Everyone in the office has their designated role that they play. Whether you admit it or not, the minute you step into the place that will be your home-away-from-home until you scrape together enough money to retire you step into a specific character. It’s a persona you slip into from 9 to whenever, Monday through Friday, all year long.
There’s the office clown, the Jim Halpert, if you will. They’re the designated person who you look to on a Monday that’s a little too much Monday for some lols over GChat, or a quality story to brighten your mood over whatever sad salad you’re stabbing your fork into. There’s the office slacker, who you either completely ignore or completely hate, (unless you’re actually them) because they remind you of the assholes in college whose literal participation in a group project was simply signing their name on the dotted line and collecting a grade, and frankly, you’re just a little too old for that at this point.
But, there’s also the office bitch.
And I’m pretty sure at my job, it’s me.
Let’s back up a bit.
When I started a year ago, I was an outside hire. The marketing company I work for isn’t particularly one way or the other, but to be hired in the position that I was hired for as is rather than working up was (as I know now) a bit atypical. Not unheard of, but not the norm I guess. I was put into a position of a certain level of authority and power almost immediately, and it was just an unspoken/automatic expectation that people would be required and expected to listen to what I had to say.
And subsequently, I’ve had exactly zero problem telling people exactly what I want them to do. I don’t present it as a “suggestion” or ever preface my critiques on their work with a, “Hey Jessica, just a thought…” Because if Jessica used the wrong form of “its” in her client proposal, she should just fix it. No baby gloves or coddling needed, right?
Instead of being accepted completely and wholly, I’ve instead been called “intimidating” and “a real ball buster.” If I don’t put an exclamation point at the end of my emails or slacks, people make little remarks like, “You okay?” or, “Wow! How forceful!” (Often with more exclamation points than necessary to really emphasize how much nicer they are than me.) I’ve had one of my co-managers come to me with questions from another employee because he was too freaked out to just come ask me himself. And I should note, this employee is significantly older than me and has been with the company FAR longer.
Basically, I guess because I’m direct, to the point, and don’t mess around with bullshit in order to get work done, that makes me the office bitch.
But you know what? I honestly don’t care.
Do we all want to enjoy our jobs? Yes. 100%. Absolutely. I love being able to have engaging dialogues at work and spring-boarding with my coworkers about ideas and plans. But can you enjoy your job if you’re doing it at a subpar standard and therefore not getting clients and eventually having to lay people off? Not for long anyway. If pointing out where things can be and should be better makes me a bitch, I’ll continue to sleep at night.
So yeah, Jessica and Molly may side-eye each other when I speak up at meetings and try to hide their eye rolls when I point out what they need to change about their particular projects. I might be left out of a group text here and there and not invited to happy hour with employees who I’ve just sent feedback to. But that’s okay.
I’ll take a little bit of office bitchery with a side of promotion over no job with some office texting any day. But maybe that’s just me. .
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