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I had a conversation with a co-worker today that has kind of shaken me just a little bit and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Because the truth behind the conversation is kind of hurting me. A lot.

I think sometimes people don’t like who I am.

Maybe that’s too broad or vague a statement.

I know people don’t like me. Probably lots of people. I’ve never been a stranger to people not liking me.

I’m just really struggling with how to say this without…without…well, without screwing up. Which it seems I’m good at.

I’ve been opinionated my entire life.  If I have an idea to share about something, I want to share it. If you have a problem, and you are trying to figure out a solution, I want to help figure out that solution by offering ideas. If I think there’s a way that things can be done better or more efficiently, I have a hard time not saying “Hey! There’s a better and more efficient way to do this.”

I am outgoing and go-getter-ing. I am not afraid to speak when it comes to things I know about. In fact, I LOVE talking about what I know.

For the most part, I think I’ve got some tact about this sharing thing. I try to be tactful in my interactions with people, carefully choosing my words. At least most of the time.

I love words and their power.

But today I was called “bossy.”

It stung.

I’ve been called bossy before and it hasn’t really bothered me. At times, I probably said “Yeah, I am. That’s me.” And rolled with it. Because if I had to be described in a word, maybe “bossy” is it.

But today? It hurt.

I think I laughed it off, but that’s the way people see me.


Not any of the other things that I see as positives about myself.

Just bossy.

I learned earlier this year that when I started my job, some dismissed me as just a know-it-all. And I am kind of a know-it-all. Because I WANT to know and SEEK to know. Not because I inherently THINK I know. I think.

(In my defense, I was fresh out of college and ready to “make a difference” and “change a life” and all that other stuff people graduate college ready to do. Now? I know a little more. And I DO actually know a great deal of stuff.)

Today I learned that I’d been asked about in regards to how I’m handling a new role at work. When I was asked if I wanted this role, the conversation went something like “but in this role, you can’t be…you.”

“Oh, she’s doing great!” was the reply given to today’s question.

Because I am.

At least I think I am.

Sometimes it’s hard simply because I want to talk. Sometimes it’s hard because I like bouncing ideas around.

But I’m entirely capable of not speaking when I know my opinion isn’t wanted or needed. Or when giving it will do more harm than good.

(I will say that in this particular instance, I am so aware of other people’s perceptions of how I’m handling this role that I’m almost afraid to say anything at all or ask questions or even a simple “Oh! Yay!” Seriously. I feel like my role is to be seen and not heard. At all. For fear of saying one thing too much and being given a talking-to.)

The bigger issue, I suppose, is that there even had to be that conversation at all. Like everyone had doomed me to failure from the word “go.”

I know I’m negative. I know I complain (mostly just for the sake of complaining). I know I’m a gray-haired, cantankerous, 90-year-old, cat lady trapped in a reasonably-well-coiffed, cantankerous, 29-year-old, Boy-Mom body.

I know.

But I also know that’s not all that I am. And it hurts that maybe other people don’t.

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Tuesday 2nd of August 2011

My student teaching mentor told me "close the door and do the right thing" and "stay out of the faculty room." Where I was at the time, it was good advice. The kids get what you're doing; your colleagues aren't always fair judges.

But. but. I WANTED them to like me. Wanted it badly. The perception is hard to deal with, but I think you need to remember that what they see is not THE truth. Maybe it's a truth, but there's so much more to the story.


Saturday 30th of July 2011

First of all. That's what it's like working in a school full of (mostly) women. Seriously? I have not NOT worked at a school where this has been the case, but I've never been the e-friend of someone that was the target.

I'm sorry that this is happening to you.

I've definitely already pegged the girl who's uptight and the "know-it-all" in our building. She's not willing to collaborate with anyone, she has "all the best ideas" but will never share it and just likes to upstage people at faculty meetings. She also has said that she could care less if people think that way of her because she's not there to be anyone's friend.

I know we shouldn't be like that to one another. I often tell my boss that my school is like being in high school all over again. Talking about each other, borderline bullying, etc. I say ignore them. Teachers... we are such a unique breed. I don't even know what else to say. And this honey? Is why I don't let anyone I work with read my blog. It would be misconstrued and thrown in my face and I can be aggressive at work, so that wouldn't turn out well.

Anyway, I'm rambling. You're awesome, they're hatas. The end.


Friday 29th of July 2011

Well, I tend to think teachers are kind of bossy control freaks. I say that with complete respect and admiration, as a former (and maybe future) teacher. Isn't that what having a classroom is about, in a way, crafting our own magical environment?

I think it can be hard to turn that "off" in interactions with other staff members when you are so used to dealing with students. Also, people who are passionate about anything are bound to be seen as a little bossy or aggressive, because they care about what they are doing so much and want to share their information and knowledge and excitement.

Consider delivery and all that jazz, which I'm sure you do, but some degree of bossiness is necessary and appreciated when there are tough choices and situations in a school.


Saturday 30th of July 2011


I can't tell you the number of times Dan has said "don't use your teacher voice with me!!" I can't turn it off sometimes, though I do try.

Elizabeth Flora Ross

Friday 29th of July 2011

While I had different roles in my past professional life, I too was given this label. More than once. And I know how it stings, so I feel you. I think the trick is to find ways to alter that perception without giving up who you really are. And I'm not saying I have the answer to that. One thing that really held me back in the business world was my inability to play games and politics. Not my style. But I did reach a point in my career where I was respected and considered very good at what I did. And that felt good. I also developed very strong relationships, even with the people who had given me that label.

Open communication on the job is a very good thing. The fact that you could have this conversation in a nonjudgmental, respectful way (which it sounds like it was) is great. Try to see it as an opportunity, think about what you can do in response and then move on. Don't let it eat at you!


Saturday 30th of July 2011

I have an inability to play games, too. I CAN play them, but I'd prefer not to. Nothing good comes of game playing. And I do think they students respect me and consider me a great teacher, and they are really the only ones whose opinions I should concern myself with.

I think maybe I just had a really off week this week. I'm sure things will level off once the school year starts ON MONDAY. :(


Friday 29th of July 2011

I attended a lunch and learn at work about this exact topic and unfortunately peoples negative perceptions of you is their reality. The best way to change someone's perception is to show them that it is untrue or to confront them about it. You have to show them that "bossy" isnt bossy- its assertive.

But CONGRATS on your new role!!


Friday 29th of July 2011

I do like thinking of it as assertive and not bossy. Assertive sounds so much more positive!

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