This has been a rough week, not only because of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary last week (which, I cannot let myself think about – I have a 7 year old and frankly it’s just too painful to imagine “what if”) but also because I created some drama here at work that I now regret.
Last week I was on a conference call with one of the VPs of our company and several others who are in my same position at different locations. During this call the VP stressed (several times) that if we had any issues, any at all, that he wants to know about them. He said we are his eyes and ears and if we had ANY issue that we were concerned about, to call him directly and it would be kept in strict confidence. He didn’t say this just once, he said it several times, plus he made us answer back individually when he said “does everyone understand?”. Now, it’s no secret here on this blog that I have issues with my boss, so I called one of my colleagues (who is in a temporary supervisory position over me) and discussed some issues with her and asked her “is this something VP would want to know about?”. She was insistent that he would want to know, so she called him. I don’t know exactly what she said to him, but his answer to this problem was to call the Regional Manager, who is my boss’ supervisor.
It was at this point I got sick to my stomach. Our regional manager is crude and rough and doesn’t sugar coat things. My colleague kept assuring me that he would handle things in a professional manner, and everything would be fine. I knew in my gut that everything wouldn’t be fine though.
Well, sure enough, the Regional Manager called my boss on Monday afternoon and told him almost exactly everything I had said to my colleague. He didn’t give names, but there are only 8 of us in this shop, so it’s not hard to narrow it down. When my boss got off the phone, he looked shell-shocked. He came to me as a confidant and asked me if I had heard anything or knew anything about it. There was no way I was going to lie and pawn this off on someone else or make my boss wonder who said it, so I confessed that yes I knew about it and it was me that made the call. He was again, shocked.
We were only able to talk about it for a few minutes before other coworkers interrupted us, so we sort of left things hanging for the rest of the afternoon. It was super tense and I felt awful. I really did. I hate conflict, especially if I am the cause of it.
I did a lot of thinking that evening and realized that even though it was handled poorly by both the VP and Regional manager (neither one of them called me. I think they should have called me before talking with my boss), I realized that how my boss does his job is none of my business. The happiness of my coworkers is not my responsibility. Why I thought I needed to sit in the judgement seat and decide that my boss is not working up to his potential is beyond me. It was bratty and stupid and I feel awful for sticking my nose in where it doesn’t belong. For all his faults, my boss has been nothing but good to me (lets me do pretty much whatever I want/need to do in regards to my kids or appointments or whatever), and I crapped all over that (sorry for the crude visual, but that’s exactly how I feel).
I stand behind what I originally told my colleague – there are issues here. But I cannot make it my personal crusade to ensure the happiness of every employee here, and trying to do so has backfired on me and made me look as if I’m just trying to stir things up. I talked with my boss and he was very gracious about all of it (which of course made me feel even worse), and things seem to be okay between us, but I still have this bottom-of-the-dumpster feeling that I can’t shake.
I’m writing all of this here so I can get it all out, plus I need to be clear about things when I talk with Janet (therapist) this afternoon.
I’m dusting off my resume and putting the word out that I am available. I think I should have left here a long time ago, maybe this is the catalyst for that move.
Bottom line is, I feel terrible for causing all this. I feel frustrated that I didn’t listen to my gut and instruct my colleague NOT to call the VP. I feel disappointed that the higher-ups didn’t handle this discreetly and professionally. I feel stupid that I wasn’t mature enough to just keep my mouth shut in the first place.
So many feelings, so little food to stuff them down with. (that’s a joke, there’s plenty of food, trust me)
I am humbled and ashamed and hope that at my next workplace, I’ll be smart enough to learn this lesson and not repeat my mistakes.