Wednesday, 24 June 2009

How far are you willing to let it go?

Everyone I know has a job, and with jobs come colleagues. Colleagues are an odd thing when you think about it, you spend more time with them than anyone else, they see you at your best and at your worst, and yet they aren't your friends. They are not people you choose to spend time with, you may not even like them very much, but you are forced into this situation of almost cohabitation during work hours. They are not friends, they are not strangers they are somewhere on the middle.

So here's the thing, a colleague of mine is going through some crazy personal issues, they are emotionally in turmoil. Of this I am all aware having made them tea and listen to their tales of woe, and to their plight I am sympathetic. Being a good colleague I have soothed and listened, especially when they started being brought to task with their work. Ay there's the rub. Their level of work is beginning to be affected, and being aware of what he/she is going through, how far are you willing to let it go?

You have sympathised with him/her, and listened when she needed you to but now he/she is dropping the ball with things and it's affecting you and your work, what now? Should you continue to let is go and hope that when he/she feels better things will improve? In other words behave like a friend. Or haul their ass over the coals until they bucks their ideas up? Neither options are great, either you are a doormat or the office bitch, not a persona you want to wear during office hours.

So is there a happy medium? Is it possible to be both a caring colleague and a whistle blower? What if the behaviour persists? It's not going to get better by itself, so biding your time is out, but is the answer really adding fuel to the fire that is already burning? What if you can't help yourself? I pride myself on doing a good job, when I am at work, my head is at work, and unfortunately this person's seems to be somewhere else. Is it acceptable for someone to bring down the team, like a lame doe at the back of the herd, or should the fat be trimmed?

Maybe it's kinder, as pandering to their needs doesn't seem to have helped, maybe some tough love is in order. I guess the big question is when someone's capability is being called into question, should their personal hardships be taken into account? If you look at their work with an ice cold eye and it doesn't come up to scratch, if you asses their recent abilities and find that they are not capable, then surely there's your answer. As harsh as it sound but should we really be taking into account people's personal issues when we are look at their ability to do the job?

Simple questions, are they performing to the standard required? No, but their dog died/brother is sick/husband left them... Here's the tricky bit, how much of their personal life should you be taking into account? If they are unable to perform the job that they are contracted to do then they are not capable. So in a review of their capabilities, the answer is no.

Harsh but true. One can always hope, though, maybe they will get the message and leave their personal stuff at home when they come to work, or maybe getting the boot is what they need. Yes, one can always hope for a happy ending, but London life, I find, is not always like that.

Monday, 1 June 2009

First Impressions

I had an interesting debate the other day that got me to thinking about first impressions and snap judgments, more specifically, the initial attraction nor non attraction when meeting someone for the first time.

Scientists and Sociological experts tell us that we make decisions about people within the first ten seconds, it's all to do with hormones and body language. It seems we are essentially animals at heart and it’s all about the way we smell and react to each other. That aside, our brains are also furiously working away taking in the hair, the face, the body, the clothes and that's all before the opening line. I have a friend who can scan the room and decided within seconds if she is interested in anyone in it, she usually mentally discards the entire room based on their looks and appearance (she is stunning so she gets away with only dating the crème de la crème), the result is quick and efficient, no lengthy decision process, a once over and she has a definite yes or no and I don't think she has ever wavered from her original assessment. She used to say that looks and sexual attraction came first with her and if she didn't immediately fancy someone, and by fancy I mean someone she wouldn't be adverse to getting down and dirty with, then they would never be anymore than a friend to her. The personality and emotional feeling come second, it would seem. They had to be Hot first, then if they were nice/sweet/funny it was a bonus and she would then proceed entertain the idea of going out with them (again, she really is that beautiful).

The conversation I had the other day was pretty much along the same lines, he stated that in every relationship you had to find your partner physically attractive in order for it to work, and it would seem that this is another area where I am in the minority! I agree that there has to be an attraction, but why does it have to be physical? Instead of ten second, I usually give people about ten minutes, usually by then I can tell if I am kinda interested or not. Now don't get me wrong I am no saint, if a man repulses me then that's that, I'm not doing charity here. I have, although, often found myself noticing a guy has a great smile once I know that he is really funny, or thinking he has great hair if I know we have something in common. If a man is beautiful and strolls up and bores me to tears I won't be attracted to him, no matter how pretty he is. Where as if an average looking man makes me cry with laughter than I will probably be making him breakfast later...

So here lies my point is attraction purely physical? Is it possible to find yourself truly attracted to a person when you initial reacting to just his looks wasn't as positive as when you left? Does it have to be instant? Or should I be looking for that love at first sight, stomach flipping sensation because frankly, I'm not sure I believe in that. If by the end of an evening/date/meeting you think that you have met someone smart/funny/sexy should you be wary if you did not immediately think he was better looking than Brad Pitt? And what about if you've know them a long time? I can recall a gentleman that when I first met him thought he was nothing special, I even went so far as to think his reputation as a Love Lothario was largely exaggerated, needless to say my opinion changed, but the question is should it have? Say it had turned into a relationship (which it didn’t) would it have eventually become stale and boring because I wasn’t attracted to him in a purely physical manner? Or would it have been better as his Charm and Wit would continue to impress me even when his beer swilling habits gave him a gut and he could barely see his equipment let alone use it efficiently? Who knows!

One more thing, what if you’re no Angelina yourself? Should you still be holding out for Brad? Or should you have more realistic targets? If your willing to settle for nothing less than a Greek God, what happened when the God wants a Goddess and not a pasty HR Administrator, what then? Alcohol and a punctured condom? If it’s all the same with you, I will stick to my way; I may not get Zeus, thunder god of my bedroom, but at least I won’t have to worry about my straighteners shorting out.