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?