The Haught guide to people who love drama
A little while ago a friend thought one of my articles was a pointed reference to his own behaviour.
This was just his own giant ego and tendency towards solipsism playing tricks with his very small mind. What a neurotic clown he was for making such an assumption; I would never besmirch his already grease-spattered reputation in print.
It got me thinking about how easily a misunderstanding can lead to offence and how convenient that can be for some, especially in the workplace.
The 21st century office is like a pitch full of footballers, many of them unscrupulous and crafty, waiting for the lightest tap on the ankle or brush on the shoulder, at which point, it begins!
The “it” is drama, and they begin by going down in a writhing, wailing heap.
“EHHHHHHH!” they bellow. “My professional integrity! Get the stretcher!”
It’s up to you to plead your case to the ref (read: the manager).
“No, no, no, no!” you shout, palms up, shoulders high. “I barely touched his professional integrity! I said I wasn’t a huge fan of the term “moving forward” generally. I didn’t say I disliked his use of it in particular.”
For every Adam Goodes who withstands months of absurd abuse before rightfully taking a week off, there’s a Garth from Finance waiting for first chance to introduce unnecessary drama into his life.
Drama is easier than work and so, for the Garths of this world, misunderstandings that might lead to effrontery are an entirely agreeable prospect.
As a sensible, hard-working person, the best thing you can do is keep your entendres single, your criticism ultra-specific and your head down.
Or just defame like it’s going out of fashion – whatever works for you.
An edited version of this article first appeared in the MyCareer section of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.
You can read the column – Benign to Five – in those papers every Saturday, and if you miss it, you can look it up online in the Workplace section of The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, WAToday and Brisbane Times. (I now wankishly call myself a “syndicated columnist” on my CV.)