Driving into work this morning I heard one of my old co-workers from my previous job talking to a radio host on the air. This man has been in the business for 35+ years and is a true ace when it comes to traffic reporting and relating to others on the radio. His conversation with the host exhibited his extreme knowledge, affability and humor. Such a pleasure to listen to, yet it’s bittersweet, as that ex-co-worker and I didn’t part ways on a positive note; in fact, he was one of the people who helped make my decision to leave the old place a no-brainer.
It really sucks when people put up a good front for the masses, yet act like complete douches behind the scenes. It’s not that this person and I butted heads constantly, but when you get along only 50% of the time, that’s really nothing to brag about.
He had a habit of pushing my buttons, whining incessantly about the most trivial things, and constantly condescending others, whether it was someone in person or someone on the TV in the studio. His on-air personality was the polar opposite of his curmudgeonly demeanor off air.
He exhibited misogynistic traits — “Listen, Sweetheart….,” he snarled at me one morning when we were in an argument. I cut him off with “Don’t call me ‘sweetheart!’,” and that shut him up for a bit. “Quit-cher Bitchin’!,” he replied another time when I asked him to please keep his voice down (his loud voice was always going out over my air).
When you work with a difficult individual you tend to second-guess yourself. “Is it me? Do I bring it out in this person?” Fortunately I was not alone in my views of this guy, and I’ll admit that gave me a sense of empowerment anytime he and I had a disagreement.
I was one of the few people who would stand up to this person. I believe upbringing has a lot to do with how you handle people, and since I had an older brother who (thanks to my dad) never really learned to treat girls and women with respect, I learned early on how to defend myself. This co-worker — antagonist that he was — would start something with me, and most of the time I would finish it, by putting him in his place. If I had to sum it up, I’d say he was an arrogant, chauvinistic bully.
One time, when something ridiculous came flying out of his mouth (again), I said, “CW, I want to invite you to one of my dinner parties!” He said, “Oh, yeah?” I said, “Yeah; because when I entertain my friends with CW stories, they think I’m making this shit up!”
It’s been almost a year since I have had to deal with that toxic person, but it’s amazing how still very fresh some of his barbs and unacceptable behavior are in my mind. I don’t mind listening to him on the radio, however, and should we run into each other at some media event, I’m thinking there’s a chance we’ll be cordial to each other.
I know that he isn’t the only person in the media who comes across as respectable and nice in the public eye (and the public ear), but just as easily acts like a jerk behind the scenes — Hollywood is full of much more high-profile phonies; my only assumption is that in spite of their positive outward appearance, such people are truly very frustrated and angry underneath it all. It’s up to us to protect ourselves from people that try and suck us into their vortex of negativity, whether that means ignoring them altogether or better yet (and as I managed to do) moving on.