My, aren't we fascinating?

Lifestyle & Culture | October 7, 2009

PEOPLE fascinate me.

And the people who fascinate me the most are the ones I have worked with.

I am pretty sure I have run the gamut from dangerous narcissists, initiative-devoid dumbos and egotistical wankers to the ambitious sharks, lazy slobs and unprofessional disgraces.

A judgemental bitch by nature (skills that were carefully honed at an all-girls Catholic school), I have cringed, winced, battled and gossiped about any and all of these weirdos who have shared my office space for varying lengths of time.

My favourites have been the utter cows who have been repeatedly promoted by a management completely blind to their ruthless ways. People who somehow have heap upon heap of misguided praised laden upon them, when that praise should clearly be replaced with a type of shit as vomit-inducing as their personalities.

They are a breed unto themselves. They are a type that hardly ever utters the words " thank you", "would you mind" or "sorry to bother you".

Humility, eagerness to learn and courtesy go out the window – if they were ever on the right side of the window in the first place – and are replaced by arrogance, selfishness and getting ahead at any cost.

These should all be barriers to getting ahead, if karma is any guide. But for some bizarre reason, the opposite happens, and these traits end up fuelling golden girl or boy status.

Bitter much?

Once, sure. But these days, not at all. Honestly.

Ageing is a wonderful thing. The older you get, the more keenly you realise that life is really quite fucking short and cold-blooded ambition is a wasted emotion.

The older you get, and the more children you have, the less energy you have. So, in a primordial attempt at basic self-preservation, you make a decision to avoid wasting any of your precious energy on ridiculous pursuits like bitterness, regret and envy. You go into hibernation when those cold, negative-energy snows are blowing a blizzard outside.

The older you get, the less you lament the mellowing of that drive that once upon a time caused you to take no prisoners – personal or professional.

Chew them up and spit them out? Only if you’re talking about olives and their pips, these days, not fellow human beings.

It took me a while, but I have recently realised that I am not being lazy or apathetic because I do not have a five-year plan or a strategy mapping my journey towards having the letters C, E and O in my title.

These ruthless piranhas are so damn scared, so damn insecure, so damn desperate to impress.

Was that me a decade ago?

I am fully aware that those rose-coloured glasses make a neat fit when we reminisce about the type of people we were in our younger days, but I was never that full-on.

I was actually petrified of anyone who had more experience in a workplace than me. I felt I had no right to challenge, to usurp or to question the words or actions of anyone with more seniority than me.

And yet I am seeing that happen increasingly around me.

I detest all that generational cliche crap, but maybe this is just because Generations Y and Z are entering the workforce: a group seemingly born with a chip on their shoulders and who feel and act like they are owed something.

They are a group raised by Generation Xers and Baby Boomers, who were forced to learn the value of a job because they suffered through the uncertainty of real recessions and hardship.

The chip that circumstance created on their shoulder caused them to raise their children as go-getters, to battle against a world that clearly had proved itself to be one that offered no favours and even fewer free rides.

Expect, fight and thrive.

Of course this is a generalisation, but perhaps a reason for all these high maintenance randoms in our workplaces – and the reason why Gen-X and Baby Boomer bosses are so endlessly in awe of them.

Whatever it is, I think it’s fascinating.


1. Blythe on October 9, 2009

I'm so glad to finally get a mention in one of your musings. "Unprofessional disgrace". Awesome ;-)

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About Rebecca Marshall

I have been a journalist in regional Australia for about 14 years, first in South Australia (television) and now on Queensland's Sunshine Coast (newspapers).
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