Working Waltz

If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. ~Romans 12:18 (HCSB)

In a week, I will have been at my new job for exactly one year…which technically means it’s not new anymore…but that’s not the point of this post. Ha!

We all have those people at work that we have to “dance” around because of personality and character differences. I have worked in a handful of public libraries and dealt with many personalities of customers and staff, but I now work in an academic library. We are largely separated from the public in our department so I’m usually just around my coworkers. A couple of them are definitely characters all of their own making, but one in particular tries my dancing shoes until they’re nearly worn out at the end of each week.

She thrives on negativity and drama, and she will pull anyone else down to feel better about herself. This can be infuriating, but I also understand that she lives with a chronic medical condition and comes from a very insecure background. I make certain allowances because I know deep down she is often in pain and lacks decent self-esteem. The saying is true that “hurt people” hurt people, but I also know that another saying is true, “Just because you’re in pain, doesn’t mean you have to be a pain.” She definitely tests my practice of Matthew 18:21-22.

One of her other characteristics is that she treats the job only as a paycheck. Now I completely agree that this can be a healthy mental approach to a job. It can often mean that you don’t take emotions home with you that pertain to work situations. However, her approach is that she will do as little as possible to earn her paycheck, and she will NOT do her job any better than she feels like doing it (i.e. She’s lazy.). Consequently, other people can’t do their jobs if she isn’t doing her job right. This particular quality affects me because I was trained to take over her old job. I have learned many things in a trial by fire because her training with me was skewed by how lazy she can be.

Recently, her laziness has begun to cause even more problems for three other employees and our supervisor in the department, and bless her heart, she seems clueless to why everyone stays mad at her. One of my other coworkers has worked with this lady for almost twenty years and has finally hit her limit of accepting mistakes. (I’m amazed it took twenty years!) They have now been completely silent with each other for two weeks, and I have to “do-si-do” back and forth between their offices to keep the peace. I have to be certain not to visit with one too long without visiting the other, or I find myself on the receiving end of the silent treatment. I often find myself in my office working while listening to sermons online so I don’t have to talk to either of them.

It is all part of the “working waltz” – the moves that keep the board balanced on a point so that it doesn’t tip too far one way or the other. Some people aren’t as sensitive to imbalance in the emotions around them, but I am so sensitive that it can ruin my day when things are off balance. Sometimes I just have to be away from the people who are quite out of balance emotionally themselves. As of right now, I just keep dancing because I care about my coworkers regardless of whether I agree with them or am irritated with them. Sadly, it is largely just this one coworker that ever throws things off balance.

I’m personally working on not being so affected by other people’s emotional swings, and I know I can’t control whether someone else is emotionally unpredictable. I also can’t control my coworker’s work quality, but I can control the quality of my work. I’ll keep on doing my job to the best of my ability because I don’t want to have a negative affect on others. I will take care of the things that I can and hope to be a good example for my coworker. It’s just proof that even at my age I’m always in progress, and I’m constantly practicing my figurative dancing skills.

 

What I’m reading right now: Cress by Marissa Meyer, Goliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio, The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren and Dr. Daniel Amen

Listening to right now: At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon

Book of the Bible I’m currently studying: I Chronicles (yes, all the begats – but there are some interesting nuggets of info in there as well)

Bringing Me Down

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” ~ Mason Cooley

Have you ever been reading a good book, but you recognize that it’s just bringing you down? I’ve been on a young adult fiction kick lately, but I can’t help but notice how depressing the content has been. Don’t get me wrong! The story lines are interesting, and the writing is good. I have every intention of recommending the same books to other readers, but I will issue the recommendation with a caution, “This series is great, but read it with a box of tissues or a cute puppy or kitten nearby because it will destroy you emotionally.”

I kept adding different young adult titles to my reading list, and I finally decided it was time to give them a chance…even if they do bring me down while I’m reading them. At present, I’m reading a standalone novel, and I’m working my way through two different series. They all have their own merits, but I highly recommend the tissues…and a puppy.

(Only a couple of days later…) The standalone novel is Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. In a nutshell, this is a fascinating retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin legend, and I do actually highly recommend it. This story manages to weave together the stories of five different families in a complex fairy tale. Initially, I wasn’t certain I wanted to even finish the book because it seemed so dark, but as the pieces fell into place, I was intrigued by the struggles involving love, hate, good, evil, pride, abandonment, racism, and so much more. This book wound up being such an exploration of issues that we are examining today! I would recommend this for older teens and adults.

The first series that I have been diving into is the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard. I definitely recommend keeping the tissues and puppy/kitten around when reading the Red Queen series. To sum it up, the world is divided between Silver-blooded rulers with special powers and Red-blooded servants who are constantly being sent to fight Silver wars. Unexpectedly, a Red is discovered with even more powerful skills than a Silver, and the world changes as they know it when it turns out that there are even more Reds with powers. I’m halfway through the series, and I feel like I have to complete it now because it has my attention. I won’t lie though that I sometimes read a while on it, and then I put it down and read something uplifting. I’m hoping it becomes a little more positive by the end, but at this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if it didn’t. Again this book made me contemplate serious moral questions such as, “When, if ever, should a few be killed to save the many?” and “What role does propaganda play in setting the course of national events?” I would recommend this series for older teens and adults with the understanding that there is a lot of death and destruction and some mild language.

The second series is the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. This series is set in a technologically advanced future after the world has suffered from a round of plague deaths. There is a population of people living on the Moon (Lunars) who are capable of visually deceiving people. The Lunar queen believes that the only heir is dead, but there are rumors saying otherwise. Meanwhile, there’s a unique cyborg teenage girl repairing droids and other electronics on Earth, and she’s just been asked to attend a ball. Unfortunately, her stepmother would rather she didn’t. Each book in this series is loosely based on a fairy tale character. The first is based on Cinderella, the second is based on Red Riding Hood, and the third is based on Rapunzel. These books have a serious bent, but they have some lighter material as well. I’ve just begun the third book in this series, and I’m looking forward to finishing the series. I recommend this series to teens and adults, and I compliment the author on the ability to tell a complex and fascinating young adult story without using any curse words. I was beginning to think that authors weren’t capable of writing fiction without those totally unnecessary ‘sentence enhancers.’ (That’s a Spongebob reference! I couldn’t resist!)

It feels good to write about my experiences, but it feels just as good to write about the awesome writing abilities of other people. I hope one of these books appeals to you, and even if it doesn’t, just give it a try to get outside your typical comfort zone.

 

What I’m reading right now: Cress by Marissa Meyer and Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Listening to right now: Divergent series by Veronica Roth

Books of the Bible I’m currently studying or reading: Titus, Revelation, I Chronicles