In the last three days, I got to work with a colleague, who had his opinion about everything and everyone, and also had the urge to wave it in our face all the time.
A tall guy, nothing especially insecure-looking for the first sight. He even knew, what he came for, he was more well-rounded in the area where were worked, than I. So there’s nothing unsettling until he opens his mouth. Because as he does, all the insecurity, spite, and feeling of neglect come out.
He hated and loved the hierarchy at the same time – hated it because a lot of people are likely to abuse their authority, vindicate the right to speak with their inferiors like they actually were inferior to them. Loved it, because it gave him vast matter for his ruminations about how neglected he is and how harsh is everyone else.
Well, the work environment was far from perfect. Imagine a shooting site in Eastern(Central?)-Europe, during the pandemic: a lot of rules against Covid, testing every second or third day (I also got my nose injured at the second test, because no one’s septum is straight, and so not mine is), a dressing tent with muddy floor, and a little lingering lack of information all the time (where and how does the catering go? – you’ll see/where can we get water? – erm, here. No, rather there).
And our beloved hierarchy – we are waiting for the dresser to bring our clothes, then trying not to drop any item in the mud (according to this colleague: she looks down to us, she greeted us only at the beginning of the day, stupid crazy b*tch, she makes us clown around in the mud), why does the stage-manager shout all the time (because he wants to be heard – because he hates us and at the bottom of his heart he wants to be a dictator).
Long story short, this guy literally poisoned himself and all his environment with these thoughts and feelings, and he seemed not to understand, what is the difference between that other, resilient, calm and collected guy in the collective, who once he brought up for evidence for that we have to use our voices, and him, the muttering, ruminating poisonous mushroom. Why is one politicizing coworker is funny or smart, and why he is not really? Why are his compliments not compliments?
Simplified the differences were that: his role-model used his voice, he abused it.
That guy spoke up politely but expressing his feelings if he was not okay with something, this angry colleague just wreaked his anger on who he found at the moment. Until the end of the day everyone got their portion of slanders, of course mainly behind their back, only told to us. So we „won” the others’ portion of a rant too – sometimes we at least could relate, because, let me emphasize that, the circumstances were the least perfect, and some of our principals were actually got a bit rude sometimes because of the stress, the fatigue or their own personal problems. We ranted two sentences about each of these encounters, or told the target person, that we are not okay with their communication - and moved on. I even found a coworker to hang out with and the weather got better for the last two days. In the breaks, I began to draw still lives (IKEA-bag chucked down next to the tent wall, with some clothes hanging above them), politicize with another colleague, sunbathe.
That does not mean that we have to remain quiet and reframe everything to preserve the relative peace, but that we have to know our priorities and the way to communicate critique without wreaking anger on one another in a petty and vitriolic manner.