There’s a coworker with whom I’m having trouble connecting.
Last time in Dallas was the first time I worked with him and it didn’t go so well. I spent a good amount of time thinking about why and I boiled it down to us not having anything in common. That was causing me to not give him the benefit of the doubt in our interactions. So anytime he had comments about, let’s say, what we should do next or where to get an answer, I would think he was lying or trying to make me look bad in front of the boss peoples.
When the two weeks started, things went pretty well. I was in a good mood and I was kind of trusting him, which I thought was because this time around we had something in common. We at least had the shared experience of being at the client the last time around.
Things were good most of the week. I probably felt the best about him on Thursday of that first week. That day to had a variance in one of my work papers and I finally asked for help from the boss peoples. After some in tense discussions, for like 15-20 minutes, the boss lady realizes it was my fault. I had set something up wrong. So I was feeling embarrassed and everything, but he was trying to help me find the error and being genuinely helpful. He was being empathetic.
Friday was whatever, but the following week was more fun.
Another coworker from LA was staying nearby so we were going to hang out with him a couple of times. I had only met this guy other time, but he didn’t seem like he’d have much in common with this guy. So I had a chance to see what or why this new guy liked in him.
It was kind of a bust. They mostly talked about work. Specially bad clients they have or had, stuff that irked them about other coworkers, stuff they hated about people who had left. But I guess that’s one way to have things in common. Talking about people has never really been my thing. Even the huge conversation with myself that I’m about to have below is really about me.
Anyway, the biggest break through came on probably Tuesday or Wednesday of that second week. The boss lay was reviewing some of our work and asking some questions.
She first asked me if I had signed off on a work paper and I said something like “no, sorry, I’ll do it now.” No big deal, because it wasn’t.
A few minutes later, she asked him about something and it turned out he had forgotten to do it, or did it wrong, I can’t remember which. It was anything too bad. It was a small oversight and easy fix.
Then about a minute later she asked us if anyone had grouped the accounts on some work paper, which was my responsibility and I hadn’t, so I said another, whoops sorry. It was an annoying thing, but also another easy fix. Well while I was saying that, he had an, oh that was his fault comment. To which I was like um yea my fault, my bad, do you want me to fix that? The boss lady said no, that she would handle it, but this guy was like oh I can’t believe you didn’t do that.
Which I immediately thought oh this guy doesn’t want to look like he made more mistakes than me. He really doesn’t give off that impression. And then so much clicked for me.
I knew this guy was ambitious, because he likes to humblebrag. He’ll complain about how much he had to work, because so many people needed his help. Actually, that basically sums up most of his humblebrags. But once he made a big deal about this small thing, I realized how insecure he is.
In light of that realization, the events of the previous Thursday don’t seem as empathetic, because he was probably mainly helping me to look better to the bosses.
But oh well, at least we don’t have to work together on the same work, just on the same client. And hey, maybe things will be different when we see each other again in January. At least then we’ll have two trips to Dallas in common.