My new job is tough. I mean, the work itself is great, and the clients are wonderful, my boss is pretty cool… but my coworkers are difficult.
I know it’s not just them. I don’t like conflict. I try to please. I have probably been wishy-washy trying to get them to like me. My boss keeps telling me that I assume too much, that I make decisions based on people’s body language, and that things I think are obvious aren’t always. I have been listening, and paying attention to that. I stop and ask myself, did I convey or interpret that fully? Should I stop and ask for more information, or clarify something I said? Every night I go home and practice being a better communicator.
My staff, they hate things the way they are, but they refuse to make suggestions, and get mad when I make changes. My boss says I need to explain things more clearly.
I WANT to explain my ideas to my direct reports. I want to work with them as a cohesive team.
They don’t want to talk to me. I start conversations, and they refuse to engage. They walk away. They are abrupt. Or they argue. They tell me that I am wrong. That I can’t do whatever it is I am trying to do. They tell me they already have a system in place for that. One of them is especially abrasive and bossy. I’m supposed to be the supervisor, but EVERYTHING is a debate, even simple things, like asking her to wait to pass out materials for a craft until after I give directions. She wants to tell me that’s not how it’s always been done, that I don’t know what I’m doing. She argues with me in front of the children and complains about me to the parents. It’s unprofessional and ugly.
I constantly have to decided between sticking my ground as the supervisor, to run a program that I feel comfortable with, and giving in to her. The other two staff follow her. If I give in, back off and let them do as they wish, they are happy. They keep the kids happy, as long as I am not actively engaged in their activity. If I stand my ground, to do things the way I want, they refuse to help, or actively sabotage whatever I’m doing.
We have to have 30 minutes of P.E. class everyday. It has a different name, but it’s basically P.E. Right before P.E, we have enrichment time. It’s usually a craft or activity. If I am leading the craft, I can’t always stop to set up P.E. I give them a list with the name of the game we are playing and all of the equipment needed so they can get it out near the end of the enrichment time. But they never do. So I finish enrichment, and have to scramble to set up PE… they complained about the transitions being long. They either need to help, or get over it. I can’t be in two different rooms at the same time.
Last week we were playing a game that involved jumping into hula hoops arranged on the ground. I told them to leap like frogs, and was on the ground leap frogging around complete with frog sounds, crossing my eyes and pretending to catch flies. They thought it was funny, I wanted them to copy me. But the other staff, she was stomping from hoop to hoop to hoop mumbling “keep moving. keep moving. keep moving. keep moving. keep moving. keep moving. keep moving.” nothing else, not engaging with any of them, not changing her tone, not doing anything other than projecting misery and animosity across the group.
I knew if I said anything, she’d just argue with me and the kids would be left standing around to watch a completely unprofessional exchange. So I decided not to start something with her, instead I just acted sillier and sillier attempting to compensate for her dark mood. I didn’t like working with her right then either, but I tried not to let it interfere with the job I was hired to do.
It’d make an excellent example to bring up with my boss.
Then next day, I took away all the chairs. There is no reason kids should spend 4 hours sitting at desks in daycare after a full day of sitting in desks at school. I set up toys everywhere, and tried to use a group activity with blocks on the floor instead of a typical lecture style for our weekly social skills lesson. It could have been really fun and interactive… except the other three staff refused to help. They sat in the back, laughing at me. I got up to take care go something quickly, and realized the abrasive one had set her phone up and was videotaping me struggling to teach the lesson.
I have never felt so betrayed. We are supposed to be a team. I don’t know what they were planning to do with the video. When I talked to my boss she said “There you go assuming again. You just assumed inside your head that they intended to do something unsavory with that video, but you didn’t ask them.”
I don’t know how I am supposed to ask them? When she realized I had noticed the camera she ran and grabbed it, and glared at me. If she was intending to do something positive with it she wouldn’t have acted so guilty.
I was crushed, and angry.
I went into the office to text with my boss. I told her I’d go back out and finish the day. It was PE time, and raining outside, so I set up the game in an unused gym type room that my boss has used multiple times for activities on rainy days. They same abrasive staff came yelling at me that I can’t use that room. I told her we have used it before and no one has told me otherwise. If it is a problem and a facility manager brings it to my attention, I would be happy to take responsibility and relocate. She yelled that I don’t listen to anyone, and “That’s exactly what our boss talked to you about last week!” and stormed off. I told her to lead the activity then, and spent the rest of the day in the office.
My boss didn’t talk to me about anything like that last week, and no one has said anything about not using the room. The conversation that my boss DID have with both of us last week, was that she can not argue with me about every little thing because it is immature and hostile. She is NOT the supervisor, and I AM allowed to make decisions.
I spend the rest of the day hiding in the office. I didn’t even attempt to help. If I bring up her inappropriate behavior during the PE, she will just point out that my behavior after that was even more inappropriate, because I didn’t even stay out in classroom.
I messed up, not going back out there. I should have done it even though it was uncomfortable. The whole thing just broke me down so much that I couldn’t figure out how to. I tried several times to stop crying, get a grip, go out there and get through the day. I am embarrassed that I couldn’t. Supervisors should be able to suck it up.
I’m mad, because regardless of everything leading up to that, the last thing that happened before we left was me doing the wrong thing. It will overshadow everything else that happened that day. Even if my boss come in to talk to us, she will have to acknowledge that I did wrong too, which is fair. But it will be the only thing that they take away from the meeting.
I work with adult bullies and I don’t know how to fix it.
My boss doesn’t work on Mondays so she won’t be there as support or sounding board. It’s just me, with the three of them. I have cuban pastries to bring in as a peace offering. I would like to apologize for anything that’s upset them and propose a resolve to fix it.
But I am afraid they won’t be receptive.
I’m afraid there isn’t anyway to fix this at all and I will lose my job. A job that I love and worked so hard to make happen. A job that I could be really really good at.
I wish I knew how to fix it.
And work isn’t the only place I’m feeling the sting of rejection. I’m also having a hard time with my RA. She’s young, self-involved, and not very helpful. I don’t care for her. I’ve been trying to get the cable set up in my room for 7 weeks, she can’t be bothered to help, even thought EVERY other place I ask says she’s the ONLY one who can do it. It makes me feel unimportant. I asked her for help because someone had double parked my car in and I had to leave for work. She was in her room, but refused to come out. She said to call transportation. I told her I don’t use the phone, she said “just text your boss and get over it. this is really out of your control.” An hour and a half later, when I was sitting outside still waiting for transportation to come, she came downstairs and was like “You are STILL here?” YES, obviously, dumbass!
She took one look, knew who the car belonged to, knocked on his door, and he moved it. Seriously less than 3 minutes of her precious time is all it took. Had she just done it when I asked her for help, I wouldn’t have even been late for work.
Tonight, she was having a game night, and I decided to go. My coworkers can’t get over their distaste for me, and I decided I didn’t want to act the same way towards my RA. I decided to go to support her by going to her game night and having a good time. I got there and she was playing X-Box with another RA. I said hi, but she never even acknowledged me. I waited for an hour for the game night to start, but no one else came, and she kept pretending like I wasn’t there, so I left.
My mom always said, when you are having problems with everyone around you, take a long hard look in the mirror and realize that YOU are the problem.
I want to fix me.
I don’t want to be the problem.
I feel so beat down and rejected. It’s hard to find the confidence and courage to keep at it anymore. At work and with my RA…. I show up, expecting to be the punching bag these days.