Dear Matty: Loyalty Edition


Luperci the Brave and Loyal
Luperci the Brave and Loyal

“I don’t mind being called a liar. I am. I am a marvelous liar. But I hate being called a liar when I´m telling the perfect truth.” 
― Patrick RothfussThe Wise Man’s Fear

Dear Matty:

This sounds so high school and petty, but the other month I learned that some of my Azerothian friends were talking about me, and not in very kind ways. Now I know how they really feel, and  I’m left with the tough choice of losing out on everything we’ve been working toward: if we don’t get through Garrosh, I won’t get the wolf mount, and now new information has come out that the heirlooms are going away, too. Do I suck it up, keep my mouth shut, and stick with them though I know their opinions of me are negative? I thought they were cool, that they understood children, spouses, jobs, and other things come first. I know this is just a ‘game,’ but since it requires hours, communication, and dedication, I feel terrible. Matty, what should I do?

Distressed in Darnassus 

Dear Distressed,

Oh my dear, I totally understand. Your letter brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes I laugh to myself instead of a “days played” counter, we should have a ‘tears cried’ counter. As always, all I can do is share a personal story, and then you are free to choose your own path:

A few years ago, one of my closest friends told me what my new boss thought about me, that her first (and lasting to this day) impression is that I am “over-confident.” I have never confronted my boss about this directly, because I don’t want to betray my friend’s confidence. Some would think that it would have been better not to know what my boss thinks about me, but ultimately, it’s been my best defense. Even in a meeting this past week, her body language told me everything: she put both hands, palms down on the table, arms akimbo, and pushed her face forward and said, “Is there anything you think you CAN’T do right?” when I said one area on my evaluation was misjudged, and I brought mounds of evidence to support it. But I was not given the chance. Instead, I got teary and said, “Yes, there are many things I can’t do well, and many areas where I have seen I need to grow and learn.” Now, to be fair and full disclosure: I have said this many, many times. It goes unheard. I was an ART MAJOR for goodness sakes! One of my greatest skills, ironically, is knowing when something can be better, looking at things through a critical eye, and reflecting upon strengths and weaknesses. When I told this story to my book club friends this week, they immediately said, “Get out of there.” When someone is incapable of understanding you, your gifts, your contributions, and yes, weaknesses, and devalue you, it’s a terrible, intractable situation. Fortunately, I have many allies who do see me and my contributions for their worth, and my loyalties and focus are for them.

Of course–this over-thinking brings me back to her opinion. What is so bad about being “over-confident” anyway? Well, over-confidence means hubris, a blind eye to faults and mistakes. This is laughably not who I am. But it does bring up a subtext that is crazy: underlying sexism. I guarantee if I was male, that never would have been her assessment of me. But that is a battle for another day.

Ultimately, am I glad my friend told me what my boss thought about me? Yes–because without the truth, I would not find my resolve to continue to do the things well that I do, and work on the things I need to work on because they are the RIGHT THINGS TO DO. And I mean morally right, not “right” in that I never make mistakes, right from wrong. My boss is by her nature one of the most competitive persons I know, so much so this fixed personality trait has blinded her and made her sometimes an ineffectual leader. But there are others who have taken up that banner; that is not my fight. Am I honest with her? Yes. After I dry my tears. My kryptonite is confrontational people, but I’d rather deal with something head-on than being bitten by a snake in the grass.

You will have to decide: when you are victorious with the current group you’re with, and you look back on that victory tainted with the hurt and sadness, will it feel worthy? Or do you want to spend your time with good people who truly have your back, and are very open about when you need to work harder, or when you’ve done something right, and in both situations, cheer you on? Honesty is a double-edge sword though: if you want honesty from others, you must be honest, too. They will show their true colors when you take that risk, communicate, and try to resolve conflicts.

The choice is yours. Godspeed.









6 thoughts on “Dear Matty: Loyalty Edition”

  1. /hugs.
    One of our assistant team leaders told my boss that I’m effectively a spoilt princess* who throws her toys out of the pram whenever I don’t get my own way and that there is no point giving me training/promotions etc because I’m going to run back to Daddy/Mr Harpy when I get bored of pretending I want to work.

    Essentially a lot of managers really shouldn’t be in charge of anything and should be “ignored” 99 percent of the time. Yours sounds she belongs in the majority.

    *Every time I have to go and talk to him I take my bright pink “Princess” mug with me and wave it under his nose whilst talking about all the training my boss is sending me on.

    1. You’re spot on. CD Rogue reminded me that most managers of this sort are deeply insecure and in over their heads. Now I am in search of a pink princess mug. I am far from perfect, and in truth have no desire to be perfect– I find life is much more interesting when it gets a little crunchy.

  2. I’ll try not to rant but recently I’ve had to interact with humans more than I usually do. I’d forgotten how many have opinions based on little or incomplete knowledge and yet are more than willing to blare them out to all who will listen.

    I think more often than not the people who become bosses have the skill to get the job of boss, not the skill to be the boss. Dumbasses.

    I’m grumpy this morning, I’d better leave before I start with the fuckityfuckfuck talk. Anyway, down with dumbass bosses and yeah, anyone else who pisses me off today.

    1. You have much more to contend with right now that this silliness. I, too, suffer from the ffffffffff disease. It does relieve stress, however. Sending you shields of strength and swords of cutting through the bullshit.

  3. I feel you. I was betrayed by a former-guildmate-then-housemate who decided that humiliating me on Twitter was a good idea – I only found out about it through a comment by Aka. Needless to say, she was cut out of my life quick smart, luckily I was moving out of that house soon afterwards.

    On the one hand, I’m glad I found out her true colours, as it saved further embarassment later. And it does educate you on how much better you are than them – basic human decency and consideration is something that a surprising number of people lack. On the other hand it does tend to destroy your ability to trust people.

    I agree with you that “over-confidence” is not such a bad thing. It’s certainly better than being thought of as a spoilt princess like Erinys! You have to be wary of hubris, yes, but it can also allow you to achieve things you wouldn’t have without it.

    1. I still want that mug – maybe mine should say “HRH, STFU” It’s been an interesting year.

      You and I have folks like Aka who help us see and then take next steps. That rebuilds a lot of trust right there.

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