The Toxic Individual

I was reminded again this week of the negative effect some individuals can have on life. A few days ago, we were delivering a special piece of custom woodwork design to a client and were really pleased at how the entire design had come out. 

A minor functionary at this company saw the piece and immediately remarked that it wasn’t what she expected at all. She went on to make more disparaging remarks that might have floored me a few years ago or prompted me to engage her in an argument.

My wife, Gretchen, and I looked at each other and merely nodded. The only reason we were able to ignore this chilling reception is that we have encountered this type of person before.

For whatever reason, this kind of person must immediately squash and invalidate any creative effort in their vicinity. They can even seem quite pleasant at first, but they show their true colors when you propose something new or untried.

These people are pure poison for artists, writers, or anyone who creates anything on their own. Any artist who fails to recognize and avoid this kind of person might as well kiss their career goodbye.

I continued to install the piece while Gretchen found and engaged the actual owner of the company in discussion. As we had expected, she was overjoyed at the results. (She had participated in the initial design discussions and had been consulted on every major change.)

When the owner made a point of telling the minor functionary that the design was exactly what was ordered, this didn’t faze the toxic individual at all. She merely sniffed and went back to shuffling papers. I could see her thinking, "Just wait, some day I will be in control…".

I thought to myself, not very likely.

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