Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Frailty, thy Name is Insecure Man

So now at work, I have to work regularly and rather closely with a person I don't like much. I don't dislike him, I just don't like him much. The main reason is because before I got my current position at my company, when I was in the humble Help Desk, he didn't acknowledge my existance. I mean, even if we passed each other in the hallway and I smiled and said "Hi," he would not acknowledge me or my polite greeting in any way.

When I was promoted to my current position, which entails a lot more responsibility and is therefore much more high profile, I immediately became visible to this guy. Suddenly when we passed in the hall he was the one to say "Hi, how are you?" while I stared at him in shock and finally managed "Hi".

I don't like people who do that. I think it's pretentious and elitist. It's the invisible caste system in the supposedly egalitarian USA. When I worked in the Help Desk I was beneath his notice. Flying under the radar. Invisible. In other words, non-existant.

Because this person has never made the effort to acknowledge me, he knows next to nothing about me. He doesn't want to know much, which is fine, I have no desire to hear his life's story. He spends most of his time creating and sustaining the impression that he is a Very Smart Guy. It takes a lot of work, I can tell. He works primarily from home, so when he comes in, he carries a large backpack which holds his laptop and briefcase. Why he has both, I don't know. He seems to be going for the "absent minded professor" image, but I've seen some holes in it. And he recently realized that.

The sad thing is that when I brought up a question in a recent meeting about researching what caused a particular event, so that we would have a better idea how likely it was that that event would occur, he dismissed it as "Oh, that doesn't matter." I then asked if he knew what caused the event, and he said that he didn't know. So...then doesn't it make sense that we should find out, and asess the liklihood of that event occuring?

Well, of course it does. But my questions poked a hole in his image, so he dismissed it. To think, I, who used to be invisible to him, had poked a hole in his absent minded professor image!

The next day in another meeting he casually stated what caused the event, as if it was something he had known all along. I said "So, that's what causes that event? That's what I thought." He said "Yes." and looked at me, then averted his eyes.

So that's what I will be dealing with. Questioning every single thing I hear that doesn't make sense. And I have a feeling there will be a lot of them.

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