“Why don’t you play the game?”

We all want to be liked, but by putting popularity over principles you’re missing out on a version of yourself that’s even better than getting the nod from the in-crowd. What’s not to like about that?

This is a quote from an article in the latest Fairlady. It came shortly after a friend posted something on FB about arrogant people and the people who enable them in a work environment.

My comment on her thread got me lots of laughs but it is so true. I related the story of a colleague asking me why I don’t play the game at work as in their opinion, I can be *so much more*. I have never been one of the popular kids at school or work and that is fine. The comment that got me all the laughs was this: ‘N Kollega vra my gister hoekom ek nie ‘die game’ by die werk speel nie. Volgens haar kan ek ‘so much more’ wees. Want ek WIL NIE. It is not who I am. Ek sien hoe ander kollegas se koppe diep in hierdie ‘weet jy wie ek is’ mense se gatte is en weet jy, ek dink om jou kop in ‘n anner mens se gat te he behoort net by geboorte te gebeur. Once jou kop uit jou ma se lyf is, hoort dit nooit weer in ‘n anner mens se lyf nie.

Don’t get me wrong, I have tried playing the game but I have always felt like such a fake that I stopped long before I could “reap the benefits and be so much more”. I clearly remember the times I tried playing the game and how far from my authentic self I felt. I really don’t know how one sustains that level of lack of authenticity. Not for me. I don’t have the stomach for it.

And as a people watcher, it’s fascinating to watch colleagues play the game. Mostly I am smacked of gob, but also sad to watch how they slowly lose their soul and become just another little drone. And I can’t help but think what lessons they think they are teaching their kids. Because kids, as we very well know, learn by what they see you do. Not what you tell them to do or what you say they do.

Thomas has taught me so much though. The way he handles rejection on the playground and how he always does his best to include the stragglers and awkward kids. My heart cockles are warmed. 🙂

And you know what? I am comfortable being a “social outcast” in the “game” at work because home is my happy space. I don’t come to work for validation and acceptance. That happens at home. All the time. At work, I do what I love to do, have a few laughs with like-minded colleagues and look forward to returning to my persons at home. And being the best version of me means the joyful reunion that happens after a day apart, is waaaaay better than the soul-destroying “play the game” version of me coming home with the inevitable issues and baggage that entails.


7 thoughts on ““Why don’t you play the game?”

  1. halberts2014

    Oh, I agree with you so much. I come to work to work, not to be anyone’s friend. Yes, call me a biatch, but at least my work is done, and done acurately. Like you, I have a laugh with a colleague that is of the same mind and we get one well. We watch the others clown around not doing much of anything really.
    I can’t stand fake people and tend to stay away, if I can.

  2. runnermum

    Yep – my happy place is also at home with my people. I’ve realised this year that they are the most important and therefore the people I should focus on. Funny I bought the Fairlady yesterday, just for that article.

  3. Sumanda Maritz

    I have been lucky in the fact that I never really needed to play the game. When you’re working with a team of people that all have the same goal without anyone needing to out perform the others, you are left with an environment that negates the game. Or maybe I was just too clueless to see it 😄
    However the single time that I did left me feeling like a bad person. The only way I could extract myself from the situation was by breaking off all socializing with colleagues even during office hours.
    Because of that lesson, I am outside the cat fights, able to be assertive where my work was concerned and still able to be sociable.


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