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Co-workers and keeping a Buddha mind

edited April 2006 in Buddhism Today
It's been awhile since I've posted so excuse me first off if I'm a little rusty! Mike's been posting and suggested that I post this issue that I'm currently having at work.

I have a co-worker that is constantly asking me to do things at work that have absolutely nothing at all to do with our job, ex. finding concert tickets online, untangling her little girls necklaces, doing research for a project that only she's involved in (nothing work related) and so on. I am constantly doing things for her that are work related (cause she's really not comfortable with the computer and admits it) like helping her open files, add attachments to emails and help with searching the web. I don't mind those things since they are relevant to what we do, but the other things are simply not important. I've brought it to my boss' attention and told him that when I first started I was less busy than I am now (6 mo. ago) and I was able to do more of those things for her but now I really don't have the time to do these things and while I want to be helpful I just can't stop what I'm doing and heed her call. He totally understood and told me that the next time she asked me to do these things to simply tell her that I don't have the time and to see him if she needed. This is great advice I know, but when she just drops a bag of tangled necklaces on my desk and tells me "she has a project she needs my help with", what am I supposed to say? I don't like not helping people; however, I also don't like having my kindness being taking for granted. I told Mike that I could just take it as a compliment, that she would only ask me to do these things, but it simply doesn't feel that way. Why wouldn't she ask anybody else in the office to do these things for her? I'm not her personal assistant so why appoint me to these tasks?

If anyone has any advice or words on this I would greatly appreciate them.
-Dawn:-/

Comments

  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited April 2006
    I think there is a difference between helping people and just being used by lazy people.

    Are you going to start wiping her butt next?

    I know that sounds cold - but I feel that you're being taken advantage of.

    Do you consider being helped just using people to do all of your dirty work or things that you just don't want to be bothered with?

    I don't think you should do it with animosity - but you can clearly see what is work-relevant and what is not. Even helping with emails and attachments - it isn't rocket science to click on Insert/File and then select a file to attach to an email.

    Don't be used, deary. Unless you like being used.

    -bf
  • edited April 2006
    That's a tough one. I know how you feel, I hate saying no to people as well. However, if it's starting to effect your work then you did the right thing by telling your boss.
    Next time she tries to take advantage of your good nature (and taking advantage is exactly what she's doing), just say that you are too busy at that moment and would it be possible to ask someone else for some help.
    You're not lying to her, and you're not being at all nasty either. You're just letting her know that you don't have time to help her out with her "projects".
  • edited April 2006
    Oops, BF got there before me!
  • edited April 2006
    Well Mike has definitely agreed with you both!!

    I will try my best to tell her how I feel without offending her. But it is such a small office so I do worry about that, but I think the most important thing is that I enjoy coming to work and knowing that I'm doing what is right for me. :)
    And thank you for the comments.
    -Dawn
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited April 2006
    Well Mike has definitely agreed with you both!!

    I will try my best to tell her how I feel without offending her. But it is such a small office so I do worry about that, but I think the most important thing is that I enjoy coming to work and knowing that I'm doing what is right for me. :)
    And thank you for the comments.
    -Dawn

    Dawn,

    My comments were not meant to make you think, "I will go into the office tomorrow and tear her a new one."

    finis.

    Using compassion, understanding and kindness are first and foremost techniques we should use when dealing with others and ourselves.

    -bf
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited April 2006
    Dawn, I just wanted to add a little something. It's pretty clear that you're being taken advantage of by this woman. She doesn't ask anyone else in the office for help with her little "projects" because she knows you will say yes when she asks. She's simply taking the easiest path, the one with no resistance, and it's time you resisted.

    The most important thing is not only doing what is right for you but also treating yourself with the same dignity and respect with which you treat others. You deserve your own respect as much as anyone else in the world. You're selling yourself short and unfortunately you have taught this woman to do the same. If you ever watch Dr. Phil you've probably heard him say "We teach people how to treat us." That's what's happened in this case.

    I understand your wish to avoid confrontation in your small office and I can see why that could be a concern. But the best way to avoid difficult or uncomfortable situations is to declare clearly what your boundaries are and stick to them. Good fences make good neighbours for a reason. You're going to have to put your foot down and re-teach this woman how to treat you because you deserve to be treated with respect, consideration and dignity, don't you?

    Brigid
  • XraymanXrayman Veteran
    edited April 2006
    I'd smack her upside her head, biatch!-she needs to talk to the hand.

    regards
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited April 2006
    XRaaaayyyyyy!!!

    That's not "keeping a Buddha mind"!!

    Silly...

    Brigid
  • edited April 2006
    buddhafoot wrote:
    Dawn,

    My comments were not meant to make you think, "I will go into the office tomorrow and tear her a new one."

    finis.

    Using compassion, understanding and kindness are first and foremost techniques we should use when dealing with others and ourselves.

    -bf

    BF, I hope you don't think that's what I meant when I posted previously. I by no means would be that brash with anyone. I try to keep in mind when someone bothers me the quote "If you see yourself in others, than whom can you harm." Most of the time that keeps me in check.

    Brigid you are very right and thank you very much for your words. I've heard the saying before that "you teach others how to treat you" but I've never thought about applying it to this situation.

    I've talked about it with Mike some more and I've basically decided that if I don't stand up for myself than I better get used to just dealing with it and that couldn't possibly go very good for me or anyone else. She may not even know that what she's doing is offensive to me and the only way that she will know is if I tell her in a very compassionate way.

    I appreciate everyone's words and it has helped me very much to rethink the situation and see it with different views.

    Xrayman, I do feel that way from time to time though!!!

    Thank you again.
    -Dawn
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited April 2006
    Hi, Dawn.

    That sounds very wise indeed. I think you're right when you say that she may not even know her actions are bothersome to you. I know I've been unconsciously selfish in the past and I always felt that I'd rather be called on it then be allowed to continue behaving selfishly. So I agree wholeheartedly that by letting her know how you feel you are actually doing her and yourself a favor, rather than letting it continue.

    Isn't it great how we can talk things through here with each other and get each other's perspectives before acting in our lives? It's so cool. It's like a Buddhist behavioral think tank! LOL!

    Let us know how it goes. And if she gives you any trouble I'm sure Xrayman would be delighted to step in and set her straight for you, so to speak.

    Regards,
    Brigid
  • edited April 2006
    I'm attending Intro to Buddhism classes at my local monastery, and last weekend the topic of exactly what it means to harm someone and how far we should go to help came up. Our discussion leader told us that one of her teachers told her that we "shouldn't let people s**t on our heads". We all laughed (it's really funny imagining a Tibetan monk saying that) and then someone asked if he really used that terminology, and our discussion leader confirmed that he had.

    Anyway, we basically shouldn't allow ourselves to be doormats. Tell this woman directly, but kindly, and keep going to your boss if she continues to bother you with piddly non-work projects.
  • edited April 2006
    Ratty wrote:
    Our discussion leader told us that one of her teachers told her that we "shouldn't let people s**t on our heads".


    :D
  • XraymanXrayman Veteran
    edited April 2006
    Okay all-love your work/posts and so on.

    Here's my take on the situo.

    A little history lesson (my dear friend Brigid loves those).

    I spent the first 16 years of my life under the overprotective/strict and dare I say, hypocritical gaze of my parents, told what to do, how to feel and be generally put-down.
    I Joined the military and was stuck there for 9 years (that was compulsory-long story..)
    continually was in the position of "do what I say-asshole"-again treated like sh**.

    Got employed from one job to the next over the next 18 years-got married to a great woman during this time (in 1990-still married). parents dislike her and her/mine offspring -another long story. Just recently (about 2 years ago got the sack from a company where I was the Australian specialist for the medical imaging equipment they sold (MRI, Nuclear Medicine and Bone Density gear) Because according to them i was , "Just not good enough"and at times-22hour days was just not working "hard enough".

    So all the while I sucked all that sh** up blamed myself and NEVER stood up to any of this crap dished out to myself/wife/kids-
    The last four years has given me the hindsight to see that all of this stems from the fact that i allowed people to treat me/my family like sh**.

    So now NO ONE will ever get away with that-Buddha nature/mind whatever does not come into it! we never should allow people to treat us/use us etc. Take it from me-this situation starts off small and insignificantly and grows over time to becoming an actual psychological issue-for some of us!

    Dawn and Mike-watch out for those types-don't mind being taken as unfeeling/rude/inconsiderate of this leeches feelings-ecause these types-have no real feelings-they are cardboard-they do this to people-good people-like yourselves for their gain.

    That is why I stated (figuratively) that she should be slapped upside her head!

    In a way, this is a kind of bullying-as Brigid will know-A subject that is dear to my heart! and one day will hopefully stamped out.

    kind regards and sunshine and rainbows to you all. teehee

    cheers (and i also mean that!)

    Xrayman
  • edited April 2006
    Well so for so good at work. It's only been one day since I've originally posted the issue (and today was her birthday), so who knows. I do have a tendency to let people at work "get over" on me I guess. I just have a problem drawing a line between what's considered "being helpful" and what's considered "being taking advantage of". I don't like not being able to help people, but by the time I've had enough of my helpfullness being abused it's usually too late. I just started this job 6 months ago and up till now have had no problems so that's one of the reasons why I really want to get this issue taken care of before it becomes a big problem like others have in the past. It is hard for me sometimes to tell people how I feel because I'm worried of how they might take it, but I'm not going to allow it this time. I am however going to be as nice about it as possible and tell her in a way that is hopefully helpful to us both.
    A lot of helpful's in that - did you notice!! :)
    Thanks again.
    Dawn
  • XraymanXrayman Veteran
    edited April 2006
    Dawn.

    helpful people can sometimes give out too much of their help and may end up helpless.

    6 months? mmm took me 20 friggin' years before I finally cracked-DO IT NOW!

    Start the old "sorry no time", "sorry, too busy", "I'm afraid I need to do my work-FIRST" eventually these little steps will give you the energy to "Take the power back".

    This is my personal favourite, "Sorry, yes I'm a Buddhist, but my samsaric/karmic suffering ends today!-you are going to have to do it yourself".

    cheers
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