You are in a hurry straddling between your team members who are busy working towards a deadline. A colleague emerges out of nowhere, directly in front of you. You have not seen this colleague for a long time. The colleague inquires. "Hi..How are things?" How would you react? If you have already played this scenario in your mind, let me add a couple of more details. The colleague belongs to the opposite sex. Not a head turner but this colleague is flashing one of the warmest and the most genuine smile while posing the question. What will be your reaction?
I am not the "you" in the above incident. Neither am I the colleague. If you thought I was one of the two, then you are reading my posts for the first time. I am always the person lurking in the background, scouting for the next blog post. I am never the hero. I am the innocent bystander. In this silent role, I was shocked by the reaction the "you." The "you" in question replied with a smirk. "Rahu is having a fabulous time." If you are confused about Rahu, I am no expert in Vedic mumbo jumbo. But the "you" was mentioning the times weren't right because of the strange alignment of stars. I guessed as much. That brings me to the question of the day. Do we have to negative and sarcastic at work?
When someone is asking your well being in an earnest way, what is the need to reply in the negative? There is always a gentler way of sharing bad news. Aren't we supposed to be restraint? Sadly, when people tend to be negative, they also tend to be sarcastic. Sarcasm is a very useful tool in creating a funny situation in literature. But I don't think it has helped much in a workplace or a relationship. What do I know? I have very poor life experience. Bingo! That was sarcasm. Wasn't it? Recently, a friend was a target of sarcasm.
The friend was visiting another city on business. There were two offices in the city, and my friend was going to one of them while his boss was working in an another office. So he emailed his boss. "How long will you be there?" My friend wanted to know his boss's schedule to visit him for a face to face meeting. Pat comes the reply. "As long as it takes." My friend was confused. What does this mean? 4 pm, 5 pm or 9 pm. Was the boss angry at him? He struggled with these concerns for a long time before newer problems caught up with him.
The negativity and the sarcasm affect us. Even the most pleasant persons are affected in the long run. I know many individuals who have crossed over to the dark side. A friend who was the most pleasant person until recent times is an example. He was typing away on his laptop when his boss turned up. He refused to look up when finally the boss caved in. "How are things shaping up?". The friend looked up and stared for a few seconds before he replied. "As good as it gets." He then continued typing. The boss was baffled. He asked with nervous laughter. "What does that mean?"
In case you are worried, my friend still has a job.
Photo Courtesy: Peter Forret