Monday, December 21, 2009

M.I.A.: Dealing With Issues at Current Job!

Sorry for being missing in action last week. I had to deal with a burning issue that seemed to erupt out of nowhere. Unfortunately, I was reminded of something I've blogged about in the past...that it only takes one new hire to change your work environment from positive to negative.

I relearned this lesson, when a Black woman was hired to a high-level post at my job. She came into our workplace, which really does have it's own culture and philosophy. It would seem that she either didn't understand that our workplace is not supposed to be like other jobs, in many respects, or she knowingly decided not to embrace the new company culture. In either case, she decided to come into the job and:

--micromanage employees;
--subject staff to heightened observation and scrutiny;
--intimidate workers by asking them to do things and then standing around to make sure they did it; and
--have a constant presence on the sales floor.

In a very quick time, I had someone following me around the sales floor, watching me from various vantage points, commenting about what I should be doing at any given point, making vague requests about how I should be conducting my job, telling a coworker not to follow what we (those in the same position) were doing because we weren't doing our jobs correctly, and engaging in other disturbing behavior.

So, I endured this for about a week, assuming she was just having a rough adjustment to the company. But, no. I soon realized I was going to explode and probably in front of customers.

So, I spoke to the numero uno at our job site and quickly spilled the dirt on what was happening. She asked if she could speak to the woman and then call me in, but I was willing to have her brought into our meeting so I could tell her to her face.

That's exactly what happened. I looked her right in the eyes and went point-by-point. I have been able to go back to working in peace/independently since the meeting.

This is how I wish many employers would respond. It was immediately recognized that I am not a complainer and can get along with anyone. I was told the fact that I would speak to her, face-to-face, was impressive. It was clear I wasn't lying. I was thanked for naming issues, point-by-point, and giving examples of everything she was doing--not just making vague accusations.

I didn't know how it would turn out, but I had to speak up no matter what the outcome. I think we all must do what we can to improve our work conditions. I certainly wasn't going to go into the new year feeling harassed and observed. Hopefully, things don't regress because I love my work environment, overall.

Anyone dealing with issues at work, I wish you well now and in the new year.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done Mary. Very good strategy presenting the issue point by point. I wonder if the outcome would have been the same if the boss was white? Still, we shouldn’t allow ourselves being harrassed just because the perpetrator is white, except that the risk is higher when we complain about a white, that’s all. It’s worth the risk when someone is making us miserable at work. I am comtemplating approaching my new boss on couple of issues. I have been collecting evidence (DOCUMENTING) & will speak to him point by point when I am ready. BTW, he is white.

6:23 PM  

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