Wednesday, October 22, 2008


The following interaction just took place outside of my office:

Lawyer 1: I think we have a commitment issue.

Lawyer 2: What to you mean?

Lawyer 1: I need you to commit to not answering your phone while I'm talking to you.


This interaction, although had in dead seriousness, was amusing in and of itself. But it struck a chord in me for a different reason. I realized that, in a work setting, I have a very hard time sticking up for myself.

Two weeks ago, there was an incident at work where I basically got scapegoated on a project that didn't quite meet client expectations. It was a perfect storm of a client that refuses to return messages if they come from me (I'll save the monologue on sexism in the legal profession for another day) and some not unexpected and completely typical communication issues with a supervisor. I haven't done anything about either issue. And it doesn't help that when I get frustrated and worked up, I tear up at the drop of a hat. Its just been easier to let the storm pass, keep my head down and get my work done. Ultimately, I'd rather be a doormat than "the cryer."

What's crazy about all of this is that once I'm on the bike, its a completely different ball game. On the same afternoon that I spent in my office with the door closed, completely miserable, I was riding up to intervals after work when a car almost hit me while trying to squeeze across the bike lane into a right hand turn lane.

I didn't even think twice. I rolled up the driver's side window and tapped on it. The startled driver rolled down her window just a fraction.

"Did you see me?" I asked.

"Wha-What?" was the response.

"M'am. (Insert exasperated sigh.) There is a bike lane all of the way to the intersection. You ignored that and almost hit me."

The light turned green, and because I was running late (two flats on the waterfront), I rolled my way and she rolled hers.

I don't know what it is about two wheels, lycra and helmet that turns me into a different being, but I need to figure out how to bring some of that spunk to my job.


Kristin said...

"And it doesn't help that when I get frustrated and worked up, I tear up at the drop of a hat."

I KNOW!! Why oh why do we do this? It's endlessly frustrating. man... there's nothing more embarrassing when you're trying to speak up for yourself and your eyes start watering over. I work in very male dominated office, where they "joke" that anyone who cries gets fired, and where women who have gotten fired and then cried are totally made fun of. blarg.

Anonymous said...

Because the person in the car is of no consequence in your life. They are nobody. You likely will not see them again.