I often wonder, how does a person know when they’re an “adult”? Is there a feeling and you just know? Or do you go through an experience where you face trials and tribulations and you come out on the other side a full blown adult? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a ceremony that officially makes you an adult? There would be a specific time and place where you stand before God and all your peers in front of some qualified individual (possibly Morgan Freeman) who anoints you into adulthood.
Currently I find myself in limbo. It’s like that awful Britney Spears song “Not a girl not yet a woman”. Ok, terrible analogy but there is some truth behind it. From a tangible aspect, I am an adult. I pay taxes, pay bills, go to work, etc. Emotionally on the other hand is a different story. Whenever I am talking to an older adult, I always feel like a kid. Now this has nothing to do with the other person and how they are talking to me. It’s just a feeling that someone older and with more “authority” is talking to me.
Recently I had to assert my “adultness” to get a point across. There was a dispute with one of my findings at work which was being called into question. I then had to use my authority and my knowledge on the subject at hand to prove a point. Now as I was in the midst of the situation, I remember thinking to myself, “oh jeez, there’s no way they’re going to listen to some kid just out of college”. To my shock and chagrin, my point came across loud and clear and was respected. Why, because at that moment I realized that I am an adult and my peers see me that way as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t feel like the “real deal” by any means. There are still moments (quite a few) that I lean on my parents for emotional support. I know I’m spoiled to have 2 people in this world who give me the assurance that I don’t need to have all the answers at this stage in my life. They definitely bring me back to earth when I go on my “I’m not on the right path” tangents. I suppose that in then end, it is a process that everyone goes through at their own rate. It is most certainly not a “one size fits all” endeavor.
Working with people who kiss ass to climb the “corporate ladder” really grinds my gears. I had a coworker whose nose was so far up my supervisor’s derrière that it probably needed to be surgically removed at that point. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that a little schmoozing is necessary to gain favor with the higher ups but this dude took it to the next level.
For instance 2 people and myself had seniority on the team and we all had different styles that worked well with the company. Me being the young “altruistic” one (definition: young, arrogant, and ignorant) made a name for myself because I wasn’t trying to adhere to the “man”. I had “integrity” meaning I could look myself in the mirror at night knowing that my nose was poop free. Also, I was damn good at my job. (Again that young and arrogant thing comes into play).
One of my other colleagues and I would text play by play insults (picture Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaq giving commentary on the NBA finals.) during conference calls directed towards this individual. Now, I’m not knocking him as a human being. I’m sure he’s lovely. With that being said his “at any cost” attitude made him seem untrustworthy and self-serving. So finally at one point, I got so sick and tired of his “look at how awesome I’m being, Boss” ways and decided to give him a dose of his own medicine. (I’m sure this sounds vindictive but hey, I was/am young, I’m sure I’ll learn the error of my ways at some point).
Instead of getting annoyed at his blatant attempts to look better than the rest of us, I started playing his game. I would over communicate and give the team helpful pointers. The major difference between him and I is that my ability of perceiving others surpassed his. Instead of coming off as a self-absorbed douche, I looked like a mentor. In time, my boss started praising me and my ability to help the new members of the team learn and grow. I couldn’t care less about the praise, but my satisfaction was the blatant envy I could hear in his voice when our boss shot down his idea in favor of mine and all he could do was agree that it was a solid plan. To add insult to injury other members of the team would call me laughing about how obvious it was that he was pouting. It made my conference calls a lot brighter and more satisfying.
Now was what I did right? Debatable. Did it seem like a dick move? Absolutely. But in retrospect, the information I gave to my coworkers was coming from a good place and I really did want everyone to succeed. So I figured why not have a little fun at the resident brown noser’s expense? Plus it made my job that much more fun. In the end, if you can’t be ’em, join ’em.