I have a new job. It’s been some time coming.
The first challenge of managing any group of people for the first time is getting to know them. Getting to know what they want out of a position. What they want to accomplish. Who are internal leaders. Who I can count on.
One guy. He is in his early 50’s and works the least physical job in the building. He talks a good game. Tells me what he wants. He tells me how much he is willing to help the other part of the building. Fact is he is always late and does anything possible to ensure his job does not get finished in time so he can help anybody else.
Accountability is high on my list of action items.
We have some former co-workers in common. We’ve both been around that long.
He tells me the other day, “You know, you are a breath of fresh air.”
What else could I say? I thanked him for his kind words. I mean, the immediate assumption is that he likes my leadership style or what I bring to the building. That he appreciates me compared to the last couple of bosses (this company has had some turnover lately).
Then he continues to talk.
“There was that Walter guy. I asked him, ‘you’re not all white are you?'”
I squinted at him at this point.
“He told me no,” he continued. “I knew it. I’m the only white boy in this place!”
I’ll be honest. At this point, the first thing that went through my head was, Trump 2016!!!
Feeling uncomfortable with where the conversation went, I ended it quickly.
Talk about a 180 in feelings about words that are said. Going from feeling complimented to the understanding that I’m a “breath of fresh air” because I’m white. And he doesn’t understand how ridiculous that sounded.
He works with a guy who is a little over half his age, is black and likes pumping music very loudly. I did get this guy to limit the volume for all days but Saturdays.
This guy’s name is Rob and we had a discussion regarding music because there was one song (1) that I liked. It was a little trip hoppish in style and vocalist was pretty good. He gave me a name but that yielded nothing on google search so I think it’s bad information.
Rob told me he likes music with a message. He likes rap that informs him.
And the older guy today, because it is a Saturday, told me that Rob was trying to brainwash him.
I wanted to tell him that it was highly unlikely he could be brainwashed more than once. I wanted to tell him that his opinions were already formed from people who had horrible opinions long ago.
I told him that I could talk to Rob and ask him to turn the radio down. Or play something else.
I was told it was alright. Some people simply like to complain.
But there’s a pattern.
I’m not a fresh of breath air.
I’m simply not.
I am, from a distance, what he thinks he prefers.
When one thinks about who, or what, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee appealed to, look toward this clown. Look toward the hatred our society has for something that has no need being hated. It’s merely appearance.
I am this guy’s boss. I am Rob’s boss.
I am the boss of many people from different backgrounds and different races and different problems. I am not interested in any kind of cleansing.
I am interested in getting the job done as efficiently as possible.
I am interested in looking good from a work standpoint.
From what I’ve learned, I am a breath of fresh air. Really. Because I deliver.
I am also a fresh of breath air.
I am not interested in what this guy’s issues are with anything at all. As long as he does his job, I’ll be fine.
As long as everybody else is fine.