Friday, March 12, 2010

Speaking Your Mind, Unedited

*The following post contains mild profanity.

I used to work with a woman named Mary.  I had been working in the department for about a year when one of my coworkers transferred to a new position and Mary was hired.  She was pretentious with a capital P.  From her very first day on the job, I could see that we weren't going to be best buds.

Mary was from out of state and made it clear that Michigan did not suit her.  The weather was not to her liking; it was always too hot or too cold.  She was from a state where snow was uncommon, so she complained endlessly about having to drive on snow covered roads.  Just a dusting would have closed roads and businesses in her home state, she always told us.

The way we talked bothered Mary, too.  She was always questioning our pronunciation of words and the expressions we used.  It's common, around here, to refer to any city north of mid-state as "up north".  If you said you were going "up north" for the weekend, she would say "You live in Michigan, how much farther north can you get?"

She was not beyond blatant insults, either.  She once wondered aloud why anyone would think that pink and red were colors that looked good together.  I was wearing a blouse with pink and red print that day.  Yeah, she was fun like that.

All of the women in the office were in our early twenties, so break time conversation usually centered around dates, boyfriends and plans for the weekend.  Mary, though, talked mainly about her parents.  She wanted to make sure that you knew her parents house was bigger, newer and more expensive than yours.  Her dad had a more important job that yours did.  His car was nicer, newer, bigger, blah, blah, blah.  She would ask you questions just so she could top your answer.  It was, like I said, pretentious.  We often rolled our eyes at one another while she was talking.

I think it would be accurate to say that I'm generally a non-confrontational person.  I'm only human, though, and I have my limits.  One day, during a particularly grandiose breaktime story, I could take it no longer.  She was going on about her father, once again, and I just snapped.  "It must be great to be your dad," I said.  "I'll bet his shit doesn't even smell."  She got up without saying a word and walked out of the office while my coworkers erupted in laughter.

Moments later, my boss called me into her office.  I was pretty sure she had heard my remark and that I was going to get chewed out, written up or fired.  I didn't know if what I had said constituted some sort of harrassment, or if insulting a coworker's father violated company policy.  When I walked in, she told me to shut the door and have a seat.  "That was the funniest thing I ever heard," she said.  "It's about time someone put that girl in her place.  Do you know that on her first day here she told me she wanted my job and would do whatever it took to get it?"

Needless to say, I did not get chewed out or written up and I didn't lose my job.  Mary didn't speak to me for a few days after that (which was fine by me) and eventually toned down her stories.  She worked for the company for another six months or so, and then quit after she got married.  She told us that she had a much better job lined up where she would be making twice as much money.  At her father's company.


It's not often that I speak my mind, unedited.  Have you ever had a similar experience?



Pearl said...

Very nice. :-) I'm assuming that Michigan and Minnesota are much alike in our non-confrontational attitudes, so for you to say what you did took a lot of courage. :-)

I find that the older I get, the easier it is for me to say what I think or to walk away from people/situations I don't like.

Here's to aging!


Lissaloo said...

Good for you! I never do, I am such a chicken :)

Cameron said...

I definitely have had uncensored comments, but that is a pretty good one!!!! sounds like it was a long time coming for her!
have a great w/end!!!

5thsister said...

I think we've all had a Mary or two in our lives! Great post.

Chicago Mom said...

I loved this post! I've had one or two of those confrontational moments, but your story is the best. I love that your boss was so cool about it too.
I never would have thought about why a person might act like that in my 20's, but now at pushing 40 it makes me think - she must have been a very unhappy person. Still, I'm glad you put her in her place! :)

lisleman said...

we get to meet and work with all kinds.
She reminds of the SNL character
story topper

I wonder what she had to say about you after you set her straight.

lisleman said...

just checked that link I gave you. Here's the fixed version
story topper


Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

Haha, good for you!

I, unfortunately, have diarrhea of the mouth so I blurt stuff out ALL THE TIME. It's not pretty.

Kimberly said...

I usually speak my mind, but that was one fun story.

There are a lot of Marys out there. Too bad they are not all hearing a little of what they need to hear!

Clarity said...

I admire you for boldness. Though I must admit, Mary must be very insecure.

Joanna Jenkins said...

People like Mary are soooo annoying! I hope she learned her lesson, otherwise she's going to be a lonely worker-- even at Daddy's company.


Happy weekend, Willoughby.

sanjeet said...

that is a pretty good one!!!! sounds like it was a long time coming for her!
have a great w/end!!!

Work From Home

Betty said...

You're soo bold.!Good for you!
Have a great weekend!
Betty xx

Tins and Treasures said...

Yes, every once in a while, there is someone like that at work. Most of the time, I just walk away...but there are certain comments that are just too much to take and you have to say something. Good for you!

Happy Weekend ~Natalie

Kellyansapansa said...

Hey there - I'm your newest follower. I found you over at I Blog Your Profile.

Great post - I look forward to reading more!

Raoulysgirl said...

Are you sure she had graduated high school yet? Because she sounds like a child! By early twenties, she should have been beyond such "my family is better than yours" behavior!

When I was pregnant with Tacha, we lived (and worked) in Kansas City...probably THE most culturally diverse area in Missouri. I worked for as a trainer for a very large, worldwide bank (whose initials are BofA). One of the girls that I was training told me that she couldn't believe that I was choosing to have a child, not only out of wedlock, but with a Mexican.

Needless to say, we did not have a pleasant work relationship.

Christine Forest, M.D. said...

Not only you spoke your mind but you were extremely effective. Bravo! You are a true inspiration.

Betty said...

Just passing by to say hi!and sending hugs and love your way!

Cynthia@RunningWithLetters said...

I've known a Mary or two in my time. Good story.

Just wanted to check in to see what you were up to. I've gotten a little behind in my blog reading lately...

Deidra said...

I've known Mary.
And - sad but true - I've been Mary.

Just stopping by to say hi. I've missed reading your blog!

Holly said...

I love that you said that!!!! I know a few people like that still...some are friends, some not...I treat them differently depending on their friend status. When I lived and worked in LA I knew a lot of people and encountered numerous people who would say they know so and so (usually someone famous or semi-famous) or that they did something that was really "too much"...drove me nuts.

The girl with the flour in her hair said... it. Good for you! I've noticed that the older I get the less concerned I've become with the things I say. I've said some unwarranted things to my MIL's boyfriend that 10 years ago I never would have said. I would have stewed in silence. It feels a lot better to let it go!