As I continued my journey of meeting people in real life, I was reminded just how messy life can be for some people. Even though I am quickly approaching 30 trips around our Sun, I keep my life very simple in many regards. My introverted personality and my core values based on my Faith keep me pretty well protected from some of the normal drama that enters people’s lives. I am mostly concerned with what is considered unsafe, as judging others is not my job, especially as a Christian. You cannot change someone’s life habits in a day and sometimes not at all, but I refuse to be a Bible-thumper. That is not the way I reach out to others.
These co-workers were in what I call “complicated relationships” with their current and previous connections. Sometimes there are children involved and sometimes there are houses involved. The evening of Labor Day, I went out with work friends from the evening shift. One person in particular kept ordering drinks as if they were going to run out. This was the first time that I had been out with someone that was purposefully drinking to hide from the world. This is my interpretation based on her detailed description of her life. The drinking in itself is not my worry, but the fact that she drove herself home. With all the options around her in this populated area, she drove to this location with the intention to drink plenty and then drive herself home. I’m not sure why this surprised me, but it did.
One of my co-workers is going through a divorce that has provided her the opportunity to relax her behavioral standards. She was also happy to share her judgements of the people around her including the unprofessional behavior of a coworker. I later found out that the behavior is somewhat reactionary to her encouragements. It reminded me of a drama on TV or the crude underbelly of the party life. When I found out that both of these people were over 40 years old, I was taken aback. After all that life experience, they were still acting like teenagers. However, if this type of interaction is not discouraged, or even worse, celebrated, how would they know any different? I’ll be the first to admit that I am nowhere near perfect, but I have a goal for my overall life that does not include intentional immature or destructive practices. I just feel sad for these people that are trying desperately searching for something and cannot seem to find it. Another series of stories from a different coworker revealed the physical and mental horrors that would shake even the most vigilant authorities.
When speaking about work, these same people only seem to complain about the working conditions and the lack of trust from Leadership. My observations show that the work ethic might be questionable and thus affecting their mindset of the workplace. What I found most interesting is the difference with the other parts of the same team. This “other half” are keeping an upbeat mindset that encourages growth and development. It reminds me of when I had to stop hanging out with the complainers in high school and even college. My conclusion was that I could work with the negative people, but participating in social gatherings together would not be likely.
The week continued with my shadowing in various sections of this large company. I enjoyed learning all the different moving parts that make the Company run pretty smoothly. New positions and systems are being created constantly to ensure the service level for our customers is increasing to match our competitors. I was able to observe a person in the exact position that I had just applied for recently, which was rewarding. I was able to get an idea of what the job would entail. I am excited for the opportunity to move into something different within the same company.
My interactions with some other co-workers from other parts of the company were much more positive compared to some of my earlier outings. I was able to discuss my writing and even our shared love of creating music, writing songs, and first cars. I will point out there was alcohol during this dinner as well, but the evening was completely different. I think this just shows that alcohol can emphasize the ingrained habits of the person in some cases (I am no expert, however).
To ensure that I had a full understanding of the workplace and my virtual team, I decided to say hello to the morning team. They were all very nice in their different ways. One of the newer ones to the team speaks three languages fluently and has a drive for her work that encourages me. The one thing I notice from all my co-workers is how little they know about Florida, in general. That is probably fair, as I don’t know a lot about Arizona. Not everyone is able to get out and travel across the country. I am quickly reminded how fortunate I am to have a way to visit a new location before moving there. Additionally, I was able to speak with my other work friend that was present during that “less than encouraging” evening. If you separate her from the others, her true personality shines through. I think we are all guilty of acting differently around certain people. I have done my best over the years to make my personality differences less jarring and more aligned. I am glad I stuck around to speak with her separately. I really had the wrong impression of her after that first night as the first co-worker was drinking and spouting off absurdities the rest of the night. Also, it is good to have breaks in the conversation to process what was just said. Some people are so concerned with filling the silence, there is not a moment to breathe.
Another positive experience was meeting the owner of the house I was renting. She was a delightful person that was organized and well dressed. The house was an obvious reflection of her personality. I had not met her on my arrival, so I was happy to get a chance before I had to leave.
That evening, I arrived to meet the third renter of the magnificent house. He and the English women had been living in the house for the whole summer. They were both doing internships before they finished their degrees. She was studying law for death-row cases in the U.S. and he was studying computer science and hardware design at Intel. His friend from California was present and we had a great time talking about video games, future career plans, sports, and music. I was proud of myself as I had successfully completed “guy talk” while keeping the conversation away from crude topics. This was a triumph for me as I am a bit out of practice with this type of interaction and that maturity prevailed when three young men are speaking.