Thursday, April 27, 2006

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I noticed that a coworker was in a jam today. Basically I told them "hey I see you're in a jam" in what I thought was a friendly, joking way and before I had a chance to offer to help them out, they blew up at me. They didn't need me coming up to them and giving them a hard time. Apparently they saw my approaching them as criticism. I tried to assure them that I was only there to offer help and they continued to rant at me about the problems that they had had today. I did not contribute to any of the hardships that they had suffered but I certainly took all of their anger. I apologized several times for upsetting them and with the help of another driver I got them out of the jam.

I was upset the rest of the day. Heck, I’m still upset seven hours later! I have always considered this person a friend. Not a close friend but someone that I enjoy working with. I have never criticized them, never had a reason to, we’ve spent a good amount of time joking around. I felt terrible, like I owed them an additional apology. I went out on my run upset and distracted wondering how I could have handled things differently.

But the more I thought about it the more I realized that I’m the one owed the apology. One of the problems they had dealt with that day I had dealt with too as had 50 percent of our staff. Yes it was frustrating and took extra time, but sometimes life’s a bitch. They would not have been in the jam they were in if other coworkers had done their jobs properly but this had nothing to do with me. Long before I got there they should have sought some remedy to the position that they were in rather than just sit there stewing. Had I not offered to help out, their situation would have had a domino effect that would have caused delays for others.

I certainly will never offer to help this person out again, however I will do what ever I can for them if they ask. I have always believed in team work but that does not seem to be the norm here. The question is should I bother to offer help to anyone in the future? Or should I just mind my own business unless asked?


  1. I've had this happen to me as well. Sometimes people are just naturally angry and defensive, especially under stress. You made the offer. You did the right thing, but you can't control people's reactions.

  2. Awww, this is a shame...

    Perhaps give it a day or two and consider wiping the slate clean...?

    You mentioned you considered this person a friend, so maybe if you give them the benefit of the doubt this time?

    Don't let this person's bad day & behaviour change your outlook on the world :)

  3. Don't let one bad apple spoil the bunch. Keep doing what you've always done...which apparently is being helpful and friendly.
    Your 'friend' could very well be feeling guilty for blowing up at you, and may end up apologizing eventually.

  4. Anonymous6:46 AM

    Very pretty site! Keep working. thnx!