Shall We Play A Game?

“How do you not snap and scream at people in meetings?” – a former coworker

When my very first That Guy entry I ever wrote recently bubbled up, I was reminded of a more recent event that might help people.

A little while ago, a coworker looked at me across the lunchroom table and asked: “How do you not just completely snap and scream at people in meetings?  I see the look in your eyes that you want to…and then it’s like some weird calm comes over your face and you’re mellow.  I need to know how to do that, because I’m starting to snap in meetings and I shouldn’t.”

She was genuinely concerned…and rightfully so.  I’d seen that in her lately, and it was simmering higher and higher each time…and so it was time to teach her one of my favorite games that I play during meetings in my mind that helps keep me from going over the top…

…and so I scooted my chair a little closer to hers, put my hand on her shoulder and said “Let me tell you a little game I like to play.  It’s called What Made You That Guy?”

It’s sort of like the Gong Show…if the judges were on valium.

It helps you tolerate the people you want to gong the most.

See, it’s really simple.

Nobody wants to be That Guy.

Nobody wants to suck.

Nobody wants to be the roadblock.

Nobody wants to be the one that everyone talks about as being a pain in the ass.

But it still happens.

HR Killjoy still pops up and squashes everyone’s good time.  The Betta Fish still primps and preens as the pretty fish in the tank and violently attacks those who dare trespass.  The Angry Sys Admin still shows up in meetings to throw up obstacles about build cycles and why things can’t be done.  And The Pufferfish…oh, The Pufferfish…even though the market is getting steadily better out here, you can almost virtually guarantee that at least one will be in any meeting that you’re in that has more than five people in attendance to keep anything from getting done.

So why does it still happen?  Why do these…creatures…exist in our environment?

Welcome to the exciting game of “What Made You That Guy?”

Was it a former (or maybe even current) boss who beat them into submission and made them so afraid to make a decision that they throw up as many obstacles as they can hoping that you just give up and forget about it?

Is it that they’re new and just don’t know how things work at this job yet?

Are we staring down the barrel of the dreaded gun named Office Politics?

Do they just not know anything about the topic being discussed and they’re afraid to let that show?

There’s a reason in there somewhere…and if you can figure out what it is, then you can figure out how to work with that person to overcome it.  You can be the one that takes the high road and gains the respect of your peers and coworkers by being a bridge builder who can get things done.  You can be the person in the office that gets recognized for having the right attitude and problem solving…instead of being the one who snaps and starts screaming at people about what idiots they are.

Besides…trust me.  It’s a lot easier to play this game in your head than it is trying to explain to HR why you wigged out on someone and shouldn’t be fired over it…

…especially if you happen to have been in a meeting with your boss at the time.

So…shall we play a game?

That’s all for this time, folks.  Now go read up on the other kinds of That Guy you might find out in the wild, or something else that might be of interest…