It’s been a challenging week.
Sunday was the night when we got an “anonymous” phone call from the elderly neighbors’ kids about a pile of brush I’d already tidied up– on the side of a garage they don’t use behind a fence they can’t access and a bush they can’t climb over but that lies on their property line, mind you– accusing my dad and me of elder abuse for “throwing briar bushes into their property.” Like I’d invaded their kitchen for the Red Wedding or something. Mind you (part 2) that I cut those rose canes last week and tidied them up a week later and on Thursday night (so, a week elapsed time) got a call from one of the neighbors about something else (passive aggressive, much, hi?) and then the rose canes came up at the end of the conversation and I said I’d be out there that weekend– as I’d already planned. The anonymous phone call was therefore bullshit, and I called them on it, asking one of them to walk down the driveway with me and agree that all the brush was already gone, and to further agree that it had only been there a week, was never anywhere they walked or touched, and that they’d only called me Thursday, so please don’t complain to your family first with such vehemence that they leave me nasty messages on the house phone. They were more horrified by the bad manners of the call than anything else– I don’t think they understood that they’d made a mountain out of a pile of rose canes, but in any event, we called up the reasonable son and let him know they were getting a little histrionic in case it comes up again. I told the elderly neighbor that allegations of elder abuse were not going to be tolerated, since they were the ones who had helped me babysit my Alzheimer’s stricken grandmother in high school, and by “helped” I mean once or twice they brought her back when she got out while I was in the bathroom when she could still figure out locks. That pretty much shut them up, but I am really, really angry about it still, and will be for a while. Why would you ever get so worked up about something so miniscule to the point that your kid with problems gets drunk and leaves your neighbors nasty messages on your behalf?
Monday and Tuesday were various personality negotiations at work; there are some evolving ways in which everyone needs to learn to work with each other and it’s a challenge. I’m in an in-between position and new to the company, sort of a neutral and sort of a disciplinarian and sort of a manager all at the same time, and I need to try and balance all of those things with my job to try to keep everything and everyone balanced. Add to that my communication and responsibility kinks, the fact that I do have mediation experience and experience with lots of different management types and just… age… on some of the people I work with, and it sticks me square in the middle trying to help people figure out how to talk to each other– how to ask for what they want, how to say what they need, how to not hurt one anothers’ feelings, and how to do that myself when I’m feeling proud and uncertain and “aw yeah” and “who, me?” all at once.
And then Wednesday.
I had a job fair in the morning, screening dozens of people and then heading back to the store– late, because of traffic and the crowd at the job fair, because that shit was mobbed. One of my challenges didn’t show up and while the story’s garbled and has only gotten more problematic as the week wears on, one issue compounding on top of another until it’s hard to keep things apart and not just fire the person for them all, all at once, and keep an eye on just the simplest things– the fact at the core of it is that not just I but most of us got played in that we tried to be sympathetic and helpful and this worker, either through stubbornness or stupidity or sheer malice has played all of us because they just don’t get that they have to play by the rules. I don’t know at this point, because when I left work yesterday for Job Fair Part 2: Endless Screenings Continued, Electric Boogaloo, they had gone awol after a series of contradictory communications, so who the hell knows. The lesson to be learned is: don’t make exceptions, because someone will play you. So. We made exceptions. We got messed with. Lesson learned. Hopefully not too painful for us, but doubtful. It’s going to be uglier before it’s all done, and it’s a shame because at the end of the day, when they show up, this person does a really good job. It’s stupid.
One of the store managers got in an accident, another had a death in the family, and a third has been out for a family member, so we’ve also been down staff and I’ve been helping the rest juggle schedules, make arrangements, check in on the injured manager, request time off, etc., etc. Paperchasing and phone calling– and then arranging to cover their shifts with enough other managers.
Next: Wednesday, still– another challenge came in for a shift and accused me and another team leader of being liars because they didn’t want to admit that they hadn’t complied with a policy. It was a big long ridiculous discussion and I couldn’t take any of it seriously because they were all affronted dignity and bullshit and when they said they’d just give notice if that was how we were going to play it (we did have a neutral party present, since I was a “liar”) I said I was sorry to hear that and I hoped that they found someplace they were happier. When no one else disagreed with me, they immediately backtracked and said they weren’t giving their notice, to which the neutral told them to make up their mind, since it seemed like that was problem, and then another half hour of mediated drama and affronted dignity ensued. Quitting chicken: hell yes, I’ll play it. I just hope in the end they do quit, because if I ever have to spend another hour and a half like that it will be too soon.
Also, the meat drain is backed up and water’s heading right for the compressors and the ice cream freezers are down, so: help organize repairmen and moving stock and unplugging all of the things.
AND IT’S STILL WEDNESDAY. At least I got to help someone– a really great someone who’s been with the company a while and has been performing a little erratically, so an amorphous we sat them down to say we were worried and ask them what was up because if things kept in this vein, we would have to go the discipline route and that would be awful. So we talked about feelings and feeling overwhelmed and asking for help: it was hard, and teary and sad, but they left agreeing to look into help and are going to do that. I’ve been scrambling and arguing since with my higher-ups about getting them some time off pending the doctor’s appointment they’ve since set up because I know they’ll miss shifts and end up with discipline if we try and make them come in and no one wants that– so while I could make this person feel better, now I feel like shit and doubting myself because I have to argue against my own bosses and therefore my own instincts about the right thing to do– when I’m trying to learn to trust them. And all the while their rightfully worried (and a little bit OCD and pushy but really really excellent) manager is pushing at me and I’m just. Stressed, because I want to get this person the help that they need and make sure it sticks, and at the same time I am trying to OBJECTIVE and not personalize this person’s situation, even though I realized Thursday:
I took this job because I want to give people all the chances and confrontations and opportunities to talk through their crap that no one called me on that I wish like hell someone had. Right. No personalization or projection there at all, whatsoever. At least I’ve got something to talk about at therapy now.
Twelve hours after leaving the house I got home, and Dad wants to know what’s for supper. Umm. Leftover veggies and mushy mangoes with frozen shrimp in, erm, yeah, a curry stir fry? Throw some garden-fresh herbs on it, no one will know it’s a mish mash! (eh, I knew. Next time, I’m ordering Thai.)
And then Thursday:
MRI. Oil change. Overdue (whoops, and then I was anxious about that once I realized) state car inspection, which at 140,000 miles and no significant maintenance since 100,000 miles I was a little worried about. Back into work on my day off to see if Challenge One came in and then more discussion about What to Do, and more discussion about Good Challenge and asking some questions about some other miscellaneous things including following up on Grieving Manager and then home, because I had a horrible headache from the IV contrast and– I’m not even supposed to be here today! And then a late afternoon call with Challenge One’s manager and another manager and my position’s back up about the Game Plan.
Friday: Go in extra early. Challenge One doesn’t show up. Challenge One’s manager and I and a senior manager giggle because really, this week is ridiculous. Challenge One’s manager leaves. Senior Manager and I open the store, me doing senior manager’s job and senior manager doing Challenge One’s job. Later, talk to Manager of Good Challenge some more, do some stuff I haven’t done all week because of the Wednesday from Hell, and then: get text message from AWOL challenge one that is contradictory to all prior communications. Text Challenge One back and tell them to call the store, please. It doesn’t happen for hours. Get in the car, get lost on the way to Job Fair 2/Electric Boogaloo, get there with five minutes to spare and a call from my dad wondering if the cat’s dead because she hasn’t eaten her food yet (it’s HOT, she’s a PERSIAN, CATS ARE NOCTURNAL, we have this discussion each SUMMER, dad, CHILL) and then interview the dregs that show up at the last minute, all of whom are grumpy that we’re mostly hired up. Pretend to give a shit they need a job when almost all of them have no experience, no skills, and waited until, (wait for it) THE LAST DAY OF THE FAIR to show up. Pretend some more, because I am a motherfucking human resources professional. Fight with my awesome really cool super nice boss in a not fighting way because we are motherfucking professionals, ‘kay, and I’ve had a migraine since WEDNESDAY, about Good Challenge and her issues, twist her arm aggressively until boss who hired me kind of concedes, go back to interviewing dregs of the job fair with less anxiety crawling under my skin because at least I can help SOMEONE who doesn’t think I’m a liar or play me or anything else.
Get a hug from other super awesome cool sort-of boss, who gives awesome hugs.
Have supper and a good Vieux Carre with a friend. See Man of Steel. (Meh, the writing was Portentous with a capital P, but HELLO, Shirtless Henry Cavill, and I ❤ Amy Adams and the lady villain and Diane Lane, so, all the ladies plus Henry Cavill and his muscles.)
Get woken up at 5:39 am by the rude blare of a call from Challenge Oh My God, Really, I Told You To Stop Calling My Phone and Call The Damned Store, I am Not Your Boss. I Tell them To Call the Store after making sure they are merely calling out sick and not otherwise having problems. Send an email to that Challenge’s bosses, because I’ll forget otherwise, and then send Good Challenge’s boss an email because well, I’m up now, might as well work.
I’M OFF WORK TODAY. I GET PAID BY THE HOUR.
And now I’m awake, because did I mention I have a horrible shrink who doesn’t return my calls because I’m not really that crazy and so I’m not on her priority list. So… I ran out of klonopin and I had to have my primary care write my wellbutrin but she’s not comfortable writing benzos and I need .05 mg nightly to sleep so then I left by shrink a NASTY message on her phone for the third time and she finally called me back and acted like nothing was wrong. I asked her to just write me a 90-day script and to please give me the names of some people taking referrals. I left a message for my old shrink as well; at least she’ll call me back.
So. I broke up with my shrink and have to find a new one, but on the other hand, now I don’t have to worry about the old one and I might just be a bitch and report her for patient neglect. It’s just disgustingly unprofessional not to return patient calls, whether or not I’m sobbing into the phone.
And… it’s 8:34 am. Let’s see how today goes.