New cultures bring new challenges. New environments bring different perspectives.
Thus, I have to respond differently. I have challenges with a co-worker, a couple co-workers actually, but I can let most crap slide. However, one of my triggers is passive-agressive behavior. I dealt with it enough when I was younger - and I tend to be more direct.
One of my toughest challenges is what I expect out of myself. It's no secret that I do a lot. My motto is 'To be Idle is akin to Death'. But, what may be unknown is that much of what I push myself to do is because of a lack of confidence. I've been told one of my most attractive qualities is my confidence. The twisty part is that I don't feel I have a lot of it. I say twisty, because it's not the quivering, overwhelmed, 'oh dear what do I do?' lack of confidence.
It's much more insidious. A regrettable circumstance is that I was bullied when I was younger. Until the 7th grade I was a big weenie. Until I left home at 15, I was a walking carpet. My step-dads (yes, 2) were broken, self-destructive substance abusers. Abusive in their own way - either physically through violence and the threat of it, or emotionally. In some ways, leaving home at 15 made me more mature in some ways, and retarded my growth in others. But, what is certain is that I always thought most people are better at doing things than I.
When you're told you're a screw up - consistently - you tend to approach things in that way. This can be liberating; if you figure you'll screw it up - you have a lot of liberty to try new things. If that doesn't make sense, that's ok - it makes sense in my head. So, I see a shiny new thing to try, be it technology, art, crafting, parenting, relationships, whatever; I'm down to give it a shot. My knight makes the parallel to Tom Sawyer; It's not every day you get to learn how metal wall supports get put together, right?
It's understandable how some people can see my willingness to try and do anything as confidence. But, again, we're going with twisty here. Along with trying anything, and my capacity for addiction comes an all-or-nothing attitude. Invest in it, or move on to something worth investing in. Wasting time is not acceptable, to be idle is akin to death.
You see, I spent the first half of my life not accomplishing anything, out of spite for my fellow man. I've got catching up to do.
With a 'let's kick some ass' attitude and a willingness to do it all, comes high-expectations from myself. Almost to a neurotic level. Sometimes, I regret having to 'relax'. Human limitations are for suckers - right? I keep pushing myself farther - In all things: parenting, artistry, understanding of technology, career, Philosophical education, dicipline of consumption and most recently, physical ability and fighting prowess.
Enter the challenge. I have difficulty understanding others and their lack of ambition. It's sometime brings out an anxiety in me - a frustration - to be involved in making and doing, and striving to improve in any way, and encounter someone that does just enough to get by. Especially at work. When I got approached about working here at SLAC, I couldn't believe it at first. Wasn't I just a scrub programmer working at a local web agency? How'd they find me? As I continued through the process of interviewing and being hired, my expectations built.
I was somewhat intimidated by the level of professionals I'd encounter, and I resolved to become even better and faster at what it is that they hired me to do. Granted, my perspective, my estimation of competancies was off. It's always better to overestimate, to attribute a higher level of ability to others until you're shown otherwise. Think and speak the best of someone until you have evidence to the contrary.
Enter the second challenge. If you overestimate competancies, and are then let down, the proper response is to be encouraging and try and fill the gaps. Teach, mentor, go the extra mile to get them to be better. It is regretable that you can only get so far with that approach. What I struggle with, is at what point do I just give up and call it what it is, a lost cause? I think sometimes, a failing of mine is the desire to simply walk away from the person. I am responsible only for what I and my children do.
I think back to those in my life that didn't throw their hands up, that dug in and stuck with me. I'm here now, partially because of that. But, do I afford that level of dedication to a co-worker? There are different perspectives. This is just a job, I can leave here and be employed tomorrow. My LinkedIn is filled with recruiters jobbothering me. Another perspective is that I want to cultivate my temperance, develop a positive reputation with respects to professional repuation and integrity. That can't happen if I let my frustration lead me around.
So, that is the quandry. I push hard to get somewhere, becuse the journey is the point. When others don't do so it frustrates me. Me best approach to dealing with that frustration still isn't clear. My weakness is in thinking others want to be better, to excel, to go beyond; my challenge is how to respond.