only treatable through a 15 hour surgery and follow-up chemo treatments.

So, which is worse? That I can offer my condolences and then focus on what needs to be done in his absence? That I feel  horrible for him that he has this medical problem, but perhaps if he had taken care of himself remotely he may have caught it before it took over his body? That I am not out rightly targeting him or sending negative energy in his direction but this news impacts me about as much as hearing that Candidate A will be named Chairman of the School Board? That I have consistent behavior? Or that everyone else has completely flipped the switch? That they are all rainbows and unicorns and “We’ll text you everyday!” and you are so missed.

I know I am probably wrong. That I should have more compassion and should be sadder that someone I work closely with is going through this difficult situation. That I should provide him with more support. That I should be a better cheerleader. But I just don’t have it in me to be that fake. Particularly with someone who is such an expert at it himself.

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