See the final results of my 30 Days of Gratitude challenge here: 30 Days of Gratitude: Final Reflections.
If I were to be completely honest with myself, I’d say I had a pretty rough time last week. I actually cried in the office at 8pm on a Friday (nobody saw!) and my weekend has been riddled with anxiety over going back on Monday. In my gratitude experiment, I’ve written a couple times about how I have great coworkers – and I didn’t lie! Everyone except one guy is AWESOME, and I mean it.
What makes this coworker so difficult? He complains about you behind your back to the boss. He also exaggerates – breaking a small feature on the site that affects < 1% of users becomes “taking down the entire site”. He resents anyone he believes “doesn’t deserve their position” – which is basically everyone on the team except his mentor. I’m especially “undeserving”, because I’ve had a very fast career progression. Unfortunately, the since my team is split between 2 offices, I’m stuck with this coworker and his mentor every darn day of the week, while the rest of the team gets to escape him.
There’s a silver lining to him though… he’s writes great code. I wanted to learn from him, so I offered to help him with some small tasks – which of course, made me an easy target. The ending of the story is obvious… he told our boss my “code was crap” and I would’ve “exploded the entire site if he hadn’t reviewed it”. Ouch. 😛 I guess I did achieve my goal though, since I learned some better practices for avoiding bugs in my code.
I’ve decided that I’m going to continue working with him until the end of the quarter (2 more weeks). I’ve contemplated basically telling him to fuck off, but part of me feels like working with him makes me stronger. Maybe I’m a masochist, but I feel like forcing myself to work with him is helping me get better at persevering even when I feel others don’t support me. If I gave up every time someone doubted me, I’d never get anywhere.
The only thing that’s kept me sane working with this guy has been remembering all the coworkers I am grateful for. I’m lucky that I have so many to choose from – so here we go:
- My boss. Even after that toxic coworker claimed I “broke the site”, my boss still wants to promote me. My boss still says I’m a great engineer. I know most childhood fairy tales aren’t true, but I’m glad that “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” is ringing as true as ever.
- The mobile team boss. I work on the “web team”, which means we build the website for our product – there’s a corresponding “mobile team”, which builds the web apps. I worked on a cross-team project a couple months back, and the mobile team boss provided great guidance and insight when my boss wasn’t accessible, even though he didn’t have to. He’s also very senior in the org, which makes it even more extraordinary – most people of his level will just ignore you.
- The team lead for a corresponding web team. Ok, I know the context doesn’t make much sense. But I once worked with another team lead on a corresponding team, who was great. He really went above and beyond to get my computer/permissions set up, when he didn’t have to. Normally my boss would be the person doing that, but it’s challenging when my boss works out of a different office – I am so lucky to have a support system in my office, even if it’s composed of engineers across separate teams.
- One of the lead engineers on my team. He spent a whole day helping me set up a whole bunch of hardware. Once, the toxic coworker asked me why I would go to the other office which is a 1.5h commute one way, when I could just ask him questions. I completely dodged his question, but if I spoke the truth, I’d say, “Because they’re actually nice?” LOL
- The “bad” engineer on my team who the toxic engineer hates. There’s this one guy that the toxic guy ALWAYS rags on. Thing is, the “bad” engineer doesn’t write the best code…but he’s the only engineer on the team (besides my boss) who made me feel comfortable my first days in the office. As a female engineer, it’s the norm for other engineer guys tiptoeing around me – but this guy? He talks to me like everyone else, and I really appreciate it. Even though the toxic guy claims that this “bad” engineer is defensive, I don’t think he is – I’ve challenged him on code before and never had an issue. We just talk about it. Maybe it’s because I actually try to understand the rationale behind his approach instead of just saying “your code is crap”? I wouldn’t mind working with the “bad” engineer again, but I don’t want to work with the toxic engineer again (despite his intelligence). Being nice goes a long way.
What are you thankful for?