By Isabelle Laureta
My concern is a bit superficial and I am not sure if you will notice this one. I am a new hire in our office and so far, I am finding my work as something that I know I will love. Except for one thing—our big boss is so annoying. It’s not that he is incompetent or whatever, but my major concern about him is that he picks his teeth during meetings. Well, not just during meetings. He does it when there seems to be a need. Imagine going to an after lunch meeting, discussing strategies you have prepared really hard for, and then realizing that the attention of your boss is divided between you and the lunch he had stuck in his teeth. I don’t want to be rude and intrusive, him being in his 50s and all, but I somehow take it personally because it feels like he does not respect us enough not to do that in front of me and my colleagues.
I just spent a whole minute laughing because I just had a mental picture of what your meetings usually look like. The funny (and sometimes endearing, sometimes annoying) thing about some people from the older generation is that they don’t give a damn any more. Many of them feel like, at their age, they’ve got nothing to lose. They have stable jobs, a family, and a certain level of security within themselves that they become these untouchable beings we can only aspire to be. In a way, (when they’re not busy being disgusting), they have the makings of a spirit animal. I would literally give anything to not care about every single petty thing like what people might think of me, or will a spoonful of rice make me fat, or why isn’t he replying to my texts, it’s already been three minutes?
That being said, though, I think your boss is being way out of line. Your concern may be ridiculous and even superficial for some, but if it bothers you enough to take a minute of your day to write to me about it, then it must mean it’s something that should be addressed, even, at the very least, at your level. I’m sure you’ve considered and attempted to talk to your boss and colleagues respectfully about this (which, by the way, is a great move because I’m all for demanding the kind of respect that we deserve even as subordinates). So when that’s taken care of, your next move would have to be changing the way you see stuff like this in your life.
I’m not saying tolerate disgusting and unprofessional behavior. What I’m saying is, in this life, we’re constantly being put in inconvenient situations and, sometimes, we are left with no other choice but to suck it up, especially when we think the end game is worth it. You say you love your job and I’m assuming it’s something you can see yourself doing for a long time, so it’s probably safe to say that it’s worth going through a huge deal of inconvenience for, even if it means seeing your boss perform dental hygiene in front of you.
Think about this for a second: How many hours in a day do you get to see your boss do the horrifying deed? Now, compare that to the hours of the day you get to enjoy peace with him out of your sight. How many hours in a day do you get to happily sit in the privacy of your own desk, doing the job you love doing? How many hours in a day do you feel lucky enough to have landed this job you feel so passionately about? I know it’s so easy to fall into the negative things, but isn’t it amazing how little your boss’ barbaric manners matter when you think about how much you love and care about this job?
Back in college I had to take an elective course about Philippine wildlife. Why I chose it as one of my electives, I have no idea even to this day. I guess I thought it would be fun, but I was probably just drunk. Anyway, I dreaded going to that class. Lizards scare and disgust me, and all we did in that course was measure dead exotic lizards’ body parts. We had a field trip in a secluded forest. It was a disaster and I almost died. Long story short, it was the worst semester of my college life. But I knew it was something I had to endure, because not doing so would mean I wouldn’t get to enjoy all the other fun and fulfilling things I could get out of my college life—like graduating, making my parents proud, finding a decent job, and all the fun things that come in between.
You see, with most things in life, like love, family, and school, there are certain sacrifices we have to make and disgusting things we have to endure so we can enjoy the best that it can offer. Weirdly enough, there’s a certain kind of peace in accepting the things that are beyond our control. I was classmates with one of my closest friends in that wildlife course. We used to always drag our feet to class together, but toward the end we’d just laugh at what we got ourselves into. It was annoying, but now it’s just absurd. And it’s amazing how that arc can change your perspective and attitude toward seemingly unacceptable stuff. We still talk about it to this day, and it’s still one of the things that never fail to make me laugh.
So it’s your choice. Are you going to obsess about it, or are you going to do yourself a favor, suck it up, and laugh it out?
Ask me your deepest, weirdest, darkest questions! I’m no expert at anything and I don’t have it all figured out either (because, honestly, who does?), but let me at least try. Send them over to firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s make sense of this crazy millennial life together! <3
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