I thought Manners Maketh Man?

When is the Cost too High?

There is something to be said about pursuing your dreams.  In the current culture and environment - since our whole economy is just weird now - a 'gig' economy as it were... there is even more push and encouragement to "follow your desire" to "do what you love" and all the other platitudes that go with it.


The response and research on paper give you the same information.  Yes, it's a freeing existence, you are your own boss, you set your own schedule, you are the master of your own ship, etc.  There is a gentle but constant cautionary that of course - this will involve hard work, this will involve persistence, this will involve probably being broke and panicky for a while.


I find myself at an impasse (due to recent events) wondering if it is too late to back out.  This pursuance of doing something I love to do is costing so much - not pure $$$ but I mean... my life, my relationship, my feeling of self worth.  I am faced with the decision...


Do I continue to pursue this and hope that I come out relatively okay... and possibly end up fulfilling my life's dream... but also with the chance that I'll continue to be screwed until I'm left rotting on the side of the road and my dream is never realized?


Or do I quit while I'm still not totally at a loss and go back to a mediocre job that I hated with a passion (because of the corporate aspect) - but that assures me a steady paycheque and benefits?


Currently all I feel and all I can think is that while I'm floundering, trying to find my footing in this business is that I'm not contributing to the household.  I'm broke.  I'm currently depending solely on my partner to hold me up and essentially feed me and put a roof over my head.  This sucks.  This not who I am.  The moment I moved out of my parents place I always told myself I would fend for myself.  I just feel like a leech.  A useless... leech.

Well this is dark.  WTF happened?

Originally I was scared but hopeful.  I was doing what needs to be done... I was readying to do a new, professional demo with a mentor I trust and get priceless advice from.  A mentor who is straight with me, but also more patient with me than I think I deserve.  I practiced and auditioned for several roles/casting calls every single day.


I also thought to myself "Be kind to others, help bolster other people up - they need to know that they're doing well too".  So I tried... and I got punished for it.


I told an admin at a studio that she had been doing a great job - that I had seen some news about the company where she worked and I thought she had a great idea.  I congratulated her - a short sentence or two, simply saying "congratulations".  I was hoping it would be hopefully an opening salvo to friendship, maybe?


I received a copy-pasted reply/speech that she was looking after her mental health by separating work and personal life and that anything related to work, unless it's a dire emergency should be directed to her work email only.

  • Was I asking her about scheduling?  No.
  • Was I asking about future projects and information about them? No.
  • Was I asking her actually, for anything? No.
The lesson learned here is "Do not be nice to people - they hate you anyhow"
The lesson learned here is "Do not be nice to people - they hate you anyhow"

I guess I was a little taken aback - I didn't realize that congratulating someone for a job well done, or saying "I'm glad you got the promotion" constituted as infringing on their need to separate work and personal.  It seems that my congratulatory remark was offensive to her and was a sign of disrespect for her need to separate the two.  I guess it also gave me a clear door-slam answer that "I'm not your friend, I'm never going to be your friend.  I see you as a work 'thing' and anything you say to me should not be tainting my personal life".  


I mused and wondered if she directed any friends/family who said "congrats on gaining recognition at work" or "Congrats on the raise" or something like that were also directed to say that only through the work email.  I guess not.   So instead of saying "Thank you for the congratulations" I was redirected to... what... congratulate her by email instead?  Or was this her telling me that she was finding me offensive already?


Well, I got the feeling that... I couldn't exactly take it back, and writing to her again through her personal media to say "I'm sorry I didn't realize this congratulations was supposed to go elsewhere" wasn't going to make anything better... I essentially couldn't reverse the egregious error I had apparently made by sending the kudos to the "wrong place".


So to respect her wishes I did not contact her again - she had made it pretty clear she did not nor did she want to include me as a 'personal friend'. 


I thought I was following her request to the letter.
I thought I was following her request to the letter.

The next time I wrote to her, was to her work email as I had a simple request to be added to a mailing list to be advised of any events coming up, so that I may attempt at participating or trying out.  She needed my full name - which was already registered in their system, as I had done a job there before - but she wanted it in my email so it was easy to find.


I acquiesced and immediately made the changes.  I even wrote back to ensure she knew I had done exactly as she had asked, apologized for not doing it before and that I hope that this  made things easier.

I got no response.  As a by the way - the request did not read like:


"I will require your full name and contact to be clearly available in both your email and email address in how it appears when received"... instead, she decided to sandwich it in the format of passive-aggressive-threat, unnecessarily specific denial of dislike followed by the request then a compliment.


The structure essentially went (paraphrase) - that she would honestly be passing me over and not adding/considering me for anything, that not having my full name was putting me at a huge disadvantage - then - to please remember this is not a snobby thing or a personal attack, but that they need a full legal name and contact readily available in the email - but hey, she liked the branding of "De Voice".


Everything sounds just a little more sinister and "screw off" when you phrase it like that...
Everything sounds just a little more sinister and "screw off" when you phrase it like that...

This was unnecessary.  Did she really need to specifically tell me that she was going to dismiss me as a possibility?  Did she really need to tell me that I'm a screw up?  Could she really just have said "Full name necessary.  Please apply"?   Oh... and what a weirdly specific denial "So, don't take this as snobby or a personal attack, 'cuz it's not!" - I would never have thought that... but... thank you for spelling that out.... it's like the movie villain saying: 'Remember, I'm not the bad guy in this film.  I'm REALLY NOT the bad guy.' - yes... I get it... you hate me. 


Let's not continue trying to connect with her.  She clearly wants nothing to do with you.




So by the point... the message is pretty clear.  For whatever reason, I have now deeply offended this person and they just dislike me, they do not want to converse with me, my emailing them or contacting them is just abhorrent to them.  I'm sorry, let me remove myself from contacting them.

 Do I still need work?  Yes - of course I do.  Is being nice, polite and asking questions to make sure I'm doing the right thing helping at all? 


Apparently not. 


This is apparently just pissing this particular person off.  It felt like this:


Me: "Hey, good job! Your idea was awesome!" 

Response: *SLAP* How dare you?


Me: "May I please be a part of your mailing list?"

Response: *SLAP HARDER* Your request offends me.  Just to be clear, I never intended to give you the time of day, and by the way you're a screw up.  Fix it.


What am I supposed to do in this case?  As a said above - I followed the instructions immediately and without question.  I wrote back thanking her for the advice - and realized that me thanking her and following her instructions likely made no difference.  


I tried to be as accommodating and as "easy" as possible.  I was trying my damndest to be as inoffensive as possible, I was trying to be considerate, ensuring she knew that I had done everything asked for.

If you're wondering, yes, by this time saying I'm feeling like a doormat would be an improvement to how I was actually feeling.
If you're wondering, yes, by this time saying I'm feeling like a doormat would be an improvement to how I was actually feeling.

So I asked her coworker - who was recently hired and was very proud to announce all the things she is responsible for as part of her job.  I made the same mistake.  I congratulated her on getting a job/promotion/raise - which she did receive and which was open knowledge.


I showed an interest in what she does, why?  I wanted to support her, let her know that yes, her job means something and that yes, it is interesting.  She happily and readily rattled off all the duties she was responsible for - which included a whole lot of liaising and speaking with people - while also scheduling.  She was very proud of her position and all the responsibilities that were her call, in her power. 


Rightfully so - I completely support being proud of what you have and pride in one's own work.


I asked for her *WORK* email address (not personal, that's just creepy).  I told her straight up the reasoning so she would know where I'm coming from:


a.) So I can send her an official congratulations as a contractor who has worked there before and hopes to work there again in the future

b.) So that my email address is in her system and it does not file any queries I send her to the junkmail bin by accident.


She didn't wish to give me her email address - but instead of simply stating that - she said "Yeah, I don't know it."  I asked if I may write her a single message to her other social media account to confirm it with her when she is somewhere she can reference it (the work email) - to which she nodded.  She started directing the conversation as to why I wanted to write to her, as she was only there part time currently.


I told her honestly that I didn't feel that her coworker - who has similar responsibilities - was very fond of me and I did not feel welcome, also that her coworker likely did not want to hear from me and I didn't want to upset her further, so could I please write to (the part time person) instead.

Really was trying for the warm fuzzies - no one likes to start a new venture alone, unsure - without meaning.  I was reaching out a hand...
Really was trying for the warm fuzzies - no one likes to start a new venture alone, unsure - without meaning. I was reaching out a hand...

When I wrote her a message on her social media a day later (like I said I would) simply asking to verify her work email and also complimenting her on her prowess at navigating the social scene the other day... I essentially got the response of (paraphrased):


  • I don't want to give you my work email.
  • you make me uncomfortable
  • I think my coworker was perfectly nice to you
  • I'm not recommending you for anything - oh but by the way this is totally not personal!


In short - it was another "piss off" message.  Which is even more alarming as this person... whose entire job pretty much revolved/revolves around being able to problem solve, liaise, communicate and diffuse all types of situations... was blatantly telling me she never wanted to communicate with me at all and somehow... again... congratulations and compliments just... made me enemy #1.


So warning that "you will do this OR ELSE..." and "I'm not personally attacking you BUT..." is now considered polite explanation?
So warning that "you will do this OR ELSE..." and "I'm not personally attacking you BUT..." is now considered polite explanation?

I spoke with a few people about this... wondering what I could do.  I felt terrible.  Somehow, while trying to be positive and support others... they just ended up hating me.  Shutting me out, shutting me down.  Advice I got?  Advise their boss of what happened and see if he can clear things up or let me know if I had bungled up and what I can do to help.


The result - with no further details was that he thought I was unreasonable and was cutting me off and blacklisting me from that studio in entirety.  My feelings of being shut out, shut down and hurt he saw as signs of being a difficult and unreliable individual - and that my hurt was offensive to him. 


He felt I was not supportive of mental health in the workplace (which makes absolutely no sense...especially if you know my history) and that the cohesion of his team was in jeopardy so he's cutting me off.  He also thought that the "We're going to pass you over unless you do this thing to your email" was a perfectly good and polite way to respond to a simple request.


Where is there hope that this career is going anywhere if this is what happens?  What recourse do I have?  I'm not insane enough to think that being RUDE and CRUDE is going to get me anywhere - what other avenue do I have?


What do you do when you are nice ... when you are polite... and instead of indifference (which I could handle), you get punished?  Is passive-aggressive threatening but ending on a compliment considered polite and pleasant these days?  I don't know.  I want to give up.  I want to go to sleep and not wake up - I want it to be over.