Damned auto-correct! No, I was not trying to spell duck. Who uses the word duck that much in day to day dialogue, anyway? Aww, duck it!
It’s a new year,and I’m trying so hard to not be an
asshole negative person. When you’re of a certain age, you’ve hopefully vanquished all of the vampires of negativity from your personal life. Honestly, I find it all too easy to cut off Debbie Downer from my social network. So long, Negative Nancy! Please say hello to your cat with Tourette’s. That must suck for you, but I don’t want to, and don’t have to hear about it.
But what about work? What if you work with the most negative Debbie Downer? What if Debbie Downer is not only negative, but also aggressive?
I work with a girl who hates just about everybody but her daughter. She really loves her daughter. If you’re not her daughter, be prepared to be treated like shit.
Case in point:
At my ultra-glamorous part-time job, I work in a cafe at a science museum. Just to play Devil’s advocate, I probably would also be a mega-bitch if this was my only income, and I knew I had nothing else to fall back on. The Silence of The Lambs is scary, but not as scary as The Screaming Of The Children with sticky fingers and poopy-drawers. It sometimes seems as though only bad parents come to the cafe. So when little Timmy is having a melt-down, his parent naturally medicates him with soda and a cupcake. That should calm him down.
My co-worker goes out of her way to be nasty to people. I don’t know how she hasn’t been fired. She, admittedly, doesn’t know how she hasn’t been fired. She’s made kids cry. Sure, they shouldn’t have played with their food by flipping it up in the air like a paddle ball.But did she have to scream and clap her hands at them like a crazy lady? Probably not.
Just yesterday, I took an order from a lady whose kid was allergic to everything. Negative Nancy was by my side. I felt bad for this mom. She loved tomatoes, but had to omit them from her own sandwich because her son was that sensitive. His meal came with milk or juice, but he couldn’t digest either. When she asked to substitute tea, I quickly agreed, but Negative Nancy was quick to respond that it’d be a $2 up charge. First of all, tea has the greatest profit margin of all. It’s tea. If you sell one cup, the cost of the gallon is already covered. Also, it’s not like we’re a part of the bonus pool. Negative Nancy doesn’t understand this, and she’d already made it too awkward. The mom ordered tea for herself, and guess what? She got numerous free refills, which I’m sure she shared with her son.
When mom was done ordering, Nancy pulled me aside, and said she didn’t like the way the woman had talked to me. She was fired up!
Was I supposed to be offended? All I saw was a mother doing her best to take care of a child who has a rough go at life. She could have ordered anything, but curbed her choices based on her son’s limitations.
I replied that I wasn’t offended by the mom. She seemed flustered but I didn’t take it as a personal affront. She just needed some help. Negative Nancy did not know what to do with this information. She just said, “Well I don’t even believe a kid could have that many allergies.” Ummm, okay…
When Nancy is not delighting in being rude to people, and telling them “no” for no good reason, she busies herself by talking shit about our co-workers, and
sharing imposing her assinine world views. Don’t get her started on why non-Christians shouldn’t celebrate Christmas! She has no idea that I’m a Christmas-loving agnostic. I love it so much that my tree is still up. Okay, okay, that’s just laziness, but you get my drift.
With glazed eyes, I patiently listen to the numerous “injustices” that daily assail my co-worker, because everyone is out to get her. I nod, and fake-smile while waiting for her to ask just one question about my life. She never does.
If she were a friend, I’d just cut-off the relationship, but I can’t just not go to work. I mean, I could, but they’d probably stop issuing my paycheck.
So I’ll continue to vacantly nod and smile while finding my happy place. Maybe, she’ll see that being laid-back has its advantages. Maybe my positivity will impact her life for the good. Maybe she’ll realize that she doesn’t always have to be a dick. Probably not, but maybe…
My Mother always told me that “It takes a lot more energy to be miserable than happy.” That saying was so annoying to a dramatic, angst-ridden teenager, but I get it now, and I’m not even rolling my eyes.
How about you? Any Debbie Downers in your life? How do you deal with them?