Friday, August 12, 2011

Peer Pressure...

I have NEVER been one to buckle down to peer pressure.
I was never POPULAR in high school, so I didn’t have a need to maintain a status quo.
More times than not, I didn’t feel obligated to do what was expected by my peers.
I did things because I wanted to.
My mom also was a STRONG influence in my social life back then.
She instilled in me the value of thinking for myself.
That value stayed with me when I was 21 and at a party, and my friends used to try to get me to drink with them.
I remember my buddy telling everyone not to waste their time, because I wasn’t going to do it. She was right.
I waited to become sexually active until I was 17.
Not because everyone else was doing it, or some jerk was pressuring me to get into my pants.
I did it because it was my decision and I was in a relationship with a guy I had been dating for a long time. …That I loved and he loved me.
So why is it as adults, (especially in the workplace), do we see the same patterns as we did in high school?
I see the cliques that tend to gravitate toward the same types of people and what do they do?
Mostly talk about other people.
I see the Wanna-Bes whose self esteem is shattered and need validation from the popular crowd.
And, I see the Outcasts. Those who are not accepted by the clique and either desperately want to be, or don’t really care.
I know I have the social skills to be part of the clique but given my history, I’d rather kick it with the Outcasts.
To me cliques are mean and non-inclusive.
Outcasts, like me, have a since of social humility and WANT to include others…in my opinion.
And I noticed the older we get, the more not caving in to peer pressure puts at stake…ESPECIALLY on the job.
I am new here, and I don’t want to be thought of as a BITCH.
I think it’s easier to work with people if they don’t find you unfriendly.
But I think that’s the AURA I give off.
I don’t like nonsense.
Unfortunately, that’s what you encounter in your work environment when you work with PEOPLE.
I think we’ve ALL experienced that.
Plus if I am a Bitch, I’d rather be known as a hard-working Bitch.
I think my co-workers see my work ethic and (hopefully), that’s how I will gain their respect.
With that being said, you look like more of a Bitch when you don’t buckle down to peer pressure to spend money, (which is what this sphill is really about).
The first instance:
On the job, we celebrate birthdays as a way to strengthen morale. When someone’s birthday is coming up, everyone is asked for $5.00. I have yet to see where the money is going. And, we all go out to eat together.
I think the idea behind the celebrating of coworker birthdays is nice.
HOWEVER, I also look at it as being dictated to how I SHOULD spend my money.
When I first discovered this tradition, I had just moved here and I HAD NO MONEY.
I still encounter that situation even today. However… I can say that I have started putting some money up as well.
Still, what I do with an extra $5 a month or whether or not I go out to eat should be MY CHOICE.  I should not feel obligated to spend money I don’t want to, just so I won’t look like a Team Player or a Bitch.
If you come up with a way for me to support coworkers that doesn’t involve me spending money, I’m there! Especially if it’s pertaining to the job. Plus, I didn’t even have a say in the decision to do this. It was decided BEFORE I took the job here. And I found out AFTER I started working.
 The Second Instance:
I have reoccurring and periodical trainings that are mandatory. A coworker in a supervisory position is the one that does the training. He is also the one that insists each of the departments in attendance bring refreshments for each session. After my third time witnessing him solicit for the next victim, hearing the awkward silence, and then FINALLY hearing someone buckle down to the peer pressure of being put on the spot I wondered if HE has or was willing to lead by example.  Maybe I’m a Bitch for thinking that way, or I was being uncooperative, or not being a Team Player. But I think it’s an abuse of power for a person in a supervisory role to put people on the spot like that, even IF it’s just spending $5 for some doughnuts.
When it was my department’s turn, I was pressured by a co-worker to pay $5 for a fruit bowl.  At first I said yes, but then I thought about it. “I’ll bring granola bars,” I replied. I got a text asking if I could bring bottled water instead because it was CHEAPER than granola bars. Read between the lines people, “cheap…” That word stung, I must admit. So not only am I uncooperative, but cheap? See how peer pressure works?
Third Instance:
Today I got an email from a coworker wanting $3 to buy a card and a plant for my boss.
He’s been out sick for going on two weeks now, (poor thing).
Again, I think the gesture is thoughtful. But why should I accept YOUR WAY of welcoming my boss back? I have already sent him an email acknowledging him being away and wishing him well. Some people don’t have money to buy something for someone else every month, or they choose to use their money to buy things that are more IMPORTANT to them. Like me, I love to shop.
 I shouldn’t be thought of as cheap, a Bitch, or not a Team Player because I choose to shop with my money and not donate it for things at work. Of course people are not going to insult you overtly. But you can tell the difference in the way they interact with you.  The ORAGNIZED way to approach office charities is to:
  1. Give people appropriate notice.
    1. Just because you request money on a pay week doesn’t mean everyone solicited has extra money to spend.
  1. Pass around a Sign-Up Sheet
    1. People are more inclined to give if you do #1 and they feel they have a CHOICE.
  1. Don’t be judgmental
    1. Just because a person doesn’t spend their money when and how you want them to, doesn’t mean they’re uncooperative.
And because you don’t EARN their money for them, it doesn’t give you the right to tell them how to spend it.

1 comment :

  1. As I sit here going through your old posts (yes, I'm doing that... and no I'm not ashamed, lol) this one stuck out to me like a sore thumb!! I've been in Corporate America preaching this logic for years! People have looked at me like I was crazy, and assumed I was the one who COULDN'T afford to contribute to certain things/events, until they find THEMSELVES not in the position to contribute. That's why a sign up sheet is important. I'm an inclusive person by nature, and I advocate for everyone.

    BTW, love your writing.