There is this new girl at work who is from a very strict family and they are sexist. So she’s 22 but she lives with her brother. Her curfew is 8pm. She’s never been clubbing, doesn’t know about most things. For example the other day she asked us “What’s Vin diesel?” (not who…what).
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When she first started I thought she was okay. But a colleague of mine who had to work with this girl, hated her. She would complain to me everyday about how she doesn’t listen and doesn’t know much excel and ask why they hired someone who was so dumb. Now I am not sure if this influenced me but the more I started getting to know this new girl thr more I judged her for her dumbness even though I haven’t personally seen her do anything dumb. I judged her for her culture (which, in the back of my head, I knew was hypocrytical because I come from the same culture where women have more restrictions than men.) I judged her for not standing up for herself. Eventually I couldn’t stand her. One wrong thing she would do and I would be on her case and pretty much scream at her. People started noticing at work… so I would justify it by saying she reminds me too much of my past. Why doesnt she stand up for herself? I would ask. I mean how can you live like you’ve come from under a stone all your life? Soon I influenced pretty much everyone working around me. We would send emails to each other about her and snigger. I usually instigated these emails. The new girl at first would ask us what we were all laughing about, we would make excuses, but she caught on. She went quiet at work. She didnt talk much. Her HIs and her byes stopped. Somedays I didnt even realise she was at work.
One day, I heard one of the managers talk to her and I realised that she was actually new to Australia. Possibly been here for less than 6 years. She didn’t know english when she got here so she learnt it herself. And just like that, that inner voice spoke a bit louder. I remembered the times I was bullied at school and in my first job. People would openly make fun of me for being Indian. I remebered the times growing up in a foreign country, and the cultural differences made me do and say what people in Australia would have considered weird and dumb. But the more they made fun of me the more quiet I would go and eventually I started hating myself.
I remembered all those horrible teenage years… the only thing I wanted, even now the only thing I want, is for someone to accept me for the way I am. Even if they don’t understand.
So, while it took a few more weeks, I stopped bitching, I stopped hating. I tried to see the world from her perspective. I smiled. I said Hi first. I made small conversations. I even requested the colleague of mine to just start fresh with the new girl again.
Its been a week and I can see her being more happy at work. Shes even improved at work so much so that shes working with me now on some big pricing files. Something I would have fought my managers for just a couple of weeks ago.
There’s a lot of lessons I learnt from this experience. There’s a lot we can all take from this. The best one was perspective…. it just takes one persons perspective to influence others however Persepective can sometimes start of on the wrong foot.