You know that moment when you suddenly realize that (Insert random person) is someone you have no respect for? I call that a Respect Epiphany. Whether the person is spiteful/gossipy/mean/etc, all of a sudden you realize that you have lost all respect for them as a person.
Let me tell you that feeling can be an eye opening revelation. At first, you almost feel like a weight has been lifted, like you don’t understand why you tried for so long to maintain a good opinion of them. But then the world crashes back in on you when you realize that you have to keep working with this person. Even worse, despite your feelings, at no point can you EVER let on that this is how you really feel.
“Why not?” you may ask. Well, it’s because it doesn’t matter how horrible of a person they are and how much everyone else will agree with you on it, if you start treating someone in a professional environment with disrespect, YOU are the one in the wrong. Sucks, but true. When you are in a work setting, you need to be able to set personal feelings, likes/dislikes aside and build professional relationships even with those that you wouldn’t have anything to do with outside of work.
Everyone deserves to have a positive work environment, even if they seem to be actively trying to create a negative one themselves. Everyone deserves the minimum level of your respect, simply as another human being. After all, even if you don’t respect them, you care enough about them not to want to see them hurt. Or at least I hope you do.
But there is a plus side to all this:
- It teaches you how to be self-aware in how you treat and respond to others.
- Your professionalism will only help you look better in comparison.
- And If you find that you just can’t handle being around them anymore, you can always move on knowing that you have kept your professional reputation intact.
Ultimately, the only person you can control is yourself. So if you find that you can’t respect someone at work, it’s not their problem, it’s yours. How you move forward as an adult and a professional is all up to you. Just keep in mind that your decision will also impact how others view you.