Jul 19, 2017

Character Flaw

The other day I had a fight with a colleague. It's a series of texts between us through Whatsapp (and one phone call) sometime last two weeks. I just finished my ward Peri rotation, and on that last day I had forgotten to update the patient list that Peri needs to cover. Subsequently, the new person who was covering did not get notified on the new patients that were needed to be seen by the specialist. The one who called me then blasted me over the phone and after explaining my error, I had apologized.

I truly admitted my mistake. That was indeed my fault in the first place. The fight continued because almost three days later the issue was brought up again by the same person who called me the other day. I was tired and a bit in a foul mood. The part where I didn't understand at that time was where the call was made just to get mad at me over the same thing where nothing else I could have done otherwise.

The bombshell that the person then threw at me was that they had finally figured out why I am not pleasant to work with in the first place. They talked about me behind my back and generally described me as someone who don't give a damn about anything. Of all anything unpleasantries that I can stomach in life, this is painfully one of the few things that hurt me deeply.

Then over the last weekend  I went to my friend's open house. There, they told me that they have friends who are also working in the same hospital as me and they said I was cerewet and unfriendly to work with. Fire in a hole, Safuan. Considered me dismayed, albeit hidden from my facial expression at that time.

If I'm to summarized all the things I got to know what they were saying about me behind my back (as far as I'm concerned - I know they are lots more!) it could be like this:

  • Kerek
  • Get heated when talking (almost shouting-like level)
  • Criticize people but unwilling to receive criticism well

  • Foul mouthed
  • Bad tempered (really bad, bad tempered)
  • Generally people don't like me
Honestly I didn't even like myself back then. I guess it was a really, really bad phase of life I was going through.

  • Kerek
  • I kept to myself a lot during my time in Medical school. Thus, I rarely got wind of what they were saying about me back then
  • Arrogant (a comment from a lecturer) (Fine, I guess I am a bit snobbish)

  • Kerek
  • Don't give a damn 
  • Cerewet (apparently I terkasar bahasa with a first poster)
  • Getting the feeling that people don't prefer to work with me

If I want to do a proper and thorough reflection on this whole matter, it's gonna be days of me typing it all done. So instead, this list here are my thoughts on my character and its flaws:

1. I am unfriendly, or kerek, by nature.

I am not the type who can easily make friends with everyone. I got nervous around people, more so towards people that I do not know. When I am around unfamiliar people, I will stay silent. No beramah mesra, no ice breaking - we can stay and work comfortably in silence all day for all I care. Making friends is a tough job for me. It's not in my nature. And I am terrible in keeping them, too. So yes, if you have to describe me as unfriendly or kerek, go ahead. I am what you described me.

2. Zero poker face

One thing from the earliest of years in KYS I had discovered is the fact that people do get irritated by my facial reactions. Buat muka, they said. Later, I got to know another thing about me - I display outrightly what I was thinking or feeling freely. Sometimes they manifest in gestures, movements, and vocals. When I got frustrated I rustled up my hair with both of my hands in exasperation, when I got hold up waiting I will sigh loudly and get impatient (oh yes impatience is one of my big flaws), and if there's something that I don't like I will make that irritating faces that seniors, teachers and bosses alike hate.

3. Snob
I think, well, a part of me (that isn't snobbish) thinks, that I am a bit arrogant. It's time I think to accept the criticism. I am only just a second poster, but I already get the superior airs when around my batch colleagues or with the juniors. Case to point, the prefix names of my colleagues in my phone contact list are divided into three: HO, SHO (senior), and JHO (junior). I reasoned that it is necessary to distinguish which ones are which as there will people with the same names, and I am very bad with names and faces. I always have this feeling that I can do better jobs than them while the truth is very much proven to be pointing the other way. Of this I have to acknowledge that my snob needs to be corrected. Be more humble. Oh, easy to say! But, of this I must try to change myself.

4. Don't give a damn attitude

This one I have to mull things over. I wished I had asked what manner of 'don't give a damn' attitude they were talking about. Aside from that one slip up, I had never leave my work like that. When the other colleagues are doing their work, I do other ward work so we all can finish it early. When it's near the end of the shift, I always ask them if they want help or wanted me to stay before I go home. One time I was unwell and I needed to take a break for a while. Even then I asked them repeatedly to call me if they needed help. I had never said, "Oh itu bukan kerja aku. Aku cover bahagian ini and itu etc." What don't give a damn attitude are we talking here?

To the best of my ability, I help out. I don't complain when I came to work at freaking 4 o'├žlock in the morning. I don't complain when I have to go back 3 hours after my end of shift. I don't complain when I have to do other people's work. I don't complain when other people pile up their unfinished work on me. I don't complain and argue when my division of tasks landed me the most number of cases among us. So tell me again what attitude are we talking about?

5. I don't talk shit about people behind their back

You have to be the subject of the conversation to appreciate the dreadfulness this culture can bring to you. I have experienced it, time over time, so I know now the consequences it can present. For the life of me, you will never hear me comment on other people when they are not around. A few of my colleagues do come up to me and asked, "Hey, how is X? Okay tak dia kerja dengan you etc." while expecting me to spew up the same negative things about the said person. My answer will always be the same, "Okay je dia." 

I will not start a conversation talking about what other people less stellarly did, what bad habit they might be having, or generally on why it's unpleasant to work with some people. I will make it my mission to steer away from those topics, and the least I could do is to stay silent during those conversations.

Another thing that has changed my perspective is how people can do normal things like being all friendly in front of you yet they say totally different things behind your back. They come up to you like friends do talking about this and that, but with different people they talk about other things about you. Doesn't that hurtful? And to make it worse, somehow, that twisted carried talks come full circle when they talked about what other people talked about you to you.

Which makes me trust other people ever more. Yet another defining character of mine, you might add. How to be friendly when you can't trust the people that work with you day and night? To trust their smiles and jokes, then later got wind of the scorns and hate behind your back? I rather like those who say they don't like me straight to my face. That way I know who to avoid and steer away. 

I am sensing that there will be more incident in the future unless I changed myself. Namely, don't too eager to let go of my work to someone else before checking that everything is alright. Secondly, don't trust my thoughts and feelings to someone else. Who knows how far my conversation can go and to whom it might reach. I rather be unfriendly to all and stay away from them all. It's better not to know about other people's sordid affairs than to get wind of what daggers are pointing at my back. But to suffice to say, this issue had broken me again. I have to remember this well so I won't make the same mistake again.

So, future me. Read this again and again. And remember when you suddenly feel too good about yourself that somewhere, people are talking shit behind your back and there's nothing you can do about it.

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