People around me think I’m a pain in the butt

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female company employee in my 50s. People around me seem to think that I’m a pain in the butt.

I have always had a strong sense of justice and I’m the type that wants to see things in black and white. These sorts of feelings have never changed, so I get into trouble wherever I go.

But why is it wrong of me to speak out whenever I see something that I believe isn’t right?

Recently, I was at my workplace where I had just started my part-time job, and I thought that our work would go more smoothly if we changed the way things were done. So I made some suggestions to the manager that would improve our workflow. However, apparently the longtime employees didn’t like what I suggested. After that, I was treated as a nuisance and had to quit my job.

Newcomers have to close their eyes even when they find something wrong. I’m really fed up with this society. I’ve also realized that honesty doesn’t pay. How can I overcome this difficulty in living?

— O, Niigata Prefecture

Dear Ms. O:

Are you the type of person who can’t help but say what you think? When you feel something is wrong, do you ever question whether it is actually wrong?

You said that you can’t help but clearly look at a situation in black or white. However, there are times when things are neither black nor white, but gray. What would you do then?

If you only judge matters according to your own senses and criteria, you are likely to act rashly and in excess. If you speak or act without thinking about the consequences, you will easily get into trouble.

I don’t know what kind of recommendations you made to your manager. However, might you have offended the longtime employees because of a lack of consideration for them?

I think you would have another option to recommend to the manager after listening to the opinions of your colleagues. I don’t think they criticized you for being cocky simply because you were a newcomer.

It’s probably a matter of procedure. Even when the right thing is done, procedures need to be followed accordingly.

It is crucial to show consideration. Whether you can do this could test your personality and nature.

— Tatsuro Dekune, writer