I’m generally a nice person. I try to be agreeable and friendly, and I try to help everyone I can. Sometimes, though, this works against me – I end up with too much on my plate because everyone just assume I can handle it. Sadly, this has been the case lately, and it’s hard to keep track of everything that I need to.
I had a boss quite a few years ago – a manager when I worked at a clothing store – who once told me, “Sometimes, you have to be a bitch. They’ll get the point eventually.” For me, this is hard. I don’t want to be seen as the person who isn’t willing to help anyone who needs it, and I don’t want to be known as mean. But I’m realizing more and more that in order to keep my sanity, a little bitchiness now and then is necessary.
I had someone tell me last week that “anxiety and depression are a choice – you can simply view it as your choice and then you’ll actively change to not feel that way any more.” I wanted to punch him – especially after he asked if I’d ever tried exercise to deal with my depression, then gave me a funny look when I said yes. I wanted to throw a fit – what business is it of his if I worked out? Not to mention the fact that maybe my situation was different than what he assumed was just a choice. Is it really being a decent human being to imply that because I have depression and anxiety attacks, I am just too weak to handle them myself?
Then there’s the fact that I’m pretty much single-handedly doing most of the group work I have this semester. Sure, there are a few people here and there who have proven to be useful – one in particular in my marketing group, where the project is a large portion of the grade. However, there are six people in that group: two who haven’t replied to any emails, two who haven’t looked at the assignment information or tried to understand the way it works, and myself and the other girl who are pretty much shouldering the burden of the entire assignment.
So when I emailed the group last Sunday to try to get them to make sure to pick up the assignment in class Monday (three of them had missed class the week before and didn’t get the assignment), I expected them to start replying with some help or answers or something. When Tuesday rolled around and nobody had replied yet, I emailed them all again and told them we had to get the assignment done. See, I have a sheet we all have to sign to say we put work into the assignment before we turn it in. If they don’t put any work in, why would I give them credit? As of 10:00 Tuesday night, two people had replied to the email: one to say “I don’t know what this means” and one who said she’d get what she could done, and then texted me with some of the answers. (As you can tell, she’s the useful one of the group – obviously.)
What these people (except the last girl) don’t know is that I’d already finished the assignment and stapled it to the sign-in sheet. I was just so tired of carrying them through the class that I figured I’d let them run through it and panic if they couldn’t get it done. We only have to turn one copy in, and my answers matched the other girl’s answers, so I feel justified in turning my copy in. But don’t you think they’d have more concern for their own grades? Apparently not. I feel like I’m being a bit sneaky, but let’s face it – they have to learn sometime. I’m tired of people not pulling their weight.
How do you handle situations where people are taking advantage of you, or overstepping their boundaries? I’m learning to have a spine in cases like these, but I find it incredibly difficult sometimes.