I was sitting on Twitter, watching the tide go by and a few people started tweeting about the impact one’s personality has on performance reviews, despite the quality of one’s work. I then fired off a series of tweets about my issues with this exact thing in my current place of employment. See below:
I had a long talk with a previous boss about this. One day she pulled me into her office under the impression that she had something important to discuss with me. I went in and was ambushed about not “talking with the other guys and making myself accessible to the group.” -__- like shit, right? I calmly told her that I don’t necessarily feel a need to hop into every conversation if I do not feel like I have something of value to add to it. I then asked if this had any negative effect on any work that I’ve done for her or is it just a personal preference issue? She said that a few people on the team felt like they couldn’t approach me about work stuff because I didn’t join in on their conversations about subjects in which I had no interest nor authority on which to speak about. I reiterated this again and let her know that she should let them know that they don’t have to feel like I’m unapproachable because I don’t have anything to say about the Cubs/Sox/Tigers/Blackhawks/Red Wings. Furthermore, another guy who was on our team never engaged in these convos, but I was being singled out. I thought it was unfair and told her so. She says, “Well that’s just how John is.” & my reply? “And that’s how Jeanette is as well. I hope you all can respect that.” That happened early in my tenure here and I thought it’d have negative effects. I, sadly, was right.
It pisses me off because I am here to do work. I am not here for your amusement nor to make friends. If it happens, great. I don’t necessarily feel compelled to interact with everyone at work on a daily basis. Especially if I don’t feel we have anything in common. I’m not good at small talk nor feigning interest. But don’t ever think you can’t ask me about WORK at WORK. Coz that’s just stupid. Hell, some of my friends give me garbage for not talking to them enough and now strangers expect to get all of my business coz we sit by each other for a few hours a day? NAWL. I know we do spend a majority of our day in this cubeland, but…
Further discussion lead to it being a “black woman” thing or “black person” thing in general, which I can kind of see. In my currently position though, I’m in a weird position of being the only Black person here. I say weird because every other job I’ve had in my working adult life has been a very diverse workplace. In fact, before agreeing to take this job one of my questions was about the diversity of the workplace.
I think moreso than it being racial though, it’s more of an introvert v. extrovert thing. The conversation on Twitter kinda devolved into this as well and, well my tweets were too numerous about the subject for me to add to any already long blog post. In all honesty it boils down to this–I come to work to do work. Why should how social I am to others matter? Especially if I am pleasant/cordial when it counts! Do I need to know about so and so cat’s kidney failure or whatshernuts’ sister’s wedding shower fiasco? Not especially. And not particularly if it impedes my ability to function normally.
I mean damn…can I live?