So, for weeks, people keep scheduling a meeting at the worst possible time for me. Sometimes I come, sometimes I don't ... depending on whether or not I can toss my schedule for this meeting. But every time, I send a polite note to the organizer, letting him know about the conflict and how it's really not helpful for me.
And today, it happens again ... and I go absolutely postal on email, sending my rage to everyone in the group. (I'd been fighting with PowerPoint all afternoon, so I was in a surly mood to begin with.) So ... at the next meeting, one of the agenda items is to discuss alternate meeting times.
Result: after all of the negative reinforcement I received for being polite, I've just received positive reinforcement for being a pain in the @$$.
Now I understand how people like that emerge. Because this isn't the first time this has happened. And the more reinforcement I get for being a pain in the @$$, the more likely it is that I'm going to react the same way the next time. Because it gets results.
I'm really struggling against this. Recently, I've been in other settings in which I've headed off potential conflict by being overly polite, and in those situations, it's worked out wonderfully. But the more I see that people respond when I'm an @$$, the more likely it is that I'm going to be one.
And I don't want to be that guy.