Are we Facebook friends? We should be. I’ve long since given up on anonymity – though it does make me wonder if I’m talking to people in my life and I’m telling them the same story they’ve already read…awkward – and so we can totally be friends if you want.
But back to the point, if we were, you’d have learned this week that I have both thin skin and a thick sense of rightness. As in doing what’s right. There’s a word for that, right? I removed a sign taped to a co-workers monitor that said “LOSER.” I had so many mixed feelings as I peeled it back and dropped it in the recycling. Not least among them: should I keep this and hand it to him in person? Answer: in retrospect, yes. When I was new to offices, my boss (who was in all respects horrible) came to my desk while I was on vacation and removed several memos and notes from my bulletin board. Some were recently out of date, some were just inoffensive mementos (like a smiley face on a sticky note) but when my staff mentioned it to me in hushed voices, it had a huge sense of wrongness. It was my space, even though it really isn’t, you know?
And so I felt badly for taking down the sign. I was erring on the side of caution. It was probably a joke but what if it was meant to be hurtful? I work at a University with regular training and full webpages devoted to respect. It’s a company policy that’s taken seriously. The sign was disrespectful. More than that, had the Provost come walking through, my boss, etc., it would have been embarrassing for all of us. I decided to take the risk. I don’t know if that was right. If I came to work to find the word loser scrawled on my computer, even by a friend, it would have dented in my whole day. I have a thin skin. My co-worker does not, as he was somewhat put out.
As you can imagine, I haven’t taken it well when my daughter has, very occasionally, mentioned a hurtful comment made by a friend. I can’t embrace the expression “mama bear”, mostly because the ones I know seem to take it a little too far (though given what I know of bears, that’s probably apt) but that’s certainly the way I feel even though I swallow it down and make some (hopefully measured) neutral comment. I guess I tell you all that to tell you this: I wish I had a thicker skin. If you have suggestions on how to fix that, by all means, go ahead – keeping in mind, of course, that I have a thin skin and can and do delete anything that doesn’t meet my own personal TOS 😉