He had felt somewhat put upon at work on Friday because some of the other employees became unavailable to lead their groups and he got stuck with some disrespectful clients. It seems like people (both employees and clients) are testing the new employee's boundaries.
Eventually we had a reasonable conversation about what had been frustrating for him, and I added my two cents about some people I have known who may have personality disorders. Clearly, there are some people who just don't get it (and apparently don't want to get it) in terms of how to treat other people. While initially it may be shocking that there are people who expect to get away with that sort of thing, unfortunately it just becomes predictable behavior on the part of certain individuals, and the only way to deal with it is to try to keep as much distance from them as possible.
I also shared some thoughts about my experiences at the university where I gave an invited lecture last month. It was a rare and different experience to feel appreciated. I'm trying to remind myself of what that felt like, and I am also planning to keep lines of communication open with people at that university in case there might be an employment opportunity there in the future, or even opportunities for some sort of collaboration with people there.
I spoke with one of my colleagues recently and she expressed frustration at being "lectured to" by the colleague who was formerly my faculty mentor. This reinforced for me that there has been an awful lot of pretentious, patrician, patronizing behavior on the part of some of my colleagues, and that it feels awful to be on the receiving end of that shit. I explained to the colleague who was telling me about this behavior that I have gradually adopted a position of avoidance whenever possible, and then wondered if there might be something wrong with me, and if I might be the negative one, and if I might be missing out on something. She said, "No, you're not missing anything."
I came to campus today and ran into two employees from an agency for which I had done some work over the last several years. I'm stepping down from that position in order to try to find more time for research and for mentoring students. These employees both praised my writing and said they were sorry to see me step down from the position. Nobody in my department praises my writing. My colleagues ignore me, and the students complain that I'm overbearing with my feedback on their work. If I am good at writing, it would be nice if I could find more time to apply that skill to my research, and possibly to more grant proposals as well.
Am I really the negative one here? I really need to question that. Clearly, everything exists in a context, and in some contexts I may actually be quite negative. But then again, it could just as easily be other people who are choosing to be negative.