life is wearing me thin

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member is my long vent.

    There is a girl that I was trying, as her manager, to counsel on poor work performance. She blew up at me and stormed out of the store. The next day, the actual store manager decided that we needed to talk with her, as him being the "mediator" and with the intent being "conflict resolution" per my companies protocol. Ummm.....I don't remember doing anything wrong??? And I need a mediator? But because she had a problem. Umm - OK.

    So I apologized, with everything I could muster - and then asked her how I could be a better communicator for her to be able to really here what I am trying to say.

    We talk for a bit - and I say something about the company needing her to be at a different level with her work ethic. She blows up again. Red faced, clenched fists, spittle. I, again, sit there flabbergasted - and my manager says, "well, Willow, maybe level is not the right word exactly. X, what Willow probably means is blah, blah, blah."

    OK. I bite my cheek, literally until it bleeds, so I do not loose it.

    Another 2 rounds of this scenario, and I just shut up, and proceed to bite the end off a bright pink high liter - while nodding, trying to smile, and agreeing with whatever the 2 of them said. The minute it ended I went to my car and sobbed. Big, convulsive sobs. Not really tears - just big heaving sobs. It was horrible.

    I am worried that -
    A) I am so much more emotional than I used to be. I really thought I was just going to burst into tears and lose my ****ing mind. It scared me.
    B) I know I felt unbelievably emotional because I felt demeaned, unsupported - and is if I was getting in trouble for something I did wrong (although I did nothing wrong) in front of not just a peer, but my employee.
    C)This girl literally hates me. HATES me. And I have no idea why. The resolution to the situation is that "she will do what I say because I am her boss."
    But there was not love in that statement, obviously.
    At the end she turns to me, and says, I would appreciate it, if when you talk to me you use " I statements". Uh, what are we in a therapy session???

    I went back to my manager, and told him how this all made me feel. He apologized and told me that I was a great leader, and communicator, and that obviously this girl really, really does not like me, although he could not figure out why.
    Um OK........then why did you tell me I was "not using the right words" in front of her, and placate her with whatever she wanted to hear?
    He answered me in another apology, and a convoluted answer - and then told me to choose every word I use with her very carefully, and it should not be a problem.

    Just give me a gun! Choose every word carefully? What should I do, run my words by the local psychiatrist for screening?

    I mean........I did not tell her to jump off a cliff, or call her names, nor was I even rude or my tone abrasive. One of the words I used that made her mad was when I told her she was not being a "team player" when she goofs off all day. My manager, was like, well maybe we should not use that word either Willow.........

    So now, I am going to go close the store tonight with this gem of a person. And I just want to throw something. I need nothing else to repress, I really don't. And I don't need to feel emotionally threatened or bullied in my work place, as I already do at home with difficult child. I really don't. I am so, so disappointed. And yes, this is the same place, where last week I had to fire someone and he physically threatened to hurt me. And you know what? This is supposed to be one of the best companies in America to work for. Sooooooo dissapointed, and sad.

    If you got this far - thanks for listening.
  2. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    Is she the boss's daughter???? The companies I worked for wouldn't put up with such behavior.....if you can't understand "team player" or its offensive to hear your short comings.....there won't be improvement in her job performance. Why are people placating this girl? If she is selling or whatever she must be doing a heck of a job to put up with this it a job that no one else can or wants to do? I don't get it........
  3. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Does she have naked pictures of your boss or what??? This is unreal.

    Women cry. That's what we do. Pick up the January copy of Ladies Home Journal. There is an article in there on this very topic. I think you'll find it enlightening and comforting.
  4. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I am SO glad you guys understand!!!
    No, she is not the bosses daughter, but she does seem to be the "untouchable" person on the staff that everyone likes - the one everyone hangs out with after work, the one that always has 4 employees gathered around her telling the latest "story". But she does absolutely no work. None!!! I guess I am the first one that has attempted to "touch" her, and challenge her to do better - and now I guess we see why.
    Seriously crazy making!
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I answered on your other post.

  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Om my... if she were me, I'd be canned!

    So sorry. Hopefully she'll get fed up with this job and find another, soon.
  7. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    Willow, the only thing I can think of (from personal experience) is that there may be an HR angle that your boss has to cover. Do you work for a big company? If so, there are definite rules that have to be followed when dealing with problem employees.

    Unfortunately, these rules usually put a lot of stress and strain on the supervisor as well. Sad, but true.

    If you want, two of my horror stories for counterpoint:

    (a) I was working as the team chief for a group of programmers at the Pentagon. I had one programmer who had very low skills, but for some reason had a very high-profile project (software used by USAF and Congress during budgeting). I took over the team just before the new budgeting cycle started, and we were due to get the latest version of the software out for use by a strict deadline.

    In a word, the software sucked. It didn't work, and besides that the programmer decides to take two weeks of vacation during this period, and because she was a govt. worker I couldn't stop her. So, a CMSgt that worked for me (who was two weeks from retirement) spent an entire weekend in that god-awful building. He corrected over two hundred programming errors, and delivered a working product.

    Programmer gets back three days later, pitches a FIT saying I had no right to go into HER code and make changes, that there was nothing wrong. She promptly put all the bugs back into the program and submitted it to HQ USAF. The next three months were more of the same, so when it came time for her annual review I was accurate, thorough, and not very flattering.

    A week later, I was answering charges of discrimination (race and sex), defamation, and other horrible allegations to our General. She pointed to years of "glowing" reviews prior to my taking over the team, and that it wasn't a coincidence that I was the first one to rate her as such a poor performer.

    The fact that I had evidence, emails, a CMSgt with 30+ years backing me up; I lost, and was forced to change my review because I didn't follow "proper procedures" when I felt she was an underachiever. Lots more to the story, but she was a parasite who knew how to work the system. Lesson learned.

    (b)I had a similar situation years later as a manager where there was a conflict with a female worker in another group. She felt slighted that I (the I.T. Director) didn't cave in to her demands and buy her hardware that was thousands more than the systems all the other developers got. I calmly told her to go back to her boss, get him to approve the additional costs, and I'd gladly buy her whatever he approved. Later that month, she screwed up her computer, missed a deadline, then tried to blame it on two of my team members (until we proved that she was the cause of her own demise).

    Fast forward a few months later. I was trying to ease the tension with this woman. She was in the hall with a group of four other ladies who were also friends of mine. I stopped in, made idle chit-chat for a minute or two, shook a hand or two, then put my hand on this woman's shoulder for two seconds to get her attention and ask how she was doing. She said "Fine" and then ran off.

    A week later, I find that I'm accused of sexual harassment by this woman. I calmly went to HR to explain what actually happened. Didn't help - she says I acted in a "threatening and demeaning manner towards her, and made her feel unsafe in her work environment". :mad:

    I gave HR the names of the four other persons there, who backed me up and said that this woman was trying to settle old debts with false accusations. Still a no-go. I was "asked" to attend coaching, management, and sensitivity training, and that if I successfully completed said training there would be no permanent entry in my HR file.

    :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

    I guess the upshot is that I've learned the hard way that companies (including the govt.) will almost always seek to protect themselves from lawsuits, no matter what the cost to other people. Even if they think they can win, they won't fight because winning in court against such accusations usually costs the company in bad publicity. Better to simply make the issue go away quietly.

    Well, that's my impression, for what it's worth. Not that it helps anything, but I commiserate with you. Keep your head up; you didn't do anything wrong, and there's a really good chance that everyone but the person you're having the conflict with knows that.

  8. Willow,

    I hear you and oh, I have so been there! I dare say that anyone who supervises has been there. I don't think that this is a tenable situation for you. Bottom line, your boss doesn't "have your back". Trust me , there is more to this story. He is afraid of something.
    Hopefully your "problem child" will relocate before you find yourself wanting to.
    I'm sending hugs and thoughts of peace and serenity to you. Be very careful.
  9. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member

    I worked in retail management for longer than I'd like to remember. I can certainly empathize with your situation. If I were you, just keep track of all the times that you find her doing stuff that she's not supposed to be doing. Keep a log. Keep talking to your supervisor about it and let them be the one to deal with her.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Wow- I agree with keeping a log- it sounds like you need to document every word you say to her. I also agree that something stinks about this- I find it a little ironic that she apparently is a social butterfly that has been more interested in making friends and the "big" guy sure seems like he wants to give her what she asked for.

    I think it will be interesting to see what happens if you just document everything, wait a bit, and let everyone else who works there- who is really working- notice and get tired of the fact that she's not pulling any weight. Watch your back though- just stay "normally" friendly with everyone else who is doing their job.

    Coming here to vent and getting away to cry- what's wrong with that? That's how I survive!!

    Just my 2 cents!!
  11. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Wow.........I don't know how I managed 2 posts that were the same........and a glaring typo in one of the message titles.......but par for today. Thanks for you guys who responded.

    I think each of you had an excellent nugget of insight. Mikey, I think the easy child thing is exactly the angle this company has. Cover all your bases, before you do anything extreme. If I could have fired her, then and there, I would have - but even I know there has to be tons of documentation. Still, I would have written her up...........instead of counseling the 2 of us on "our communication skills". She is MY employee for crying out loud.

    I will be talking to my manager's boss.......for sure. I know, how many managers can there be in one place??? Actually I think that is part of the problem.

    Unfortunately today was not better with her, she still did zilch amount of work.

    To top it off, somehow I missed paying the electric bill this month and they cutoff my elec while I was at work. Mad is not even the adjective that I feel now. I am so over the top feeling insane, it is not even funny. I paid tons of money to get my elec turned back on - money I do not have because I work at this piddly paying company - and I come home to find that the dogs chewed the house apart in a frenzy.

    The only positive to this week is difficult child..........and I am even afraid to even say luck is so sour.

    Thanks again for listening.
  12. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    WW, again I sympathize. I agree with the others about keeping a detailed log, but I also STRONGLY encourage you to keep it on the Q.T., for several reasons.

    First, if you're only giving this one person an exceptional level of open scrutiny, then you leave yourself open to accusations of bias, personal vendettas, and unfair management practices. She could make up any excuse as to why you're not treating her like everyone else. If you're going to keep such a journal, keep it on EVERYONE that works for you.

    Second, make sure you document the work expectations, how they are communicated to your team, WHEN they were communicated (and how often), and how you determined if they were being met. Beyond that, make sure that any public communications (and private notes/journals) are positive, focused on the job (not the person), and lead to corrective actions that are meant to help the employee actually achieve the goals - not just record the fact that they failed. If your communications and personal journals/logs are in any way negative, bias could be alleged against you that you failed as a manager to put them in a position to succeed.

    Third, make sure you are intimately familiar with your company's HR policies concerning counseling, writeups, and other such matters. It's a dicey issue whether you let anyone know you're actually keeping a log, but if you do, make sure it's exactly in line with your company HR policies.

    Finally, you have to decide whether or not you disclose that you're keeping such a log. If your boss is already nervous about the situation, it could be bad for you because such logs have come back to bite companies in the nether regions later during civil lawsuits. Keeping such a log could make them worry enough to put you on the hot seat (or worse). An alternative comes to mind that might work, though....

    I had a boss that I hated. I hated him because he was efficient, on the ball, and NEVER let anything slip. I also admired him, though. He would start the year by telling you exactly what was expected, how you would be evaluated, etc. That was provided in writing. He then had some index cards printed, and he used them in pairs. They had "Assignment", "Expectation", "Assignee", and "Result" printed on them. Whenever he asked you to do something important (like something that would end up on your review), he would quickly fill out the first three sections of both cards using a pen, and then give you one and keep one in a tickler file.

    When you were done, you filled out the last section and handed it back. He then reviewed it with you (usually only took minutes), and then filled out the "Results" section of his own card with his own impression of the results. He then let you read it, and made you initial it. if you disagreed with his interpretation, you were welcome to file a rebuttal, which he would attach to the card. At the end of the year, he would use both the initial expectations and the work assignment cards to write up your review.

    I know it sounds complicated, but it's not. It's a quick, pen-and-ink method that involves both the manager and the worker, and gives both a say in how the assignment was handled. It was fair, open, and supported by HR, and there might have been some gnashing of teeth at review time, but NOBODY ever questioned whether or not he was accurate. And when someone was terminated, they NEVER accused him of lying, bias, or any other defamatory action.

    I'm not saying you should do that, but he treated everyone the same. He tracked the assignments and performance of everyone in the same, open, and unambiguous manner. And did I mention he came up with this because he had TWO people with tenure that were little more than seat-warming oxygen thieves, but he couldn't fire them? Within a year, they were gone, and with nary a whimper from either them or the company.

    Long post, but I hope I'm giving you, er, "Hope". There are ways to do this, and I sincerely hope you find a way. It can be done - I have the scars on my back to prove it, but I'm still very successful despite the roadbumps and rockslides that happened in my career.

    You're also welcome to PM me if I can help further. IANAL, but I'll give you whatever help or advice I can.

    Good luck to you.