My landlord came to fix a blind. As he was leaving, the evening breeze drifting in, he said, “Its the full moon today, or maybe yesterday, do you get cranky with the moon?” “I’m cranky all the time!” I said. Not because that’s true, it isn’t, it just made for light banter.
But cranky sparked a flood of remembrance of the meeting this afternoon at the office, when tempers had flared and scathing barbs were hurled around the room. Seething anger and frustration hung heavy in the air. People who felt trapped or stuck and dissatisfied, clanged and crashed against each other. A hurting feeling crept up in me. Is this acting out what we commonly call office politics?
Later a colleague who has my back said to me, “You have to develop a thick skin.” I know where he’s coming from, but I don’t want any such thing. A thick skin is to dull my sensitivity and connection to my self. To switch off my ability to discern when the behaviour in the room is bizarre, off the wall, confounded, ugly, adults playing out their confused emotions like children.
Was it crankiness, the moon that made me hypersensitive today? I don’t know. The workplace though can feel like a war zone, the top generals fighting with cruelty and dirty tricks, and dishonest spin to hold flimsy power. It’s the dirty business of politics, but need it be?