Monday, July 4, 2011

play well with others

it hasn't quite hit me yet that i'm on vacation.

after i completed an edit and review of some reports from my team last night and i technically had the out of office on my email, i did do a sneak peek this morning (which is the end of the day in europe and the uk) to see what was going down. there wasn't anything huge or emergency like going down but there was some of the typical political maneuvering and such that comes with the job. one of the aspects of this job that was quite a fascinating learning curve over the past three years was working with different cultures. it is one thing to have to maneuver when it comes to americans....and we are a diverse lot....folks from the east coast, mid-west, south, pacific northwest, socal, norcal....the micro-culture that is the bay area.....we americans have our unique quirks depending on where we grew up, our social economic status, and our ethnicity. yet, when having to interact with folks from hong kong, china, sinapore, uk, france, germany, spain, the middle east...etc....there are a hella lot more variables to consider than just dealing with americans. instead of making my head spin...i viewed it as a challenge......and as opportunities to learn about how to bring about collaboration, consistency, and productive initiatives....amongst a diverse group of people. it taught me a lot about about how people perceive, understand, and communicate.

for example, what instantly comes to mind when you see this word:


if you are are likely to think beer.

if you are english, you are likely to think tea.

so imagine that on a much larger scale when trying to do business. while i may make reference to my social awkwardness...that is primarily in the personal life....and not the work life. so while i may get an ironic kick out of wearing a t-shirt like the top pic.....when i'm giving a webinar presentation to folks who are calling in from 3-4 countries, i know that playing well with others at work is vital for success. wearing that kind of shirt also reminds me of how much work it took for me to obtain those skills. they did not happen overnight.

due to the international political machinations over the past few years with the job, i've seen its impact upon me. i'm even less tolerant of politics and bullshit in my personal life than i was before. i've also learned that while there are remarkable differences within communication with folks from different cultures....there are also some remarkable similarities as well.

a similarity i've noticed is from those who are insecure and are uncertain of their position. they either work on securing their accepting internal challenges, owning their own insecurities, and becoming better people...or the people they need to be. then there are other people that decide to go a completely different route. there are those who are insecure that seek to tear others down so that they can feel better about themselves. what is particularly fascinating about these sort of people is that oftentimes, they will work in secret. one face in public and another in in private they seek to say things that are framed with the deliberate motivation to injure. to me, when someone attempts to do this, i pity them in their amateurishness and transparency. i am also old enough to know (and have seen) how this kind of shit comes back to burn them. i am not a nice when i have see this, the first thought that comes to mind is "karma".

sometimes, particularly when it is a young woman who has no idea how old i am or what my background is and for some odd reason in her head sees me as some kind of phantom threat, i want to grab her by the ear and say in almost a scolding tone..."honey, you should work on building more real confidence in yourself....the only person you should really be competing with is yourself. people are people and not a means to an be used and then tossed aside if you think you can't get something from them. you should look more internally than externally."

but i don't.

i don't have time or the inclination to play those games in my personal life. i have to do more than enough of that in my job.

because, who am i really going to expend my energy on in my personal life? someone who weighs and measures people in terms of how to get ahead in some fantasy score board in her head? or am i going to expend my energy to support folks that are pursuing passions, making things happen for themselves, putting themselves (their real self) out there, and are genuinely a good people.

admittedly, i am a complete and utter asshole. i have never hidden this. i am not an asshole if i like and love you. i'm an asshole if i don't like you or are indifferent towards you. from my perspective, i'm being polite and not really being an asshole....but i've had enough loved ones tell me that folks can interpret my setting boundaries and being "just polite" as being asshole-like to those who i don't really care a fuck about.

if i like and love you...i treat you the same way in public that i do in private. this can, ironically enough, cause problems. because those i either don't like or are indifferent towards....actually see the immediate comparison of how i treat those i like...and well, them. this is probably why they think i'm an asshole because they can see the difference.

yet, for better or worse...what you see is what you get....with me.

i think those that folks really need to look out for are those who are not what they seem.

JS once asked me....about a year quite an annoyed tone.....why i don't interfere when i see people like these sort of people popping into the lives of those that i care about. my response annoyed him further....because it was something along the lines of "i support the decisions of people i care about....whether i agree with them or not. it is not my place to interfere. also, some folks....especially the strong headed people that i love.... need to find out and learn first hand."

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