Call and answer

We had a work meeting the other week, one separate from the many meetings we have over the course of days at the office. I wasn’t really looking forward to it- there had been some friction at the branch of late, and there was some desire from management to bring it out into the open. As someone who’d felt that tension peripherally, I was wary of that line of thinking, and wondered if it would portend positive things, or just poison a stressful atmosphere even more.

I was a little surprised to find that the meeting was actually productive, and there were some startling admissions, that left more than a few of us humbled. I’m in the process of re-evaluating my own methods and goals, which I think is a positive thing. I don’t want to be stagnant in my work, or my work ethic. On the whole, I enjoy what I do- stress and challenges are a part of it from time to time, but without that, we don’t grow. And I’ve grown a ton in this job.

I’m not a good communicator, and work has borne that out on several occasions- not just during that meeting, but in learning my new position and occasionally tripping on a tendency to get caught up in my own thoughts. One of the challenges has been opening up more, not just with interacting with my co-workers (I’m a laugh riot), but in asking for things that I need to get done, or support I need from co-workers and supervisors as I continue to learn my job.

It wasn’t just in the context of work that the meeting brought some clarity. I found a lot to be learned about my life situation as well. As well as evaluating my work, I’m constantly analyzing my own relationships (another downside of being trapped in my own head), be they friends, family or others. Some relationships where I’ve been trying to open up and be more honest, some where I’ve struggled with a lack of communication, and others where I’m trying to make sense of what’s being communicated to me.

I’m not so thick as to ignore the irony of someone as introspective as me deciding that communication is important, even though it’s not that simple. It’s not just communicating honestly, and out of respect for the other person, but creating an environment where someone can do the same with you without fear of reprisal. I think most of the time, when we bite our tongues and don’t say something, it’s out of fear. The truth might hurt on occasion, but as someone who tends to over-analyze silence, I can say honestly that it beats the tar out of lying, or saying nothing at all.

At the meeting, when I thought about what others had said, and how it applied to me, it stung some. My instinctive reaction in some cases was irritation, even as I responded or started to stew with it in my own mind. That irritation is natural, but it wasn’t rational when I thought it through- they were right. In that meeting, we were all given the chance to speak, and it came off much better than I’d anticipated it would. At the end, we left drained from the effort, but optimistic. We’d said what was needed to be said, and promised to improve.

As for the rest… well, we’ll see. Opening up is a constant effort for me, and I’ll have to learn not to make too much or too little out of what people might (or might not) say.

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