Whether you’re volunteering to keep yourself fully engaged in life while making positive contributions to society, or you’ve chosen to, or have to, rejoin the workforce - whatever you do, don’t panic about your new adventure. Learn how to cope and how to play the workplace games.
People use intimidation and upset to interrupt or impede your ability to be comfortable; fully participate in the workplace, and to be at your mental optimum. In Part II of my book, Aging Gracefully, I deal with "Empowerment and Intimidation Management,” giving a number of important strategies and techniques to deal with shenanigans – whether they be on purpose or not.
Stay on the alert to recognize these types of game players:
· The "Word Supplier"
· The “Word Corrector"
· The “Finisher of Sentences”
· The “Look That Is Meant To Embarrass You”
· The “Disrupter”
The “Word Supplier or “Word Corrector” is always waiting-in-the-wings to catch you pausing for a word, or perhaps mispronouncing a word, or using an incorrect word so they can jump right in to ‘help’ you. The last thing you want is that their ‘helpfulness’ implies something is wrong with your abilities. To nip-it-in-the-bud, your response to the know-it-all: Whatever, accompanied by a smile or accompanied by a gesture of dismissal.
The “Finisher of Sentences” is also waiting around like an understudy ready to push the leading lady or man off stage at any moment. To stop-them-in-their-tracks, your response to their rude behavior: Kindly refrain from finishing my sentences. I prefer to do that. And if the person who finished your sentence and was completely wrong in their assumption about what you were going to say then quickly turn the tables with: That’s not what I was going to say. You’re completely off topic.
And as for the incredibly impolite person who just has to flash ‘The Look That Is Meant To Embarrass You’ with their raised eyebrows, their holier-than-thou look, which seems to say, "Where in the world are you going with this?" or "What in heaven are you trying to say?" Your response: Stop right there. Of course laughing at them may do it, too.
“The Disrupter” is like a cheetah ready to pounce in a nanosecond, challenging something you are saying, disrupting your flow, steering you off topic, and manhandling the direction and conversation in a completely different direction. Your response, Go on…., (this indicates that you’re on to them and that you are giving them permission to continue), and then hold on tight to your thoughts and the points you want to make. (When a friend of mine does this, she holds her fingers out on one hand to help her remember every point she wants to make and with the other hand, she keeps track of counter points to The Distrupter’s conversation.) Another alternative is to hold up the palm of your hand or index finger to signal "Wait your turn,” or, “Hold on,” “In a moment," etc. Whatever you do, when you take over the floor in conversation, take your sweet time to get out everything you need to say.
Rude people are everywhere so it’s up to you to figure out your own style of verbal and non-verbal self defense. Some people will get the hint to back off from trying to take you on. Others are just ignorant fools and should be recognized as nothing more than specimens of character study or as fodder to be capitalized on at a later date, (such as being used for material in a book, play or blog)….
Eric Berne’s classic book, Games People Play
Suzette Haden Elgin, Ph.D.’s, You Can’t Say That to Me: Stopping the Pain of Verbal Abuse….
Mauricio Goldstein, Games At Work