All my life I have been taught to be kind, courteous and considerate towards others. It has served me well. It is engrained in my personality. It is as much a part of me as cocoa is to Chocolate. But the thing that has eluded me, the thing that I have never been able to master is the ability to be kind, courteous and conseriderate without becoming a walking doormat.
People who have come known me well enough realize quite quickly that I’m a trusting fool, assuming that everyone around me is honest. This has really gotten me into trouble sometimes. Case in point. I sent an email to a co-worker asking a question to so that I can do my job better. In his response, he sent a copy of that email to all the supervisors in the department! This guy – who joined the company only six months ago managed to get promoted to a higher position that many people in our department including me. Judging how he has been forwarding all my questions to the Supervisors, it’s no wonder that they don’t trust me with any new opportunities these days.
Another example… I’m waiting in line to buy some chicken at KFC. My line seems to be quite slow. In fact, I’m waiting 20 minutes to get halfway through the line. The other line seems to be going much faster. I then realize that there is one line up for two cash registers! I ask the person in the line which line he’s in. The guy, barely 30 seconds in to the line says, “This line is for two registers. I’m waiting for both of them,” knowing full well that my line has been quite slow. Do I make a fuss about it? No I just walk away from the line furious how a guy can be so dishonest.
A normal guy would make a big scene and insist one getting into the line ahead of him. But that’s just not me. It’s not nice to do things like that. My wife tells me that I need to be firm and stand for what is right. But how can you be kind and courteous and still get your way without being walked all over.
There are times where I’m just sick and tired of being nice. There are times where I would be perfectly happy being a really big a-hole. At least I’d get my way once in awhile. The thought quickly vanishes – that just isn’t me. Sometimes, I think, perhaps I should walk over people on my way up the ladder. But again, that isn’t me.
So what to do? Am I resigned to be a walking doormat my entire life? How do I master the art of courtesy and kindness while shoring myself up with the intestinal fortitude (balls) needed to prevent myself from being taken advantage of?