Last week while having a Cuban dinner in Miami, one of my colleagues and I got into an argument. We weren’t yelling or raising our voices, but it was obvious we were having a huge disagreement around roles and responsibilities, and who should be speaking about what during our scheduled Friday meeting with a customer. I tried really hard to be controlled and not to make this a personal issue, and in the end, we eventually did come to a semi consensus and let the meeting go where it went. Today, he called me to discuss follow-up items from the meeting, who should take charge of what, and also… to apologize for arguing with me. He said he wasn’t in a good head space, was having some personal issues (I recently learned that one of his best friends died from cancer), and that he was a bit scatter brained as a result and inadvertently took it out on me and didn’t mean to.
I’ve had a couple heated arguments at my last job, a company and job I never truly respected, and they were always hostile, rooted in sexism, probably racism, and hierarchical bullshit that I’ll never quite agree with. They never, ever ended in an apology, not even the slightest, even when the other person was clearly out of line and overstepped his bounds (and even got called into HR for a formal talk). The people, particularly the men in inflated roles, never really had any self-awareness, and they refused to admit they were wrong.
I will probably have many more disagreements with colleagues while I am here… because I am not a doormat, and that’s okay as long as everyone is still smart, ambitious, respectful, and driven to do the right thing, and wants the best for this business. I kind of believe that really is the case here. I never believed that to be the case where I left. It’s almost like I’m so much more grateful for what I have now because I always had to deal with so much garbage at the last place. When I get mad at work now, it’s rarely because I think people are stupid. It’s never because I think they are sexist (I have yet to feel even an inkling of that). This feels like a good place.