I was taught a little lesson in judgement this week. Not by anyone in particular, just by my own mind’s complete inability to leave “stuff” alone.
I have always been prone to jump to conclusions. It’s weakness of mine. Luckily I know it’s a weakness of mine and- occasionally- when I catch myself doing it I can remind myself to stop and put myself in the other person’s shoes, or stop and look at a situation from ALL angles first before deciding what happened.
When you share an office, you hear things (usually in one sided phone calls) that give you a small and often judgemental insight into someone’s life. Even if you aren’t friends, you pick up things about the people who share your space. Now, there’s a man whom I plain and simple don’t like, but share space with. Let’s call him X shall we. Mostly it’s his little mannerisms that annoy me (it’s always the small stuff isn’t it), but he’s my client, so I do my best to ignore it and get done with my work. So. X started having these telephone arguments with a woman (and even if you only hear one side you can tell it’s a woman can’t you? Or a man if it’s a woman you can hear?) And of course I often answer the phone when there’s no one here and take messages for X. Then after the one long weekend, X didn’t come back to work for a whole week. I took a lot of messages, and a lot of his colleagues would come by looking for him, but because I’m a contractor I don’t get informed when someone is going on leave or something. Then the woman who also spends most of her day in my space (I’ll call her M) answered the phone one day and ended up having an almost 30 minute long conversation with the woman I always assumed was X’s girlfriend. The girlfriend claimed she was pregnant and accused X of doing a runner on her (M told me some of what she was told by the girlfriend). I advised M as politely as I could not to get involved. I’ve seen what happens when work and relationships mix, and it’s not pretty. The girlfriend kept calling, thinking that M and I were covering for X. The one day she phoned and told M she’d miscarried and was in hospital. I didn’t have all the details, but of course I immediately decided that my dislike of X was now justified and I liked him even less.
It played on my mind. As much as I didn’t want to indulge in gossip and so on, I couldn’t help thinking that X was a real jerk and pitying his girlfriend.
Then one day, I was driving to work and it suddenly occurred to me- out of the blue- that maybe the girlfriend was talking shite… and then it stopped playing on my mind!
There Is Never An Excuse
One in three is not a statistic - one in three is a crying shame.