Hell week: The Rundown

Sorry I’ve fallen behind on posts.  A lot’s happened this past week or two.  I’ve been meaning to update you, but it appears that I’m going to have to backlog my posts (and probably chunk them) so that they’re easy to reference.  Notable events include:

Work-pocalypse!!!

Featuring this comedy of errors…

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  • Filing an informational report about the receipt incident involving my problematic worker with our security office at the recommendation of one of the officers.
  • Having said report accidentally end up on the desk of the head of security who received the impression that I was filing a formal complaint against the worker.
  • Having that report and a referral (very intentionally) sent to my boss’s boss before I got the opportunity to inform him of the situation
  • Lots of Damage Control and Crippling anxiety waiting for the topic to be addressed and fearing I might be in trouble (but at least it didn’t take as long as it has for them to find that damn Malaysian plane)
  • Sitting down with my boss and having to explain to him, not only why the report was filed, but also the history of the situation so that he understood the need for the action by putting it into context

 

Crush-pocalypse!!!

Featuring Romeo and Juliet-style panic and mayhem… (if Juliet were somewhat sensible)

die

 

A reasonably attractive gent that I met at the gym turned out to

a) have a girlfriend which he neglected to mention it (thankfully I’m not one to rush into emotional or physical stuff with people, so no harm was ever really done)

we shall call her “Rosaline”

b) have a really angry dad who doesn’t like me (and owns one of 3 restaurants within walking distance of my job) who may have made some assumptions or let his imagination get the best of him regarding my intentions with his son.

c) have a really angry dad who doesn’t like me who, as it turns out, was friends with a guy who went to jail for murdering some people …one of which was the roommate of my “hotheaded” brother

d) be a reasonably nice and overly-trusting person in general, unlike his dad, and is more or less unaware of the factoid I divulged in the bullet labled “c.” I am fond of him, but not enough to jeopardize any of his relationships.

(so the basis of our mutual acquaintance has been about me teaching him how to treat me in a way that preserves his dignity but still clarifies which boundaries are appropriate. I have not and will not ever encourage him to do anything that might compromise his or “Rosaline’s” dignity), but papa bear doesn’t know me well enough to understand that. 

But the degree to which papa bear’s gotten really pissy with me makes me question whether I’m missing something, but I certainly don’t want to communicate to any of them that I’ve done anything wrong.  The outcome of the story resulted in the gent cutting off all communication with me (verbal and nonverbal), which is weird because no one ever communicated to me what they think I’ve done wrong… I suppOSE my mind-reading capabilities must be on the fritz… so I just tried to keep that balance between giving the gent some space (because I got the sense that the behavioral change was to keep the peace with his father rather so I have to give him the benefit of the doubt of this one and act as if I trust him to do what’s right for himself and his family) and to stand up for myself by reinforcing consistency in my behavior of treating those I meet with high regard and professional courtesy (even if my gut is telling me that I may for awhile be treated differently…). The good news is it seems to be working.  …It’s not the first time I’ve been snubbed over something, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever been snubbed by anyone I’ve actually known.

 

Medi-pocalypse!!!

Featuring high tensions, drama & even more panic and mayhem…

 

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 …What began as a quest to replace the two retirees from our organization’s private healthcare provider devolved into a debacle in which the following discoveries were made:

 

  • medical records were leaked to 3rd party without consent from the patients
  • our healthcare provider couldn’t find any practitioners willing to take on a mid-level medical practice resulting in a two month window for our organization to identify alternative options for health care coverage
  • the organization offered staff discounts for participating in healthcare screenings, etc. and then made modifications to the health plan and someone figured out that we would be paying the same amount for bare-bones coverage or 3 times the amount to provide the same quality we are currently receiving
  • the announcement about the modification was made 3 days after our state closed open enrollment for alternative healthcare coverage
  • the governor of our state extended the deadline, but only through midnight (that just passed)
  • the website has placed a super emphasis upon making the website secure, but not enough time making the site (even reasonably) easy to navigate; difficult for even experienced web technicians
  • given the timing, there was no way to find out whether the plan was comparable, because the site lists the prices for each plan, but no information is really provided to determine what the coverage entails
  • We have exhausted our medical reserves, so not only are people pissed, I can’t afford to get sick if I wanted; even with my excessive accumulation of sick days.
  • When people get scared and angry about losing their medical benefits, it can disrupt the entire notion of trust/cohesion within an organization, as evidenced by dramatic rallying and storming at client meetings and inbox assault of poorly timed, poorly executed “rely-to-all” emails
  • I got a confirmation number but have no clue what I applied for, so I’m hoping my application errors can buy me more time (I listed my organizational insurance agent’s contact info under healthcare provider, since I didn’t have those details available within the time frame)
  • If I can  stay healthy until November, I can re-enroll in something more affordable

So as you can imagine the whole thing has turned out to be kind of a cluster to keep track of…

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It certainly made last minute venue bookings, big client presentations, and our disastrous bookkeeping audit seem like simple routine disasters!  …Either that or I’m really getting numb to it (which is a concern).  All I can say is that if you don’t find these topics entirely exhausting, you’re in for a treat; because there is a LOT to rehash.

9-16 COuld be Worse

Is it weirder that I just remembered this was a thing that’s ACTUALLY happened? or that the bath salts reference reminded me of my ex-boyfriend

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Global Data: employment trends for at risk youth (ages 15-29) in 2013


 
Be sure to check out the International Labour Organization’s video discussing the global employment rates for youth ages 15-29 in 2013.
 

 
BBC follows up with info regarding the global youth unemployment crisis
 

 
International Labour Organization’s Policies for youth employment: a global framework
 

Sweden tackles youth unemployment through jobs guarantees
 

 
Denmark matching skills to jobs to make sure that skills students are learning are equivalent to skills in the labor market.

 

Crush-pocalypse … a Shakespearean recap

Crush-pocalypse!!!

Featuring Romeo and Juliet-style panic and mayhem… (if Juliet were somewhat sensible and courteous with a solid reputation, but was actually covertly feminist)

 

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A reasonably attractive gent that I met at the gym turned out to

a) have a girlfriend which he neglected to mention it (thankfully I’m not one to rush into emotional or physical stuff with people, so no harm was ever really done)

cue Rosaline

b) have a really angry dad who doesn’t like me (and owns one of 3 restaurants within walking distance of my job) who may have made some assumptions or let his imagination get the best of him regarding my intentions with his son.

c) have a really angry dad who doesn’t like me who, as it turns out, was friends with a guy who went to jail for murdering some people …one of which was the roommate of my “hotheaded” brother

either of these characters can be represented by the characters Tybalt & Mercutio (there was a fair amount of senseless violence and trash talking that escalated this tragedy)

d) be a reasonably nice and overly-trusting person in general, unlike his dad, and is more or less unaware of the factoid I divulged in the bullet labled “c.” I am fond of him, but not enough to jeopardize any of his relationships.

I actually did have some concerns initially that he might be a little smitten but I wasn’t sure (he tried to hug me during our initial meeting and I couldn’t tell he just forgot that he didn’t know me or if he really was just a friendly chap). I felt as if he respected me enough to honor my boundaries when I extended my hand instead (a DRI technique that I use often with men)… the rest of our very short-lived acquaintance has occurred in either me ordering food during lunch at their shop a couple of times a week, or from catching up at the gym. I’ve never been alone with him, we’ve never exchanged numbers. I’ve hung out with his sister or cousin a couple of times prior to meeting him, but that’s more or less it. His dad didn’t start acting ornery until the guy tried to offer me free food, which I discreetly insisted upon paying for when his sister rang me up and later thanked him for the gesture but told him was unnecessary.  Then he never spoke to me again. I thought the issue was about the food, until his girlfriend showed up during the end of my lunch break.  I, having been made previously aware that she existed after checking his profile (once) when he added me on facebook. But didn’t think too much about it until I dropped in for lunch the next week and his dad seemed first shocked, then really angry that I’d come in there.  But by then I’d already ordered food.  And the guy, didn’t even make eye contact, let alone speak with me, which was the total opposite of his behavior, so I definitely got the hint.  I just wasn’t sure what to do about it. 

But the degree to which papa bear has gotten really pissy with me, makes me question whether I’m missing something (whether something was articulated or assumed to give him the impression that there’s ever been anything more than that), but I certainly don’t want to communicate to any of them that I’ve done anything wrong.  If I’m going to be snubbed publicly I’d like for it to be upon the basis of my own poor merit, not because a bunch of grown men got together and hen plucked another that wasn’t in the position to defend himself. The outcome of the story resulted in the gent cutting off all communication with me (verbal and nonverbal), which is weird because no one ever communicated to me what they think I’ve done wrong… I suppOSE my mind-reading capabilities must be on the fritz…

so I just tried to keep that balance between giving the gent some space (because I got the sense that the behavioral change was to keep the peace with his father rather so I have to give him the benefit of the doubt of this one and act as if I trust him to do what’s right for himself and his family) and to stand up for myself by reinforcing consistency in my behavior of treating those I meet with high regard and professional courtesy (even if my gut is telling me that I may for awhile be treated differently…). The good news is it seems to be working.  It’s one of those pretend to ignore it and don’t escalate it and it will cast enough doubt on the intentions of those involved to be dismissed as a misunderstanding.  The key is to be very intentional about not escalating it (which can make things even more tense and disorienting) as everyone tries to make sense of things.  It’s not the first time I’ve been snubbed over something, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever been snubbed by anyone I’ve actually known. 

But considering some of the other aspects of this for which I won’t go into detail at this time, you can imagine I have enough good sense not to try to force anything unrealistic.  I can’t say that I wouldn’t have done the same thing had I not had training to approach it a little differently.  So I just do what I can to honor and respect the important aspects (the love and loyalty shown from a fellow kindred spirit). 

What I don’t get though, is historically women my age have a reputation of either withdrawing and being all weird and resentful in situations like this, or they go bat sh*t crazy and harass the guy into giving them an explanation.  But as you can see from my other posts, I have enough real challenges in my life to work through rather than to invite that kind of unnecessary drama in.

*Yeah, not about that life…!

It just kind of sucks because you could tell that the two of us would have been really good friends… I suppose as things blow over I’ll try to reestablish some new norms once I see that he’s receptive to it.  I can tell the whole thing is stressing him out too, so I usually hit the trails or do half my workouts at home or outside now when I see him at the gym.  Ah well, c’est la vie; sometimes that’s how life is… life went on before I knew him, it will continue as we work through all this baggage (which is more than we could say for Romeo and Juliet)…

 

The Whimsical World of Tweet Chats: with Kate Nasser

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Just spent some time checking out Kate Nasser’s leadership series that she hosts on Twitter #‎peopleskills where she addressed the issue of workplace bullying. For those of you who may have experienced it (one of her participants mentioned that Between 35% and 50% of workers have been bullied or otherwise abused at some time or another), I’d be interested to hear how you would have answered some of these. Feel free to comment:

Q1. What is workplace bullying? Is it always overt?
Q2. What is the full impact of bullying in workplace?
Q3. How do leaders/orgs. make it OK to bully at work?
Q4. What’s the diff: Being competitive vs Sabotaging someone’s work?
Q5. The bully leader vs. strong leader – The difference?
Q6. When does aggressive supervision become #‎Bullying‬?
Q7. How would you handle being bullied at work?
Q8. Is sidelining someone (minimizing their importance, making them head of the broom closet instead of offering improvement info) a form of #bullying?
Q9. Why do Bully Managers get away w/ #bullying?
Q10: What steps can leaders/teams take to ‪#‎stopbullying‬ in workplace?

And the 1st rule is…

Awkwardly enough, I realized recently that in an effort to avoid conflict with my worker and consequently feel some sense of validation from having my work appraised and deemed well done, I’ve been going to a lot of professional development trainings within my organization.

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Is this the non-violent equivalent of what Edward Norton’s character did during the support group scenes in Fight Club?

 

Looks like someone's been breaking the 1st rule...

Looks like someone’s been breaking the 1st rule…

Another Day, Another outburst…

...annnd I'm done..!

…annnd I’m done..!

The title for today kind of speaks for itself.  10 days into the bully tracker and I’ve noted not only that the pattern of behavior does exist, but also that the rate of increase seems to indicate an exponential regression in the behavior of the worker.  To keep things equitable, I opted for the use of the performance tracker sheet, since it creates the appearance that I’m tracking the behavior of everyone equitably rather than singling out one specific person.  We’d had a similar regression in accountability since I elected to minimize my involvement in the management of the newest batch of senior level workers, and an increase in client complaints as a result.  It’s been a rather interesting development.

I can honestly say that I experience no joy from these regressions in performance behavior. Even though I now have evidence that there is a direct correlation between my level of involvement and the successful performance of our team, I am still perceived to be liable by our clients, so a lose for them also is my loss as well.  And probably even more so, not just due to the ethical conundrum harboring resentment would bring, but also because there are numerous occasion in which I am one of the couple (sometimes only) one in the building, so poor performance negates the efforts we’ve invested in building a competent and cohesive team.  Even though my workers and patrons know I have no REAL authority, I liked when they attributed our success to some of the contributions I bring. But once I lose that reputability, I lose their confidence in me.  I suppose for now I should be grateful that I do have a strong enough rapport with (the vast majority) my workers to persuade them assist others when those services are needed.  So you can imagine how distressing it can be to turn people away, and send them on a wild goose chase around the building or to refer them to the designated person within the facility who I know isn’t going to be accessible, because we can’t come to an agreement about how our workers should be managed, and it reflects poorly on all of us in the organization when we’re supposed to be sharing accountability as a team.

 

no REALLY; we're just wasting valuable time...

no REALLY; we’re just wasting valuable time…

I don’t want someone who refuses to learn our sales and insurance policies to be handling transactions or contracts when they can’t even learn how to follow basic instructions or feels entitled to ignore our policies.  Today’s outburst came after the worker asked me for assistance regarding pricing while working with some new clients.  Before I could even respond to her question she interrupted, so I went back to what I was doing.  Then she asked me for some other piece of information that she didn’t know, but is responsible for knowing, asked for my input and then snapped at me when I clarified the policy.  Exhausted from it all, I simply ignored the behavior with an apologetic glance and clarified the policy using the precautionary words, “it was my understanding that …” so that at the very least she could save face over her ignorance of our policies.  Then she processed the payment from one of the clients and I had to intervene this time to ask whether she had remembered to write out a receipt.  I knew she hadn’t because I was standing off to the side after I handed her the receipt book.

Then she just kind of shut down, got incredibly pissy and forcefully tried to reach through me, while exclaiming in a fairly aggressive tone “exCUSE ME…!” and I leapt out of the way as she put the receipt book back into the drawer, which was on the other side of me.  Oh I was livid.  And we had quite a bit of an audience.

Why is all of that even necessary?  You know what's at risk if I react? I mean it would be worth it, but it wouldn't correct the problem or anything...

Why is all of that even necessary? You know what’s at risk for all of us if I react. I mean it would be totally worth it, but it wouldn’t correct the problem or anything…

 

This is how I rationally responded to the situation (thank GOD that’s my go-to)!

 

This is how I WISH I could have responded, but it would probably get me fired and isn't really LIKE me...

Unh Uh, girl you got the WRONG ONE..!

 

This is how I WISH I could have responded, but it would probably get me fired and thankfully isn’t really even LIKE me…

I bit my tongue (honestly, it was hard); I took a deep breath and excused myself (Thank goodness for me I’ve been watching a lot of British television lately, so I don’t feel quite as ashamed of exercising restraint because I can now better visualize how to do so in a way that conveys grace and dignity).  Then I joined another group of workers and inquired about one of their shoes, which turned out to be new, to avoid escalating the situation any further.  A few moments later, the crabby worker disappeared.  She was gone for 10 minutes so I went back to my desk since our station had been abandoned.  She came back later asking me whether I’d seen her phone, which she immediately found among her personal belongings.  I asked her where she’d gotten her dress and I thought that was the end of it.  Then it happened again.  So I left her there.

 

I'm sorry, I just don't have the interest or energy in playing with CRAZY...!

I’m sorry, I just don’t have any interest in getting into a pissing contest with someone who is CLEARLY CRAZY…!

 

When I returned, another worker who had seen everything and I began a discussion about power differentials. It was one of those discussions that you have with a person when you’re trying to figure out a safe way to talk about it, but NOT talk about it.  I think she just wanted to make sure I was okay, and I have a lot of discussions with my workers about neuro-cognitive behavior and leadership dynamics, when we want to address issues publicly without singling any specific people out. It appeared that she and another worker who had witnessed what happened, had discussed the topic recently when they worked together over the weekend.  The feminine worker was standing at the bottom of a flight of stairs and the masculine worker stood a few stairs above her, which made her uncomfortable.  They were reminded of the discussion once I left my desk area and stood next to the worker I’d asked about her shoes, who had been sitting.

I was relieved to understand that she’d actually shifted the discussion to some other oversight of mine, of which I had the ability to recognize and correct.  I admitted that I hadn’t actually been sensitive to that.  I just was beginning to feel a little claustrophobic and for some reason I gravitated toward that person because we were from roughly the same area, so I must have subconsciously associated that person with home and safety.  Then when the grumpy worker returned, I left with the new worker, I regaled her with a story about a ridiculous article I had read and then found another task to complete somewhere else in the building.

Girl, have you read this article about this study where people who spend time around chronically angry people experience extensive deterioration in health?

Girl, have you read this article about this study that shows that people who spend time around chronically angry people are more likely to experience extensive deterioration in health?

Chicken Soup for the Spiritually Afflicted

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Yesterday morning I received permission to adjust my work schedule one hour.  I decided it might be a good opportunity to start the day off right by taking an extra moment to de-clutter my mind. I happen to know that one of the things that clears my head and shifts my focus from inward to outward is to offer small tokens of affection.  This morning I stopped in and bought breakfast for one of my workers (for no other reason than to make her feel valued).  Turns out it was a good morning to do it.  She’d just been written up for being late for her shift, she’s responsible for opening the building at 6am, but she’s the ONLY supervisor who gets penalized from upper management for not clocking in early (mainly because she works with the only other manager who gets penalized when workers aren’t accountable during his shift.

So we had a nice calming moment, to disrupt the anxiety that she’d felt. Then I went and made some tea, and by the time I returned she’d been replaced by the supervisor who was actually supposed to be working the shift (who had also come to work late).  As I checked my email, I found a little blurb advertising the movie coming about about Noah from a Bible app that I subscribe to, and I thought rather than ruminate upon the inequities of the system that it might be nice to reflect upon the biblical justification for the need for sanctuary.  (Which became a prevalent them after the story about the covenant between God and Noah after the flood incident).

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We often look at the rainbow as a symbol of hope, but what we instantly learn after Noah makes this agreement, is that eradicating the world of unethical or disruptive behavior didn’t ensure that acts of wickedness could be completely eradicated from men.  Often the founders from the Bible were held in high esteem because they were outliers, and you can see the outcomes of how each chose to manage their position of moral rectitude to the degree to which they choose to behave with moral indignation.

These days we have to seek our  sanctuary in the fellowship of wise and ethical men. Thankfully there are quite a few more that exist these days than in Noah’s time. What we learn from Noah’s story after the covenant is that we also have a responsibility to extend a hand to those outside our fellowship of hospitality, but we’re not obligated to continue to extend it, when we see that to do so would only cause them to stumble.  As for those we’re accountable, we have more of a responsibility to work together to instill those values. We work to advance our own position through our efforts so that we can assist others in their own development and give back as we progress our way through this transition.

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The sanctuary is where we seek solace and guidance when we find that we are no longer in the position to influence the outcome or others decisions. It’s where we go to be reminded of what we’re working toward, where we can join in fellowship with others who share are values and to restore and support the weary or to become rekindled ourselves through the narratives of hope and who need support as they work to overcome great obstacles or work to heal from their brokenness.  Powerlessness doesn’t have to be a terrible thing, sometimes it is just a signal for us to let go until we can regain our own strength to help others, or the mechanism that gives us permission to let those who esteem us and recognize our struggles reach out and carry us for a little while.

In discovering that there was joy to be found in this new direction, it occurs to me that maybe my previous posts weren’t really about me learning how to cope with my ego or the folly of these young girls.  This is about me learning how to recognize and identify when it’s time for me to accept that despite my best intentions, my efforts depreciate when fail to recognize that I’m not as equipped as I’d like to be to solve this problem effectively.  As scary as it sounds, I think I’ve invested enough into trying to correct these issues. And though it seems that sometimes the design lends itself to poor returns not because the efforts weren’t ennobling, but because the efforts are directed toward a system that isn’t designed to benefit the right things.  So I need to learn how to trust my intuition  and make peace with the idea of drawing the line, surrendering and letting go.

A Millennial’s Perspective: Too Much Drama

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Hilariously enough, on my way back from lunch today near the local campus, I overheard a young woman on her cellphone today telling the person she was talking to that she was thinking of dropping her theater minor on the basis that she felt as if she knew enough about running a theater now that she’d taken a couple of classes and

“honestly, I can’t handle it, there’s just too much DRAMA.”

Don’t worry, I exercised restraint, and responded with a polite nod and sympathetic smile when she greeted me with a hello.  Internally I was torn between wanting to give myself a face palm and wanting to script what she’d said into my next satirical theater review.  If I permitted myself to think about it, I’d have enough material for about a 2 hour stand up rant.  But I leave the processing of that moment to you?

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Another chuckle-worthy moment today after work may have involved a tree planting involving a group of individuals, who had barely been outside, let alone had any experience using outdoor tools.  The hyperbolic reactions I witnessed when the participants were asked if volunteers would be interested in adding worms to the mulch from the compost stew were fairly amusing (and a bit startling).  Then they let one brave soul wield the pickaxe to break up the ground, which had grown pretty compacted on account of all of the “winter” we’d been having this spring. What really got me though, was while I was critically observing the congregation of people standing around watching one man work and more or less pose with shovels for the photo shoot, someone actually busted out a harmonica and started playing it… (rumor has it, he’s from Texas)…and he was actually pretty good…

not THIS good, but still pretty respectable… now enjoy. 🙂