I was having a hard time at work. One of my co-workers, let's call him Mike, was being very passive aggressive toward me, and though my manager liked and validated my ideas, Mike shot them down, seemingly any chance he could get. Mike had to be right, which meant everyone else, including me, had to be wrong.
Needless to say I was not happy.
I would start each work day with a smile, hoping that my positivity alone would rub off on him. It didn't.
I sought the advice of my mentor, who suggested I appeal to Mike's ego. Armed with hope, I combined his advice with the philosophy of "praise the behavior you want to see", praising him publicly when he did something helpful. There was no change.
We got a new senior director who I hoped would help adjust Mike's behavior. And wish as I might, there was still no change.
I lost all trust in Mike one day when he asked me to wait until the next day to perform a certain task so we could "sync up" first. I came in the next day to find he himself had done the task, letting everyone know he had done the work.
I had enough.
I began to avoid him as much as possible, which didn't work. His behavior toward our teammates drew my ire at every mention. I felt this blight had to be removed, yet I felt powerless to stop its spread. I didn't want to quit my job, as I had done in the past. I had to find a way to make it work out.
And then we were assigned to a project.
He went on paid time off for two weeks, during which I worked directly with our senior director, building what he wanted. When Mike got back, he made no mention of it, and continued on as if nothing had happened.
A few days before I was to head to Thailand with my family, Mike asked to meet with me for a "sync up". Due to not trusting him I asked our senior director to join. Toward the end of the meeting when Mike was asked about prioritizing one thing over another, I had enough. He would shirk his responsibilities no longer.
I took a deep breath and told Mike just how I felt. I calmly explained that what he said was a thinly veiled excuse. I enumerated a long list of things I had completed while he was gone, and challenged him to do the same, saying that I am no special snowflake, and any member of the team can accomplish the same!
The meeting ended, and I traveled with my family to Thailand.
The issue followed me there.
It followed me in the sense that I had done nothing to change myself. I tried a few different strategies to no avail, but the one thing I hadn't tried was uncovering and changing my beliefs. With appetite voracious I consumed Tony Robbin's Awaken The Giant Within. I studiously performed each exercise, examining myself, my feelings, and the beliefs I held that had shaped the world I saw.
It was then I realized the problem was not with Mike, but with me. I discovered the belief that was the cause of all my troubles - that Mike had to be a certain way in order for me to be happy at my job.
Was this true? Did Mike have to be a certain way, and do certain things, in order for me to be happy?
While my ego said yes I had to admit the answer was no.
~ Oh shit. ~
Well if Mike didn't have to be a certain way for me to be happy, that meant I was using his behavior as an excuse not to be!
That hit me like a ton of bricks. After all these months, I had been doing it to myself in the name of some righteous indignation about how I was being treated.
So what to do now? I had to let it go. So let it go I did.
But nature abhors a vacuum, and quantum physics tells us that nothing does not actually exist. I had to replace my old belief with a new one, one which empowered me and helped me to live into my higher self.
So the belief I took on is that people do not have to be a certain way in order for me to be happy, I am happy no matter what anyone says, and I am happy no matter what anyone does.
~ Deep breath... ~
The feelings I then felt are hard to describe. It was as if an enormous weight was suddenly lifted from my shoulders, and I could breathe deeply once again. And breathe I did.
For the remainder of the trip I focused on nothing but spending time with my family, and pondering what the next phase of my life looked like.
It was splendid, and indeed one of the best vacations I've ever had in my life.
A few weeks after I got back Mike quit the team to go work at another company. He told everyone he felt it better for his career, and he would be working with someone who had tried to recruit him before. Whether that is the real reason behind his departure I do not know, but what I do know is I wish him the best, and hope he finds the happiness he's looking for, either in this life, or the next.