The other day, I received a rude email about my work. It told me what I should be doing, what I did wrong, and how things would be from here on out. This person was putting their foot down. They were on their soapbox and they were mad.
As I read the email, I went through my own (normal) list of feelings of anger, defensiveness and is this guy serious? all in a few moments, generally summed up in a big ball of WTF?
But this isn’t a story of how I dealt with this kerfuffle nor is it a bulleted list for How To Not Be Walked All Over At Work. Instead, it’s a little marker, a flag placed defiantly at the top of a mountain of my own learning because spoiler alert: I didn’t respond to the email.
And I don’t plan to.
When the email came in, I was well rested, well fed and *not* subjecting myself to any sort of lack-or-attack show in my own head, so this interaction didn’t throw me for a loop. My instant realizations were that this email had nothing to do with me/my work and everything to do with this other person’s very bad day.
This was in no way a dire situation, but I’m pretty sure my colleague felt otherwise.
I feel like I should get some points for taking the high road, for leveling-up in some way. Hey, look, someone was an asshole and it wasn’t even a blip on my radar, but I know better. I know that the self-work that I’m doing is working and that also, on any given day, I will have my own angry email soapbox moment.
We all do, because we’re all human. It just feels good right now that I’m able to bring kindness to the situation. That I’m not feeding into this work-wide panic. By not responding, that fire lacks fuel. By not responding, the rudeness stops with me.
By empathizing, I know this person didn’t mean to be the ass they were in those words. This person is not summed up by that one email. And I hope I am not either. I hope when I am a jerk, when fears override my calm, clear communication center, that others will give me some space and kindness too.