2006-02-24

Calm Like Dilbert


I think that the biggest change I have noticed in myself, since I fully embraced my lot in life as a Corporate 'Ho, is that I am increasingly, and disturbingly, Passive Aggressive.

I used to have NO PROBLEM looking right in your eyes and telling you to go fist yourself. I could scream at the top of my lungs to get a point across; melt dramatically down the wall as I collapse into tears while I secretly watch you jump to catch my fall; I hit someone one time because I didn't feel like I was getting my point across.

Now?
I still act out, believe me.
But it's different and I have to admit that I miss the days when I kept breakable, non-sentimental things around specifically so that I would have something to throw when I needed to hear the satisfying shatter of something hitting the door and exploding into shards that you might step on later.

I haven't thrown anything in months.
I havenít even wanted to.
I havenít been angry at home for as long as I can remember.
At work?
Sure. There are some ďissuesĒ that I have had to deal with. But over the years, I have become indoctrinated to Corporate America and I have become just as Passive Aggressive as any of your managers.
I send innocuous emails, leave inconveniently placed notes for you, and act clueless to get you to admit your error.


Witness:
When faced with a sink full of dirty dishes that just need to be moved into the dishwasher, Aggro Sarah would have made a lot of noise and stomped all the way to the dishwasher. She would later have announced in a department meeting that there is a sign posted, requesting that dirty dishes not be left over-night in the sink and offered a smiling reminder that if we all do our part, we can keep the kitchenette clean.
PassAgg Sarah?
She moved the note, the one with the Clip Art picture of a lady in an apron, that is posted above the sink and that asks people to please not leave dishes in the sink over-night....
She took the note down and taped it to the faucet in a way such that it covered the entire sink and any a-hole who was thinking about putting dishes in that sink would be FORCED to think about it twice before putting the coffee mug down and leaving it for some poor shmuck, aka me, to clean up.


Testament:
Aggro Sarah was having a hard time getting things mailed and receiving mail that was Inter-Officed to her. She went into the mail room holding a pen, the kind that clicks open and closed? And she held the pen, clicking it in a loud and unnerving manner while she asked the Mail-lady (who she loved) about the problem. The Mail-lady (who she loved) said, "Aggro Sarah? The pick up and delivery has been slow, you are correct! I recommend you walk to the Federal Boxes downstairs, or hand your mail to me personally and I'll make sure it gets out - do you need a copy of the post-marked item?"
The clicking stops and Aggro Sarah says thank you and MEANS it.
In the same situation, PassAgg Sarah has a very different approach. Instead of confronting HIIIIIIIIIIIIII!, the guy that replaced the Mail-lady (who she loved), she sends an email. In it, she asks if she missed any announcements about supplies taking longer to get, or about mail being delayed. Is this somehow my fault?
I would never assume it is yours!
It HAD to be me!
Did I follow the procedure correctly?
Let me know if I missed something!
BTW: I am LYING, HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII! I didnít miss shit.
It's NOT COOL when I have people relying on me for stuff and you don't get it to me. You're breaking the Chain when I send my bills and they sit on your desk for 8 weeks or whatever.


And believe:
This happens to involve HIIIIIIIIIIII!
Again.
Weíre out of envelopes that I need. How this happened, I donít know. In my opinion, thatís like McDonaldís being out of fries. Someone dropped a very heavy ball and it landed on the collective toes of an industry, so we can all join hands and walk to Jesus together.
Aggro Sarah would have gone in and pointed out the issue, asked if there are ANY lying around empty somewhere, and given profuse and sincere thanks upon being given all of the available options.
PassAgg Sarah picked up the empty box and turned it upside down, scrawling on it with a Sharpie: ĎWE NEED MORE ASAP.í
Now, this is sort of a weak example because thereís totally no excuse for running out of envelopes.
When we've come dangerously close to the corporate equilovent of someone pushing the Button and plunging us into the brave new world of Nuclear Annihilation, I have pointed out how crucial these are. I even ordered more of them recently and running out of them caused me to feel pure and righteous anger, tempered only by my very real fear of Karma.
And yetÖÖ
I have no intention of confronting the issue head-on.
Iím indoctrinated.

Iím going to go home at the end of today and I bet Iíll not even think about how pissed off I was about EnvelopeGate. Who am I if I donít want to throw something?

Is this because I have a dog now Ė you know, real responsibility?
Is this something to do with my upcoming birthday (I LOVE presents)?
Tantrums used to be lot more fun than snotty Port-It notes on your car, admit it; youíd rather just have it out with me than be left wondering if Iím over it or if I am being serious when I ask you about general guidelines or procedures.

Or not.
Anymore, Iíd rather just not get so upset over things that I canít control but man, itís kind of weird that I feel that way! Considering that itís coming naturally to me and that it hasnít come naturally to me since I was about 6 years old.
I was not born an anxious and upset freak show but thatís a different essay for a different day.

So, now I feel a little awkward when I think about how NOT angry I get, compared to how mad I could get with say, a boyfriend or my best friend when in a fight with someone. And no, I have never had irrational anger. My fights always came with a visible reason and took place in the company of at least one other hollering party. I can't count the number of times I have been called a cunt by my bff over the course of our 12 year bff friendship.

Thinking about that ragingly Aggro behavior is an admittedly drunken stumble down the gravel road of memory Ė the one that will skin my knees and gets rocks in my palms:
ANSWER ME GODDAMMIT I AM TALKING TO YOU AND YOU ARE IGNORING ME YOU FISTING MOTHER FUÖ
You better move.
I swear to God.
I
Swear toÖ.
I will, too.
Watch me.

Aggression is about visibly trying to control something you probably have already lost control of. You canít control your boyfriend or your mother; trust me on those two things. If you insist, you can try to do it by being aggressive and be up-front and honest about it but probably flail and fail, or you can do it by being passive aggressive and by going around the issue to get your point across.

Passive Aggressive is how this game is played in Corporate America. You canít make someone feel inadequate to his or her face by using the usual intimidation techniques that I have found to be the most effective. Thatís not good politics. So you go all Passive Aggressive and you hope to get the tiniest bit of control over the things that you canít change.

If you are lucky, at the end of your very long day, you get to go home and play with your dog, talk to your friends on your free minutes, and have a generally care-free weekend.

arizonasarah at 11:12 a.m.

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