Monthly Archives: November 2012

So I Resigned At Work

About a week ago, I received an email that I’d passed the background check and drug test for, let’s call them, Employer B–the job offer I had that pays really good money for what I’d be doing but would still require me to provide IT support to people (which I was–and am–unenthusiastic about). I started feeling nervous, because this meant I was going to have to go into work on Monday and put in my notice. I like a lot of things about Employer B–virtually everything except the hours (as mentioned in another post, I prefer really early hours such as 6am to 2pm) and that I’d still be dealing with people all day. The guy who will be my new supervisor was awesome when I told him I wanted to give at least some notice to my current employer. But I wanted to wait until I knew I passed everything, which I should have passed everything but better safe than sorry. Being notified last Sunday that everything checked out meant that I would be able to give one week’s notice, because I start work tomorrow.

So, I went to work Monday, and I was a wreck. I can’t remember if I mentioned this here, but the lazy tech who works where I’ll be working made it seem like my supervisor was mad when he told her he was leaving, and then eventually she told him not to use them as a reference. I couldn’t figure out if that was just because of the type of employee he was or because he quit at a bad time (which is kind of what I would have to do) or because of how he quit (he had promised to work part of his shift for a couple of weeks, and then two or three days into it he called in and told them he wasn’t coming back). So only having his story to go off of, it made me really dread resigning and, especially, staying there for a week after doing it.

I spent a couple of hours after my supervisor arrived at working thinking of what to say and trying to get the nerve to go to her office. Just as I was getting ready to go to her office, my cell phone rang. I could tell by the number that it was the other employment agency I was working with on getting something at Employer A, which is where I really wanted to go. But it had started looking as if that wasn’t going to work out soon enough, so I’d decided to go with B. The guy calling for Employer A left a message, and I picked up my phone to listen to it. He said they finally had a start date for a shift that would be something like 3pm to 11pm, and they’d want me to start Wednesday–like, he was calling Monday and they expected me to pick up and start a couple of days later after hearing every other week stuff like “I’m still waiting to hear from them” and “I should hear something next week.” I spent over two months waiting on this job, basically, and all of a sudden they were in a hurry.

This made me even more nervous because now I wasn’t sure about which job to take, and if I took the job I’d been wanting I would have had to tell my supervisor Tuesday would be my last day–on Monday. I really didn’t want to do anything like that. So I got my phone and went downstairs away from the suite where I worked so I could speak with the guy at this agency. I asked if it would be possible to see if a Monday start (tomorrow) would be possible, and I told him I had another job offer that said that start date would be fine, plus they pay more money. He wanted to know if I would take the job if he could get a Monday start date, and I said yes, even though I wasn’t happy about working that shift they had available.

After he checked for me on the start date, he called back and left a message basically saying he couldn’t get that date and they “should” have other positions there opening sometime next week. Now I had been getting should-ed to death over the past two and a half months, and nothing he said panned out. I just kind of shook my head and was like, “This is not worth it.” Employer B has been far more professional, plus they had a solid start date, didn’t expect me to wait forever and then jump when they said “go” and actually pay far more money anyways. Not to mention I wouldn’t have to miss as many football and basketball games working 8am to 5pm as I would working 3pm to 11pm or whatever vague shift I’d be working.

I went to my supervisor’s office and nervously–obvious in my voice–resigned. I was just like, “I wanted to let you know this will be my last week. I got a couple of job offers, and they want me to start next week…” And I’d worked out that I’d say I got more than one offer because I didn’t want to tell them where I’d be working (i.e. that I’d be with lazy tech whom they hate), even though I knew they’d ask. I ended up telling everyone I was leaning towards Employer A, even though I’d basically gotten fed up with A and dropped them.

It was so not a big deal–my supervisor didn’t seem surprised at all. I had a feeling before I resigned that she already sensed I was looking for something else, and she probably did. She wasn’t upset. On Tuesday, though, she wanted to speak with me about why I was leaving so that they can know what they need to do better. I basically talked to her about how the lack of training made me uncomfortable and not confident in doing my job, and that I don’t like having to get help all the time even at this juncture…and I also spoke really candidly with her about the issues I’ve had with the female tech geek (FTG). I made it clear that she wasn’t why I was quitting, just that she made it more difficult for me on top of not feeling comfortable with the job because of her unwillingness to help when I needed it, her communication issues, how competitive she is and her quickness to point out when she thinks you’ve done something wrong or get upset about insignificant things.

Just as I’d figured, my supervisor already knows how FTG is and knows it’s a problem. She just doesn’t know what to do about it. She has spoken with FTG before, and she said she will speak with her again. She knows that FTG’s behavior will be a problem with new employees, but I don’t see what can be done, either, short of firing FTG–which I doubt they’ll do.

I’ve written about “cultural fit” at work before and how unfair the concept can be and usually is. But when you have someone like FTG at work, I think it goes a little bit beyond cultural fit. If you have a team work environment and one of the people there essentially sabotages that, undermines other employees or makes it hard for work to get done correctly, that is the kind of “fit” that doesn’t work. I don’t know if my supervisor knew to what extent FTG is a problem there until I told her and gave examples, and I understand why they might feel like they can’t or shouldn’t get rid of FTG. But in most workplaces, someone like that probably should be let go.

My supervisor was very understanding and basically told me she figured a lot of what I said already but wanted/needed to hear it. She told me I’d really done a good job there. And I really felt bad later in the week because I really like a lot of people there and they didn’t want me to leave. I particularly hated to be leaving some of the guys there. My supervisor told me she was sorry I was leaving a couple of times, and the accounting lady told me the same thing and said she really likes me. We also talked about FTG a little bit as I was leaving.

FTG apparently really doesn’t feel comfortable when the accounting lady and I are speaking to each other where she can’t hear. As I mentioned in another post, we’re the only ones there who really seem to just not like FTG at all, and I’m sure FTG knows that. The guy who trained me told me one time that FTG asked him what we were saying one time when I was in the accounting lady’s office discussing an issue that FTG had been involved in and I’d ended up stuck with. At the time, we hadn’t said anything about her. And on my last day, the accounting lady told me she was jealous that I was getting out of there, and FTG was like, “What did she say? Every time she said something to me–no one was speaking to FTG–she was like, “What?” I told FTG it was nothing, and apparently that wasn’t good enough because the accounting lady told me FTG actually emailed her to find out what we were talking about–even though no one had been speaking to her, i.e. it was none of her business.

FTG also did something I totally knew she would–she got all nosy and started asking me if I’d gotten another job and where I’d be working (remember, she hardly ever speaks to me, and it’s worse than pulling teeth to get her help with anything). I didn’t tell her much–definitely didn’t tell her where I’d be working–and I’m sure she has asked others there since she didn’t get what she wanted from me.

Thank goodness I am getting away from that kind of crap–hopefully.

By the way–a couple of days after I resigned, I spoke with the guy who was hiring on behalf of Employer A. He wanted to know if I was still going to take the job, even though he couldn’t give me an exact start date. I could kind of hear in his voice when I told him no that he was surprised, kind of upset and didn’t understand why I decided not to go to work for them–even though he was still telling me they “should” be ready X day “or” Y day. If I were unemployed and could wait on that job because I didn’t have a choice, then that’d be fine. But he seriously seemed to think I would be okay with resigning my job and then sitting around not totally sure if or when I’d go to work for Employer A.

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Women Who Don’t Have Female Friends

Earlier this week I found these blog posts about women who say they don’t have female friends. It reminded me of a discussion forum I found online some time ago with a similar discussion about women who say they don’t get along with women. In both cases, the discussion about these women was negative and full of assumptions about women who say these things.

I wanted to post earlier this week some thoughts about this, but exhaustion, laziness and difficulty organizing my thoughts in any sort of articulate manner have kept me from doing so. And I still don’t necessarily feel that I can quite articulate my thoughts, because my thoughts have not continued fully forming on this.

Disclaimer: I didn’t read all the comments at the link above, but I did read about half of them.

If I were going to make either of those two statements–“I don’t have female friends” or “I don’t get along with women”–it would be that I don’t get along with women. But I’m not sure that’s accurate. When I was in law school, there were a lot of women I got along with. And some women won’t appreciate my writing this, but my observation was that women who attend law school or who practice law tend to be more logical and less emotional than other women are, though that’s not always true. I think my communication style is in between that of the average woman’s and the average man’s, for lack of a better way to put it…but it’s still too different (harsh) from what most women appreciate, and it can cause issues.

That’s not an insult or a way of putting women down, either, but I think sometimes it has been interpreted that way. I understand it sometimes because I have to deal with men’s communication styles, too, and I can hear how being too straightforward sometimes, for example, and/or using a certain tone of voice can be bothersome. I guess that part of what I’m saying is that I met more women in law school than I have any other time of my life who could handle my communication style, which does tend to be very honest, direct, unemotional and not always thinking about your feelings.

I also met more women in law school than anywhere else who do not keep up drama. And I’m talking about women my age, because my  personal experience has been that women cause drama with other women within their age range. I have heard stories where this hasn’t been true, but, for me, I’ve never really had issues with older women. Law school just seemed to be full of women who felt good about themselves and secure and, thus, there were less problems with them. They were intelligent women who were on the track to good careers, and they usually had good personalities. What was to feel insecure about? I think it’s a little hard to find women like that.

Let me put this another way:

Women who feel good about themselves don’t…cause…problems. You can be friends with them as another woman, as long as you feel good about yourself, too. 

The problem, I think, is that the majority of women don’t feel good about themselves. I think the older women get, the more it changes for them. But for women 30 and younger–maybe even 35 and younger nowadays–definitely, the majority of them don’t feel good about themselves. Our society has seen to it that women grow up not feeling good about themselves. This is where I’d have to disagree with the implication that every single woman who says “I don’t have female friends” or “I don’t get along with women” is the problem, is self-hating, is “male-identified” or whatever else negative you want to say about that woman. I think it’s certainly fair to say that sometimes, yes, the woman making these statements is the problem or she just seeks male attention or whatever. But the thing I’ve noticed is women who are obviously confident and comfortable tend to draw negative attention from other women who are insecure because those women are jealous, threatened or just completely perplexed by this woman who feels good about herself. There are also certain communities that have certain issues that almost immediately bring up at least some tension between women. More on that later.

There’s a quick distinction that must be made. Everyone has things he/she is insecure about, things where his/her self-esteem is not that high. That’s different from having an overall low self-esteem or overall issues with insecurity. I don’t think I’m physically attractive, and I never will. But I feel good about who I am because I know I’m intelligent, talented, a good person and so on. I see so many women who seem to think they’re attractive, but it kind of seems as if they don’t think there’s anything else to them. Or there are women for whom nothing is good enough about them, including their looks or bodies. But the biggest thing with women, I’d say, is more than half of heterosexual ones strike me as not thinking they’re complete or good enough if they don’t have a man or a husband. And then some of those get a man or a husband and it doesn’t resolve their issues with themselves because now they’re worried about keeping him or other women taking him and whatnot.

But when I really sit down and think about me and the desire to say “I don’t get along with women,” I realize it doesn’t exactly stem from anything in my modern life–it’s all based on my childhood and teenage years. I could easily say “I don’t have female friends,” but, as I wrote a long time ago here, I really don’t have any friends due to my definition of what friendship is. For me, friends are people who are there when you need them. Catching up with each other once or twice a year or every few months is not that, to me. I understand people grow up and have lives, get married, have kids, move away, etc. But you’re either there for each other or you’re not. People who are not there for me and I’m not there for them when things are going on–how do you call that friendship? It’s more so that kind of thing as to why I don’t have female friends, not necessarily that “I don’t get along with women” or don’t have anything in common with them.

But, for whatever reason, I didn’t get along with women when I was younger–except they were girls then, not women. And I think that was part of the problem. And let’s face it–black girls have issues with each other. When I was a kid in school, I was always the lightest black female, the one with the longest hair and the one with the most money. All three of those things are touchy issues in the “black community,” i.e. skin color, hair and social class. Some of those things more so than they are now were immediate dividing lines–I think social class among blacks still is. They cause immediate assumptions on both sides of the line. I was also nerdy and wimpy, and I think girls look for and spot the weakest chick among them to target–especially nowadays.

And then when I became a teenager, I had slightly different issues which are not that different from issues I have today. I wrote a popular post about introverts and extroverts at work, in which I wrote about how I only speak to people who speak to me. I’ve been that way for years, including–to a lesser degree–in high school. I mentioned briefly that it especially seems to bother black people. My observation today is that most black people aren’t introverts and don’t get the concept. It’s like it doesn’t exist to black people, just like being gay doesn’t exist to a lot of black people. You either interact with black people, or you’re stuck-up or want to be white, and that’s that. So that’s what I started getting as I got older from blacks, especially black women, i.e. stuck-up and/or want to be white. That was really the only issue I had with women in college or law school, and that was, of course, with some of the black women.

I usually didn’t and don’t have issues with non-black women, although my white co-worker has obviously been a huge exception. But I was never truly able to be friends with non-black girls when I was growing up because we essentially weren’t allowed to be friends. A lot of parents around here were just racist, so I almost never was invited to hang out with white or Asian girls outside of school. Nowadays, I would say it’s not a matter of getting along with non-black women so much as just feeling a big cultural divide. It’s hard to explain it, but black women and white women are [usually] different in so many ways, and the fact that most white women really seem to have no idea the depths of the differences makes it worse for me. I used to have several good white female and/or Asian female friends, but I’m at a point where I’m too exhausted of the differences and having to talk about them vs having friends who already know…things.

So, I think the past has something to do with my not having female friends and sometimes thinking I don’t get along with women. I haven’t necessarily judged all black women to be a certain way or all white women to be a certain way so much as I’m just tired of the same schitt (told ya in the introverts/extroverts post that I have low patience, low tolerance) and don’t feel it’s worth it to make an effort. I was tired in high school, and that’s how I became “anti-people” and “I don’t speak to people unless they speak to me.” And now that’s just who I am.

A few other interesting points related to objections to statements from women such as “I don’t have female friends,” “I don’t get along with women,” “I have more in common with men” and “I relate to men more”:

-I think saying men and women are not that different is PC bullschitt. Men and women are different, whether it’s because of society or biology or a mix. It’s fine to admit that. It’s not the same as saying masculinity is better.

-Just because a woman thinks she relates more to men or has more in common with guys doesn’t mean she’s just seeking male attention. I have said things like this before, and I’m a lesbian. I am not trying to be “one of the guys” just so I can be the female center of attention or get boyfriends. Any time an intelligent woman says she relates more to guys than women, it’s for lack of a better way to express that she tends to find more men who share her interests than women. Again, whether it’s because of society or biology, men and women are not often totally on the same page when it comes to interests. Again, that’s fine–it doesn’t make one better than the other. Personally, I’d love to find even just one woman who can talk football all day–I really would. Sure, there are women out there who like football. It’s not even unusual to find women who love football. I just simply have never known another woman who lives and breathes football, though, or who even just likes to sit around and have the equivalent of a lengthy “intellectual” discussion/analysis about sports. The closest I get to that is guys.

Friendship between men and women and between women and women is different, too, and I prefer the dynamic I’ve experienced with male friends more. The sports thing is a great example. Sitting around talking sports is so not an emotional connection you’re making with someone. In other words, unless the guy is interested or you’re interested in him (or you’re like brother/sister)–or at least this is how it’s been for me–a friendship between a guy and a girl is not emotional, and it’s not close. Especially when I was younger, female friendships always seemed to carry the expectation or the reality of closeness. Even now, I sit around upset because I wonder where my female friends are when I need them. I’d never think that about a guy friend–that’s just not how our friendships work. I don’t look to guys for emotional support, but they do tend to have your back, which I wouldn’t call “support” so much as “loyalty” and/or “trust.” There’s a lot less fuss and muss. For me, guys are for sitting around and just shooting the breeze–often about unimportant stuff–whereas women are for much deeper friendships.

The more simplistic your relationship is with someone, the less problems the two of you have with each other–that’s what I like about my friendships with guys. And that’s not to say women can’t have simplistic, shallow friendships with each other–they can and do. I just don’t feel like we’re taught that, though (think about all the movies and TV shows featuring a group of good, close friends), and I don’t feel like that’s usually what women really want from each other as friends–at least not when they’re young and single. That usually leaves one woman in the friendship upset about what she’s not getting out of the friendship. I’m as guilty as any woman on this one because, as mentioned, I see female friends as being for deeper friendships. But those friendships are harder, as well.

-It’s always funny how many women talk about these women who don’t have female friends, then they try to excuse themselves and talk about why their situation is different. Why do you get to be different? What makes you think some of these women you’re putting down don’t have perfectly reasonable excuses, too? Assumptions, assumptions. And I understand that some of the women over at the blog link try to make a distinction between women who seem proud of not having female friends and other women who don’t have female friends, but it seems like a half-hearted attempt as evidenced by the number of times they equate saying “I don’t have female friends” with automatically not liking women or not liking to be women without any qualification. As far as I read, they also failed to state or point out that saying you don’t have female friends sometimes is…well…simply a statement of fact.

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My Second Job Offer

I actually got the job where my lazy former co-worker works–it sounds like in large part because he pushed very hard for me to get the position. Pending a background check, of course. Right now, it’s looking like I’m going to have to take it. I still haven’t gotten a start date for the place I’d rather work, and it doesn’t sound as if I’ll get one soon. I called last week to check for an update, and it didn’t sound like that company is in any rush–even though when I first spoke to someone about it months ago, he made it sound as if they were looking for a lot of people and were in a hurry to get people.

I checked with that same guy a few days ago, and he said he was frustrated about the standstill. I’m the one who should be frustrated, as should the other people they have holding on who are probably largely unemployed and really need work. It doesn’t make the company look good, either. I could have been out of my crappy job months ago, doing something I actually like. And now I’m not going to get that opportunity. My father suggested that I just take this less appealing job offer and then quit when the other job gives me a start date. I would lean towards not doing something like that, especially after everything my former co-worker went through to get me this job.

After speaking more with lazy tech, as well as the supervisor at this new job opportunity and some of the people at the staffing agency, and being at the place, I actually feel a lot better about the job than before. I just still would rather not have another job where I deal with people all day, and I also would rather not work 8am to 5pm. I did that at my current job when I first started and always felt like I spent too much of my waking day at work. When I started working 7am to 4pm, it made a big difference. It felt as if I had an extra hour in my day and more free time, which I technically do. I’m not a morning person, so it’s not as if I’m going to wake up early just to get that hour back. Personally, I prefer hours such as 6am to 2pm or 7am to 3pm and either not getting paid for lunch or not taking lunch at all on jobs that pay hourly. Or working overnight.

I’ve gotta tell ya–you drive up to this building, and it’s huge. It’s nice. You go inside, and it’s incredible. You really feel as if you’ve “arrived.” No wonder they pay so much money to do a ranky-dank job. I also was told after I was offered the job that we get big bonuses every six months. A lot of things I was told by lazy tech were confirmed by other people, so I don’t really feel that he was just lying to me to get me to this place. I also found out that they use a payment system that is almost like billable hours in big law firms, so it’s nearly impossible for lazy tech to not do work. The people at the agency told me this and explained the system, and the guy who would be my supervisor told me the same thing. The guy at the agency told me lazy tech has already gotten overtime pay because of this, which means lazy tech is really doing work and making a lot of money.

Lazy tech also admitted to me that he’s frustrated there because, being new, he gets issues he doesn’t know how to handle. This is the same thing I deal with where I currently work, except I have been where I work over half a year and still have that problem due to the way I was trained. Lazy tech is in a particularly bad position because he’s new there and doing the position by himself due to their firing someone. At least I wouldn’t have to deal with that.

Anyway, like I wrote before in the post to which I linked above, I can’t really justify staying where I currently work a job I hate when I can go somewhere else and do something similar and at least get paid much more for it. Those seem to be my only options right now. Lazy tech told me he likes it better there and that the clients are a lot different because they’re in-house clients, and the supervisor said the same thing. It also seems like I’d learn system admin skills, which I’m not particularly interested in but would definitely add to my resume and marketability should I stay in IT or look for another, higher-paying job in IT vs going deeper into sports journalism.

Speaking of sports journalism…I know I had written months ago that I was going to try to stick with my own blog instead of writing for other companies, unless it’s a major company (i.e. ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, etc). But I checked out this one site that seems to post quality material and suggests that they allow their writers to have a lot of freedom as far as content, how often they contribute, etc. They also make their best writers featured columnists, and their best material gets posted on major sites like the ones I mentioned. They hire the best writers on full time, as well, so I could end up with a good job with them that would allow me to get out of IT altogether (don’t get me wrong–still love technology…just don’t like that so many jobs involve dealing with people and that my favorite thing to do with tech is repair, which is low-paying and doesn’t allow me to make a living with big student loans). They have a sports radio show in which their writers sometimes participate, and I had kind of been interested in messing with that a little to see if I like it since I listen to so much sports radio.

The key for me with this, other than their reciprocating my interest (which I’m waiting to find out), is how much freedom I get as a writer in terms of content. If it’s something that will allow me to do my thing the way I do it, then it would be worth my time. I’m proud of the work I’m doing with my sports blog and will still keep the blog going, but I just don’t have the readership. I have built it up some, but I know with blogs from scratch it takes years. It’s a little frustrating, even knowing that, because I feel I’ve written all this great stuff. I write a lot of the same things major writers publish sometimes before they write it, and they get all the readers and ideas attributed to them.

Oh, forgot to mention–got a start date for this job with lazy tech, as well. This company really seems a lot more together than the one with the repair job, as well as probably the business for which I currently work. So, one way or the other, I’ll soon be starting a new job.

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Introverts vs Extroverts At Work

So, on Monday the female tech geek (FTG) took another day off work–this was after leaving early either last Thursday or Friday, as well as taking four days off last month, leaving early another day, etc. The woman who works in accounting came and talked to me about this. And she was like, almost out of nowhere, “I get the sense that you two don’t like each other.” I thought it was hysterical. I flatout admitted I don’t like FTG.

The accounting lady basically did the same thing, and we talked about some of the things that FTG has done that are alienating to people at work. But it seemed like the main problem the accounting lady had with FTG?

She doesn’t socialize.

I thought that was really interesting. In fact, it really got me thinking. As I mentioned in a post months ago, FTG and I do have some similarities. Essentially, she’s how I would be if I had mental and/or emotional issues. Alas, I am relatively stable. She’s generally quiet, but so am I. As mentioned before, I can fake social skills better than she can, though. I have always known that I’m an introvert. I don’t know if she’s an introvert, just crazy or both. I think of her as crazy, to be honest, and I’m not the only one. That’s my problem with FTG, not quietness. But it’s important to note that being an introvert doesn’t automatically mean someone is crazy and vice versa.

Still, when the accounting lady started complaining about how FTG doesn’t socialize, it made me wonder, “Why is it that so many people dislike quiet people?” I started thinking about how so many people harass quiet people, even if it’s just to try to force them to talk or make jokes about being quiet. It happens to me, definitely. It happened at my current job, at my last job, and it used to happen before I moved to the Midwest (I am back in the South now). I think being a quiet person is so much worse in the South because people from the South are so outwardly friendly with even people they don’t know, which is not to say they’re always friendly, all friendly or not fake friendly. But people down here love to speak to people and seem to have more of an issue with people who don’t than people elsewhere I’ve been.

At my last job, there were two guys there whom I didn’t like. There was one in particular whom I didn’t like, and the other one…there was just something about him. Usually I am right on “something about him/her” judgments, but I don’t guess I was that one time. They both turned out to be my “best friends at work” by the time I left. I usually don’t speak to people unless they speak to me, and these two guys really worked hard at speaking to me, haha.

The one guy I really didn’t like rubbed me the wrong way because he is just–no offense intended, which means this will be offensive–a very typical white guy in a lot of ways. To expound on that, he just seemed like an arrogant know-it-all. He has one of those voices that’s very annoying to me, which a lot of white guys have–very confident, “I’m right” type of thing that intimidates some people/makes some people afraid to voice their opinions. He will argue with you and disagree with you with complete certainty. These are not the easiest people to deal with. And I have to care about someone to sit there and argue with them, so interacting with people like that are often not worth my time.

This guy used to come up to me and point out that I don’t talk to people all the time, that I’m anti-social, etc. This is how we ended up interacting and eventually becoming friends, because he just would not leave me alone. The interesting thing I’ve noticed is that when black people [everywhere I’ve lived] notice I don’t talk much, they just get pissed and talk about what they think my faults are among themselves–especially black women. That’s why I hardly have black female friends. Black guys sometimes approach me about it. That’s why I have a couple of black male friends. When white people in the South notice I don’t speak much, they try to force me to talk to them. White people elsewhere generally don’t care, but when black people see me interacting with white people and not them they dislike me even more. Asians anywhere don’t care. And Latinos generally don’t care.

Anyway, so thinking about all this made me do some research on why people don’t like quiet people. With stuff like this, I like to get answers from the horse’s mouth. I found a pretty good thread that has some interesting thoughts about quiet people, introverts and the work environment. I want to address some of this stuff, because it’s very important.

Here’s a piece of the original question about “why do people hate it when one’s quiet at work?”:

No matter where I work, though, people always seem to take issue with my quietness. I focus on my work and refrain from meddling in other’s business. It isn’t like I don’t say a word all day — I talk to and am friendly with them. It’s just that once I get cranking, I like to concentrate on my work. I work among salespeople, many of whom have an active part in office politics, and I just don’t want any part of it. My job requires me to write a lot so that factors into all of this as well — I can’t craft a well-written article if I’m chatting up everyone around the office. Lately people have made such sarcastic remarks as the following: “Supernova, why are you so loud? I’m going to have to get headphones to drown out all the noise you’re making over there.”

This piece is important for some of the responses to the original question that I’ll post in a bit. Right now, I will say, though, that I’ve had someone at my current job joke the same way about my “being so talkative.” Honestly, I laughed it off. It’s annoying, but it’s better to laugh it off. It makes you look better, especially if you’re actually concerned that people don’t like you because you’re quiet. You’re quiet, people know you’re quiet–why get mad? Laughing it off is an acknowledgment that, hey, I know I’m quiet, you’re right.

Here’s one of the responses from an extrovert:

I’m a big extrovert and quiet people make me nervous, you never know what they are thinking. I am excellent at my work, not good, excellent! I am outgoing,hardworking, someone who others rally around and the person who keeps the morale high. People LIKE being around me because I’m friendly. Now, do I tease quiet people? NO. Quiet people have the right to be quiet, but I do try to draw them into conversations because people need interaction with others. It’s fun! Often these quiet people become some of my best work friends and quiet extroverted. I rub off on others sometimes. If you like being an introvert, but extroverts are trying to get you to change, well, talk to them. We don’t bite and, contrary to many views, we are great workers, have a lot of energy, and make very good friends.  

Not sure I understand the “quiet people make me nervous, you never know what they are thinking” line of thought, but I’ve seen that before. I think it’s the same thing as saying, “Quiet people are the ones you have to watch out for.” But just because someone talks all the time, does that mean you really know who they are or what they’re up to? I do think one of the reasons for this thinking could be related to something the same co-worker who joked about my quietness said/joked about another time, which is that I don’t like him. A lot of people likely equate not speaking to someone to not liking that person, which is probably not true even half the time.

To me, it’s all about knowing how to read people. I don’t know if that’s something introverts are better at, but I can read people. Like I said, I feel that FTG is more of the crazy variety among quiet people, and I do think you have to “watch” someone like her. When I sense or hear her moving when we’re alone together, I am alert, looking out of the corner of my eye and all that, just making sure I’m not about to be attacked. Sad, but so true.

I knew quiet people in school whom everyone should have been able to tell were just shy. They wanted to interact with people and make friends but were just shy about it. You can tell these people from the ones who are like me who generally don’t want to interact with most people–they’re the ones who stand or sit there and look at you and/or your group while you talk but they don’t say anything. They might laugh or nod, but that’s about it.

If someone just flatout keeps to himself or herself, including acting like you’re not even there when you’re talking to others, then that’s not necessarily the person you want to try and draw into conversations or interactions. If the person seems to be alone but not lonely, that’s not necessarily the person, either. You can and it can go well, but also be prepared for the possibility of rejection because it might happen. For me, I can take or leave some people, and there are other people whom I just don’t want to deal with. At my last job, I did have a guy whom I basically one day had to tell to leave me alone, which he basically did that from that point on. There was another guy who kind of got the hint on his own.

I became cool with the white guy–to whom I will henceforth stop referring in such a manner and use his name, George–for, I think, three reasons: 1) we ended up having some interesting conversations, 2) he was good at his job and he was of a lot of help to me, including some mental/emotional help when I was going crazy at that place, and 3) it became apparent as time went on that he really respected me. He is actually now one of my job references when I apply for jobs, and we exchanged contact information because he said he’d be interested in working with me if/when he starts his own IT business. And I learned how to deal with his communication style, which I think changed a little bit with me once we started learning more about each other, and that made it easier for us to get along.

And on the point of introverts or extroverts being able to read people…George actually had me pretty well-read. He said I was anti-social, which I did correct by saying I’m “anti-people,” which is a little bit different. I love to socialize with people I like. But he also said at one point that he can tell I have high standards, and he wasn’t just talking about when it comes to people. But I do with everything, including people. I tend to only like certain types of people, and I admit that. Another one of my friends back in high school and college put it even better than he did–she said I was intolerant…either of people’s idiosyncrasies or faults or something like that. I totally am. I am highly intolerant.

Next response that really caught my eye:

I don’t know, quiet people in the office can come across as refusing to contribute. It depends where you work, but I work in a shared office with 8 other people, and it is kind of a team thing, a lot of interaction is informal. You spend 40 hours a week with these people, longer than with friends/family, so it’s important I think that there is a good atmosphere.

We once had a very very shy person work with us (I think she was shy), but to be honest, she was disliked intensely by a lot of people. Her attituded came across as very judgemental and disapproving. She would never say hello, or ask any questions about anyone else. She was such hard work to be around.

I know this isn’t exactly what people want to hear, but at work, you want to work with pleasant, co-operative upbeat people. They don’t need to be loud or outgoing, but they do need to be polite and seem to notice that their colleagues are alive (in my opinion, of course, YMMV). Just a simple thing like smiling at people can change their perceptions of you – what you see as quietness, other people may see as disapproval/hostility.

I think, again, it’s about knowing how to read which type of person you’re dealing with, as well as being careful to distinguish between being one of the more quiet people who does speak and inquire about people vs being one who never does or only does so because he/she’s being nosy, trying to cause trouble, it somehow benefits them, etc. I agree that work places need to be nice atmospheres because you’re there all the time with the same people. But someone’s not talking doesn’t have to take away from everyone else’s enjoyment. Frankly, I feel that if I don’t say anything, you’re perfectly welcome to pretend I’m not in the room up to the point where you talk schitt about me in my presence. I don’t see where that hurts anything, if this is about things not related to the work.

Other than that, what this person wrote has been almost exactly my problem with FTG, and that’s basically what I told the accounting lady. I said that, for me, it’s fine if FTG doesn’t want to socialize. But this is a team-work environment, and she is not a team player. It makes it tough to do our jobs, and it also makes it so that people don’t like her or at least have moments when they don’t like her. I think the accounting lady and I are the only people at work who just totally don’t like FTG. And FTG is the type who asks questions when it benefits her or to be nosy.

I put in my socialization and I do everything I can as far as the work is concerned, but I just don’t talk anywhere near as much as others do and there are certain people I hardly speak with. The guy who made the joke about my talking too much is one of the ones I hardly speak with, but there’s really not much opportunity for me to speak to him. He doesn’t work in the suite with us, although he works for the business, and he’s hardly up here socializing. I speak with the guy who trained me all the time because he totally meets the standards I have for people, and he’s one of the reasons I feel bad about leaving my current job.

Here’s a big one:

it’s not about being introverted, it’s about being friendly and considerate of others. i think you’re being kind of self-absorbed. when you’re at a work place with other people, there’s a social responsibility to make it a fun/easy going place. by being quite all the time, you create this negative uneasy energy and honestly, i hate being around people like that. it’s rude. just talk or smile — even if it’s once in awhile. okay, work when you work but when it comes to social time, make an effort. it IS your responsibility.

my mom is really quiet but everyone at work likes her. i’m also an introvert but i smile and am polite to people. being introverted doesn’t mean you’re in your own world and don’t care about anyone else and their feelings.

I think this is 98% ridiculous. My responsibility is to complete my job duties, or else being “sociable” would be in the job ad under “requirements.” Sometimes, it basically is, and I have learned to not apply for those jobs. I do think work places are moving more towards the kind of thinking in this response, including bosses and supervisors, even if they don’t state it or write it in job ads. I don’t think you should have to come to work and be something you’re not, though, and have your job depend on it. You also shouldn’t have social events or “social time” forced on you at a job. And being quiet isn’t always rude. If you don’t want to speak to someone, then don’t speak to someone. Like someone else said, it’s your right. Just don’t be a jerk towards someone, unless they earned it.

I agree as far as there’s not much excuse to not care about people and their feelings. I can agree if you’re talking about greeting people at work, and I do that with the people I like, haha. And I agree about smiling in theory–although smiling doesn’t come easily if you don’t feel like it, and fake smiles…look fake. But, yeah…being an introvert kind of is about being in your own world. That’s where introverts feel the most comfortable.

As for “negative uneasy energy,” I think that problem tends to fall more with the more sociable people than the quiet people a lot of the time. It’s not our fault that you feel this need to talk or fill the air with noise and believe it’s awkward or something is wrong when there’s silence. Find someone who wants to engage with you or bring some earphones in and go on YouTube or something with them (sometimes I just put the bud in one ear so I can still hear the environment), and let quiet people do their thing. Gosh, what are you going to do–hold a gun to someone’s head and force them to speak to you just because you can’t just sit there or find something else to do? This is your problem.

And another:

My thoughts are very close to Honey Pumpkin’s. There are quiet people I work with who are dears and they make an effort to be inclusive. Then there are others who are downright unapproachable who make others feel uncomfortable.  

You know what? Unless the quiet person is the crazy version of quiet or has said/done something to make you legitimately have that worry, or he/she is the type who makes it hard to get work done…once again, this is a problem with the complainer or the person who feels uncomfortable, not the quiet person. And as I wrote before, I speak to people who speak to me. If you’re someone who has no problem socializing with others, then you need to be the one who is making “an effort to be inclusive,” not the naturally quiet person. Doesn’t make sense to think the quiet people will jump through hoops to interact with people, so if you want them to talk you have to try and if they don’t respond much leave them be. Use common sense. Hating or disliking people because they’re quiet and appear unapproachable is not being inclusive.

Another really good one:

I worked with a girl who was so quiet and never bothered to make and effort to be social and everyone in the office despised her.

There’s nothing wrong with being quiet, but I do think that some introverts think that if you are talking you can’t possibly be working hard.

Also, the girl in my office rarely made any effort to get to know people and you could tell she thought she worked harder than others, which didn’t lead to friendly relations in the office.

Like another person says, it comes across as self-absorbed.

I do notice a bit of the “aren’t I a hard worker” coming across in your post, so I’m sure it comes across to your colleagues as well.

I love this comment, even though it’s partially stupid like the one immediately above it. Why? Because while others kind of indicated they got the sense that the original poster felt people who socialize at work don’t work as hard, this person went ahead and addressed that this is one of the issues between quiet people at work and people who talk. Um…he/she is right.

You know, it depends on the job. At my job, we answer phones and emails. A lot of the time, people who are sitting around talking are not breaking their conversations off to answer calls. That means the people who sit quietly have to keep answering call after call, which results in more work for the quiet people. Someone has to do the work, so the quiet people can’t jump into convos just to avoid phones.

I had an internship a long time ago in which socializing would only hurt if that’s all you ever did. We did legal research and writing. I was good friends with one of my supervisors, so we would sometimes spend an hour chatting. There was another female interning who never did stuff like this, but it wasn’t like she ended up getting more legal issues to research because of this. She had certain lawyers she worked with at this place, and I had certain lawyers I worked with. And the supervisor I chatted with was one of those lawyers I worked with. I got all my work done in a timely fashion, and the lawyers I worked with were very happy with my work.

Even still, sometimes if you notice you’re sitting there working while others are talking, it gets irritating. The others might still be getting their work done, but if the talking somehow means more work for the quiet people I don’t blame them for having an issue with the socializers. Also, it’s kind of hard to talk to others if you’re doing a lot of the work and are busy with that, and I go through that at my current job. It’s pretty much always the case that I just show the “I work harder” attitude when someone doesn’t show up to work, which causes more work for me, or when it’s super busy and people are still socializing or not doing enough.

Last one:

My quietness actually came up on an evaluation at my last job once. I was told maybe I could try to socialize a little more with my co workers. But I really didn’t have much in common with them and it takes me a long time to warm up to people. I learned after getting fired that my lack of social interest at work was one of the main reasons they fired me.

Again, this is ridiculous, but this is where the work place is headed in the US. In general, I don’t have anything in common with my co-workers, either.

Some people who talk a lot also get on my nerves because they talk about nothing or assume we care about the adventures of their lives. If we’re friends, okay. If we’re not, I don’t need to hear all that. A few people at my job just love to talk and don’t care to whom they’re talking about whatever is on their mind, including the accounting lady. I lack patience for mindless conversation or people free flowing whatever they’re thinking. I fake interest in what they’re saying a lot of the time to be polite. But especially if I’m busy at work, it’s annoying. I have a short attention span, low tolerance and am not good at multi-tasking.

The Chatty Cathy co-worker of mine who only works in the suite certain days kind of reminds me of how night talk show hosts have to stand up in front of the audience and do their little random jokes every time the show comes on. She just has to come to the network support area every morning she’s at work around the same time and just start talking about random stuff. And she’ll say something kind of dramatically and just pause and look at you, as if she’s waiting to see how you respond. It’s like how the hosts go random joke–>punchline–>pause–>laughter from the audience. It’s like, “Why must we do this every time you’re here? I’m not an audience to just sit and listen to whatever you feel like saying.”

Clearly, outgoing people and quiet people don’t get each other and are annoyed by each other sometimes. Most of my friends are outgoing and extroverted, so I don’t dislike these types of people, per se. But clearly, they view themselves as normal and problem-free as far as personality goes and quiet/introverted as not.

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