I have been in a working relationship with a difficult person for 10 years. I have attempted to look at this problem from so many points of view and perspectives that I have exhausted myself time and time again. I am a fixer, if there is a problem I want to fix it. This one, there seems to be no fix. I have had to learn to “fix” from within. This has been such a growing period in my life that I honestly feel as though this situation has been given to me. Like maybe I should even thank her for the struggle, because I am a stronger person for it.
I could call her names (I certainly have done that over the years)… she’s controlling, she’s heartless, she’s self-centered, she’s C-R-A-Z-Y! What I’ve come to see and understand is that this doesn’t help me. Finding her faults and focusing on them doesn’t help me be better at who I am and how I conduct my work. I have become stronger because I have learned to see my strengths and weaknesses through it all and work on them instead. I cannot work on her… I cannot help her, I have to concentrate on helping myself.
Leaving was never an option. I absolutely love my job. I am very clear that it is my calling. I am very good at it, it is aligned with my passions and beliefs, and I will not give it up because we cannot get along. I have been supported by my administration which has been a blessing. They see how valuable I am and I am proud of that.
My advice to people struggling with co-workers is to take all of it and look inward. Do not allow your ego to get involved. When my ego steps in and wants to take over it gets all befuddled. I need to stay focused and calm with my eye on my goal. The goal isn’t to beat her, be better than her, or to prove anything. It is to personally have a good day, to do the job I am there to do and do it well. I have learned to leave my emotions at the door. We do not speak about our personal lives to each other, we are strictly business and this works for us. I am such a social person that not having a personal relationship with someone I spend so much time with has been an adjustment, but with doing it I see it is for the best.
I do have to admit that I am in a new stage of life and it has helped me at work this year. My husband and I became empty nesters this year, our youngest has flown the coop and my home-work life balance is feeling much better. I believe I contributed to much of the “stuff” at work by having inner turmoil about not being able to be 100% at either place. I like to give all of myself to where I’m needed and I never felt fully respected for what I have had to give to my family over the years of working in this job. I am on the other side of it now and my family is strong. My kids are succeeding, I have raised good humans and I am in my 25th year of a beautiful marriage. I pat myself on the back for where I am today and have also learned that I don’t need anyone else to do the “patting”, I know what I’ve done is right and I am stronger for it all.
As a mother, as a wife, as a daughter and as an employee I feel I have had to make my decisions day to day to where my loyalty has had to be. I will have to continue to do that and go forward having faith that it will feel balanced. I plan to continue on this journey becoming stronger and better than I was yesterday. I’m happy with me!
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi