Ramblin' Rosko

Ramblings of a Confessional Lutheran turned Orthodox Christian on life, God, and friends.

I hate to make this a blog of rants, and I hope that such does not come from this post, but keep in mind, dear reader, that it might.

These economic times are tough, I'll admit. Jobs are few and far between, so I am thankful for everything that I have. Even though the bosses can be overbearing, and the coworkers can stab you in the back, it pays the rent, it pays the bills, it gives me a few extra dollars for a sixer every now and then (which takes me a month or more to consume). However, I have a quirk that many are not prepared for, and indeed, often misunderstand. That quirk can be demonstrated by the following dialogue:

Coworker: Rosko, you made the following mistake, in fact, I know the pressure is on, and it's getting easier and easier to mess up, but this one was really easy to avoid. You need to get your act together in these tough times.
Rosko: I understand
C: But you keep making the same mistakes.
R: Thank you for pointing this out, I really appreciate it. Now, can we figure out how to work through this and make it better.

BINGO! There's the quirk. If I make a mistake, if I am in the wrong, I appreciate when people point it out. I even at times thank the for it, verbally. What do you think the response to this statement was? Was it "okay, lets talk about what we can do"? Was it "I'm glad to see you're willing to work through this"? NO! In fact, the comment was "Stop being such a smart ass, you always have a smart-assy comment to everything".

Now, let us back up a second. Why would anyone think this? Simply put, it's a misunderstanding of gratitude offered by our always self-serving and constantly degrading culture. You see, so many of these people, I have come to realize, make statements like I did as a way to seemingly appease the authority without getting into conflict. I am guessing that it has been done to this coworker and boss enough that when true gratitude is staring them in the face, they don't realize it. They would no longer recognize gratitude in this situation if it came up to them with a badge on that said "Hello, my name is Gratitude". You see, if I am going to be a 'smart-ass', I have to try really hard. It does not come naturally for me when I am under pressure. When I am under pressure, my reaction is to stop, listen, defend only if necessary, and try to resolve. So many people around my age are belligerent, selfish, and unwilling to resolve. This puts me into that situation, and I am not sure how to react. I appreciate when people tell me what's wrong, and REALLY appreciate if they are willing to help me work through it. But such gratitude is now foreign in our culture, and it stops me in my tracks, it keeps me from being myself.

So, what do you recommend I do in this situation? Do I continue to express gratitude, and engage the conversation to a point where I can try to make the parties involved happy? Or do I sit there with a blank look on my face, with no feedback, and seem no better than the people who are simply going against their conscience to appease the bosses and then admit that they said things simply for that purpose, with no true meaning behind them? I'm really not sure what to do!!!!

Image Credit: http://balanceforce.ca by way of Google Image Search.


  1. Don  

    It sounds to me, Rosko, like the person with whom you are having this conversation is seeing your age, and not hearing your voice.

    Would it be possible for you to approach them when one of these confrontations ISN'T taking place to explain to them that you wanted to clarify that you are truly appreciative of their input, and apologize if you came across as anything less than that?

    I agree with you that your humility is most likely being misinterpreted solely because of your age, and quite possibly because of others in your age group that they've worked with in the past.

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