Square peg in a round hole
Hazel’s House is an online clothing store based in New Zealand. When she’s not attempting to source exclusive brands at non-exclusive prices, Hazel sometimes writes blog posts…
I’m not sure if I’m a square peg in a round hole, or more a round peg trying to squeeze into a square hole. A square peg in a round hole implies that I don’t have enough peg to fill the space, when in reality I think it’s the opposite – there’s too much peg to try and jam it all in, there’s parts of the peg that don’t really fit into most environments.
I don’t like to take life too seriously. Of course there are times when life is serious. Funerals are pretty serious. Although, at my Pop’s funeral, we were carrying his casket and my cousin got jammed between the church pew and the coffin. He was wedged firmly, and we came to a standstill part way up the aisle. My sister and I were at the front wearing ridiculously high heels (mum surprised us with the pall bearer news in the car on the way to the service), laughing our heads off and trying really hard not to drop Pop on the floor!
Anywho, I digress…I trained as an accountant, but had way too many quirks to be a good fit in a finance team, and so I moved into events – an industry that could surely handle an “interesting” personality? I’ve never worked in medicine or emergency services, no decision I’ve had to make at work has ever been life or death, panicking about whether someone’s in the office to sign cheques for the payment run, or whether the client wants 1.8m or 2.4m trestle tables, to me, that’s a total waste of energy.
I’m a bit of a vagrant, a drifter, and I don’t like to be “stuck” in one job for long, hence I have a habit of picking up contract positions. In my experience, employers tend to overstate the benefits of the job you’re applying for, and if it’s permanent, you get in there and you’re like “uh, this isn’t what I signed up for”. When you’re employed for a set period of time, you get in and you’re like “what the truck is going on here?” but at the same time you’re like “meh, only 26 weeks to go…”
Because of my commitment issues, I am often the “new girl” in the office. And as far as new girls go, I’m more often than not the one that everyone loves to hate (or at least they do a good job of pretending to during the “induction phase”). Never has this been more apparent, than when I returned home from the Gold Coast, I think it’s safe to say that my platinum blonde locks, perma-tanned skin and large collection of high heels, were somehow deemed offensive by my new colleagues at my “dream job”.
Six weeks into my new role, the GM at the time announced to the entire staff that the organisation was going through a complete restructure, that everyone’s jobs were going to be advertised. In due course we would have to re-apply and re-interview for our current positions, “however” he said, “in the interim, please carry on as usual, until we give you more details”.
Three months later, no further details had emerged about the “restructure” and we had carried on as normally as one can while waiting for the tap on the shoulder and the “excuse me miss, please collect your things, we’ll be escorting you to the carpark”. Anyway, one fateful afternoon I got called into my manager’s office where I was told that 95% of the staff didn’t like working with me. She said that since my arrival, staff morale had been terribly poor and that the office was not a nice place when I was in it.
I’m sorry, but could the low morale be less to do with the girl who doesn’t wear ¾ sneans and more to do with the fact that some time ago we were all told that we might be losing our jobs?!?
It was then I realised that sometimes the bullies from high school, they become the bully that is your boss. The conversation took me straight back to high school, where my best friend at the time took me aside and told me that everyone hated me, and the reason no one wanted to hang out with me was because I did my hair the same every day. In my defence, it was the late 90’s – before hair straighteners and smoothing serum, back when the only option for dry, wavy hair was a messy bun! Although…come to think of it, I still regularly resort to the messy bun, maybe that was the issue all along? Maybe my messy bun was the cause of the drop in morale and the bad vibe in the office?!?
Fast forward a couple of years, I’m nine weeks into my latest contract role, and it’s safe to say that I’ve inadvertently done a fair bit of cage rattling with my curious questions, quizzical stares and unusual obsession with lunging the length of the office. Advice from the big boss: “you need to tone it down”. My response: “this is as toned down as I get!!”
The comments from my round peg:round hole peers have been rolling in thick and fast;
“I hate people that use terms of endearment all the time. Words like ‘doll’ or ‘hun’” (I use “doll” well past the point of annoyance, I like to use “babes” for effect also)
“Do you know who you remind me of? Lady Gaga. Cos you’re crazy, weird and outspoken like her” (don’t be silly, I could never walk in those weird shoes and her make up is understated when compared to my every day office look)
“You need to invest in a filter, cos you just say whatever you feel like, whenever you feel like” (honey, I double filter in the car park before I walk into the office, you should hear what I’m saying in my head)
“You really need to find a job where you can be your own boss,’ cos you’re not very good at doing what you’re told” (this is simply not true! I have been known to do what I’m told…unless I think that my way will save me ssoooo much time and is therefore waaaay better)
“You should just sit down, shut up, get on with your job and stop trying to change the world” (adding two adjacent cells in Excel is hardly reinventing the wheel is it?)
And the one I hear the most: “are you eating again?!?! You’re ALWAYS eating!!!” (yes, yes I am, but I guarantee my daily calorie intake is less than the large bag of chips, block of chocolate and bottle of soft drink combo you consume daily, however, I’m too polite to bring that to your attention)
It wasn’t until the newest girl started (yes, five weeks in, and I wasn’t the new girl anymore – new record!) and she said to me “the world needs people like you, you make change happen cos you challenge the status quo”.
In five weeks, that was the first complimentary thing that anyone in the whole office had said to me, and I hadn’t noticed until it was said. That’s a bit sad isn’t it? How would a round peg:round hole deal with all that constructive criticism? Not well methinks, not well at all.
So the moral of the story: if you’re the person that regularly wears impractical high heels on days when flats would have been more appropriate, if you’re the one in the office who does things different to everyone else, but ends up with the same result, then you’re OK, OK? If you’re the one that never fails to spill toothpaste on a black top and routinely asks the questions that everyone would like an answer to, or if you’re the employee who genuinely struggles to adhere to the rules that everyone else has no issue following, remember: in the scheme of life, it really doesn’t matter. If it’s your internet usage that IS monitors with great interest because of all the weird and wonderful questions you ask Google, and if you’re the class clown who evolved into the office idiot, who needs constant supervision in client meetings in case you divulge highly confidential information, you should take pride in the fact that you’re giving someone a reason to get up in the morning.
You know what, the world really does need people like us. Admittedly society probably needs for us to be outnumbered by round peg:round hole types in order to function in a non-manic way, but there is definitely a place for us here, we really are OK. Don’t believe me? Just ask Jack, he sounds like he was a smart man.