Sometimes, It’s better to keep Quiet….


Have you ever wanted to say something you know you shouldn’t so bad, you start shaking from the pressure of holding your tongue for the sake of peace?

I have. It doesn’t happen to me as often as it used to, but that’s because, as I’ve grown older, I’ve just learnt that, you don’t always have to say everything on your mind. Its better to keep the peace sometimes and suffer in Silence. It sounds defeatist, I know, but maybe its my African upbringing but we women are brought up to be the bigger person and hold the peace, when all you want to do is scream.

The other day at work, I was just minding my own business, carrying out a task that I was already two days late in finishing when one of my colleagues got on my nerves. She felt she had ‘too much’ to do and didn’t think it was fair that she should be the only to deal with the task she had to do because it was so much. I understood where she was coming from, but hey, sometimes, life just isn’t fair. Retail is a shitty job, period. If you’ve signed a job contract with your to eyes open, then you’ve gotta do the job, there’s absolutely no point moaning about it, like seriously, what did you expect?

In the absence of my line manager, most of my colleagues usually turn to me for directions and advice about how to go about their responsibilities. This both amuses and infuriates me. I mean, I am flattered they see me as someone responsible enough for them to turn to for guidance, but it gets quite annoying when I become a de facto leader with responsibilities that I’m not being paid for and I’m so busy managing the team, that my own work suffers.

This girl is a fairly newcomer in my department but she’s had a few months to learn the ropes. You’d think by now, she should know how to handle situations, including stressful ones, I mean come on, we’re all grown ups here, but some people are just slow. Period!

So, she comes to me to moan about how she’s been in since 6.30 and she’s done this, done that and now she’s got back pain….uh uh uh…tough darling ( I didn’t say that of course). I put my most convincing agony aunt face on and just told her what I’d do in her situation, ‘If you feel the delivery is too much for you right now…why not leave the guys in the delivery team to finish it? You can do other stuff in the mean time, so don’t worry too much about it’. It was obvious that the guys in delivery were going to be at it for a while as there were hundreds of crates to process, so she was going to have to calm the hell down.

I really would have helped her, it’s just my manager would kill me if I had left what I was working on to do of all things, delivery. We were due to have a visit in a few hours, and I had to make sure the whole department was fit for a king by the time our VIP’s arrived. I was still a long way from achieving this so she was on her own mate.

Besides, every time I helped the guys in delivery and this was often as most of them were newbies and a choo choo train was faster than them, I always got into trouble, because my own department always suffered and I got told off.

Needless to say my girl didn’t listen to a word I said, she carried on doing it (out of her own free will) and kept moaning about how this was so unfair, what happened to team work? This is not how its supposed to be, my cat died…..yaa dah yaa dah yaa dah……

She was really beginning to do my head in now and I just felt like screaming at her to just shut the fuck up and get on with it. I dislike pretentious people. This is someone who’s never been a team player, never asked to help other team members when they had herculean tasks to do, looked the other way when called to do something that wasn’t related directly with her department. I’d never heard her volunteer to help anybody else with their work and here she was having a go about everyone else…I was by now getting to my end of my limit.

To be fair, if it had been anybody else, I and the rest of the team would probably have gone out of our way to help, but she was so anti social, most of the team just avoided her, never smiles, never talks to you, gives mono syllabic answers and down right rude sometimes and she was doing it again now.

She was having her 6th go at us now and everyone around had started to feel uncomfortable. I could see people exchanging looks and the tension was palpable, but no one confronted her, instead, one or two people had actually reluctantly agreed to help her, maybe just to shut her up,  like she was indirectly bullying them or guilting them into doing it, leaving their own work. It was like they were afraid of her.

And then she asked for it. Without mentioning my name, she insinuates that some members of the team pretend to be busy doing other ‘lesser work’ without having the decency to pitch in when there was a lot to do. I knew she meant me, you could say I was over sensitive already, I could have sworn she meant me. I was the only one who hadn’t told her she was fabulous yet for doing so much. I had about a second to decide whether to let it slide or reply to her. I was boiling and I knew that if I say anything right now, I would probably regret it because it would not come out right. I am one of those people who are slow to anger, but you do not want to piss me off...seriously!

To my surprise, I kept it together, I really have come a long way:). I decided, it would be best to voice my concerns when a manager was about, so I wouldn’t have to repeat myself and I wont be mis quoted.

She went off to lunch and everyone started talking at the same time,” Oh how rude!” , “She’s so lazy”, “that was out of line“. It was as though they’d all be holding their breath. Bunch of spineless twats! Why were they telling her off for her rudeness when she was longer in the room? They irritated me.

I was lucky that as she was coming back from lunch, my manager was coming into the department…hallelujah!

I hesitated, should I say something? should I let it slide? If i confront her, we will most likely have an argument, it will go back and forth, she won’t speak to me (this was fine by me by the way), everyone will feel awkward afterwards and you know the usual dynamics of girl fights.

Right now, I was too angry to care…I just confronted her. I tried to keep my voice down..I really did but I could feel myself shaking as I spoke, she was shocked. She hadn’t expected me to say anything. She probably couldn’t believe that someone who smiled so much and was always so chatty could turn to this miniature monster who was telling her off. Even my manager was shocked. She didn’t have a clue what I was on about and she kept trying to calm me down. I said my peace and she tried to get a few things in but I didn’t let it happen…she’s had about 4 hours of that, I was sick of it. 

After I had satisfied myself, I stormed out and went off to lunch, during which time, I had space to meditate.

Now I was worried about the awkwardness that would ensue when I returned, and I was sure my manager would want a word. Oh boy, why hadn’t I just kept my mouth Shut?



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