That is the lesson I’m learning as I make my way through life.
Who gets what they want? Who receives preferential treatment? Who is given the most consideration and the best customer service? Who gets the biggest promotions and the most recognition?
Is it the quiet, unassuming, polite, friendly person who causes no trouble and waits patiently for fair treatment? Pffft. No, it’s the arrogant asshole. ALWAYS the arrogant asshole.
Yesterday, I fired off an angry email to a company I’ve been working for. I’ve spent a significant amount of time and effort on their projects, despite the job description turning out to be not exactly what it said on the tin. I’ve worked hard, given them high quality articles for a typically measly fee, and been finished well ahead of deadlines. This is how I roll, and you know what, YOU KNOW WHAT?! I’m seriously considering stopping it. All of it. The politeness, the working hard, the effort, the meek “pleeeeeeeeeease hire me to write for you, I swear I’m good – if you’ll only give me a chance!” begging letters, the acceptance of payments that are too low and too late: all of it. Why bother? Do a half assed job like everybody else, stop worrying about whether it’s good enough, stop caring about whether people like me, and just generally be an arrogant asshole.
Anyway, the point is that I was sick of being jerked around by buyers in general (this just happened to be the latest one), and decided last night that expressing my anger would, at this point, be more gratifying than receiving payment. Within a few hours of my rant, I got a lengthy letter of apology for how I’ve been treated, praising my work, and asking me to keep writing for them. It was accompanied by payment and a 50% bonus.
I know I should be happy, but while I’m obviously pleased at being acknowledged as a human being rather than some kind of writing robot, and appreciative of the efforts to make it up to me and keep me on board, this is something that has been failing to sit right with me for quite some time now. Am I the only one who finds it really depressing that being an honest, hardworking, friendly, considerate, eager-to-please person gets you walked over and treated like you’re worth nothing (in all areas of life), but being in a bad mood, losing your temper and going off on arrogant rants gets you the treatment you think is better deserved by being nice?
The dedicated worker being taken for granted. The polite customer being ignored in favour of the rude one. The guy who holds the door open for someone and then gets stuck being the door holder for everyone. The girl who gets treated like crap by a guy and doesn’t call him out on it because she thinks she must have done something to deserve it. And why, why, WHY is it always me who has to step off the pavement to avoid colliding with the person or people coming the other way?! What would happen if I snapped and said “ENOUGH! NO MORE!” and refused to be the one to move, kept my head down and barreled on? I’m pretty sure we would all crash into each other, and I’d be the one to get hurt, and inevitably it would all somehow, inexplicably, be entirely my fault and no one else’s.
I am a nice person, goddammit. I’m patient. I speak kindly to customer service people on the phone, even when they’re completely useless and I’ve been on hold for about a month. I never send back food at restaurants, and I don’t cause scenes. I work hard, and I do a good job without having to be hounded to finish it. I wait for the next lift rather than push and fight to get on to the crowded one. I’m friendly and polite. I don’t fight. I give up my seat on the bus for someone who needs it more. I go along with what the majority wants to do because I like everyone to be happy. I bite my tongue when people are rude to me, and I let clients take forever to pay their bills because I don’t want to go on and on and on at them.
One guy I’ve been working for lately hasn’t even had enough respect for me to learn my name. I know it’s just a mistake, and it’s a trivial, inconsequential matter, but really. Nothing is more insulting to me than someone who thinks so little of me that they can’t even be bothered to call me by the right name, especially when it’s right there at the top of every message we exchange.
I’m sick of being talked down to, ignored, picked on, criticised, walked over, and cast aside when there’s no further use for me. The only way I’ve found to make all of this stop is to become someone I don’t like. React to the hurtful comments instead of taking them on the chin. Snap instead of keeping quiet. Push and shove instead of waiting patiently. Complain instead of being polite. Be selfish and demanding instead of meek and friendly.
Either you’re the arrogant asshole, or you’re the victim of one.
That’s the life lesson I’m learning, and it may have benefitted my bank balance this morning, but it’s depressed the hell out of me.