Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Dignified but not Defensive

The giant dumpster at work gets emptied at noon on Tuesdays.
By Monday night it's overflowing, and all our smaller rolling trash cans are lined up by the door, waiting for room.

BELOW: Emmler & graffiti on dumpster 

Yesterday, Tuesday, after the dumpster got dumped, I rolled the trash cans outside. I'd dumped one, when my coworker Jahar appeared.
He'd seen me taking the cans out and come to help me. 

"Some people lazy as hell," was all he said.

It was extremely nice to have help--the thoughtful camaraderie really lifted my spirits. It's unusual in my workplace, especially coming like this––out of the blue, unasked for. As I've commented before, my coworkers tend to have an 'everyone for themselves' (save your strength) survival attitude.

Jahar is an impressive guy, very dignified but not defensive, and a bit of a mystery to me.
He doesn't complain volubly, unlike most of us, though he will make small pointed comments, like the one above.
Within a couple weeks of his arrival, he had slid into running the neglected electronics donation area. Electronics is anything with a plug, from curling irons to chandeliers to snow blowers, and it's been a mess the entire time I've been at the store.
Now it's not.

Why is a good worker like Jahar in a dump like my workplace?
There are others. Grateful-J is one, but everyone knows why-- he frequently talks about his personal problems that led to him being here.
(And there's me. But would I still be there if it weren't for my love of BOOK's? Probably not?) 

I've asked Jahar about himself, but he's not very forthcoming.
I wonder if his religion is a factor in his calm and together presentation.

He's an African-American Muslim––around my age––and he grew up in an African-American Muslim family.
All the other Muslims I've known
grew up in families who'd come from Muslim-majority countries (like Turkey, Indonesia, Somalia), or they converted as adults (not that I know him, but like my state's attorney general, Keith Ellison (the first Muslim to be elected to Congress).

Jahar is dignified but not defensive, as I said---I was amazed that he answers when Mr Furniture calls him Idi Amin (though I gather he's let Mr. F that he doesn't agree with him, politically). He has a natural authority because he's not knocked off balance, and because he takes personal responsibility. And he doesn't ask for permission to do things that need doing.

Dignified but not defensive--that's it. That's what impresses me most about Jahar. It's entire opposite of Ass't Man, who complained constantly; rarely acted on his own; told people what to do but exuded lack of authority. 
And I tend to be touchy, easily offended by slights. I would like to stop that.

It's more dignified not to fight for one's dignity, but simply to maintain it, calmly, whatever you're doing, including dumping the trash.

2 comments:

gz said...

Respect.
A valuable team member

Fresca said...

Yes! We don’t really have a team, so his attitude is extra valuable! 😀