Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mediation 2

I first posted about the mediation appointment my boss A and I had several week ago. We had a follow up appointment on Friday. Really, I had nothing to discuss during this appointment, so I was not sure what to say. A. apparently brought up 2 squirmishes we had. One was about class time--she felt I should have wrapped up class sooner on one evening and not showed the interactive toys which clients had asked about. Sharply, (a word her husband came to describe how she says some things) she said "from now on, wrap class at 50 minutes." I was a bit defensive saying technically I finished at 55 minutes with 5 minutes to spare." Then, she sent me home, saying it was late (normally we finish cleaning up together) Without a word, I finished what I was doing, gathered my things and left. I decided after that I'd start showing the interactive toys at orientation, the first class, rather than during other classes unless someone specifically asked.

The second disagreement was on bed washing. I felt it was kind of dumb to wash the beds every single day when 1) it is the same dogs coming in on certain days, 2) some dogs like their scent on stuff, 3) it is not very eco-friendly at all--wastes water, 4) wears out the bedding a lot faster, and 5) some dogs are there for only 3 hours or so and then come a second day during the week. My theory was to wash the bedding every week unless it was really dirty or stained, etc. After I said my viewpoint, and A,. just said it was her personal preference (she's very germophobic), I just let it go, not really thinking about it again. (This was during the week, not at our appt. so none of this was said)

So after all this, I thought the appt. would be over, but A. decided to ask me questions like "why did I decided to come here, what were my expectations, hopes, desires, etc., was I reaching those goals," and other questions along the same line. This threw me for a loop, because I wasn't expecting it at all and she already knows why I came here. I obliged and answered the questions thoughtfully which I guess made her happy.

However, there were a few remarks that leave questionmarks in my head. One is that A. said "I want this to work." I guess I'm wondering if she is second guessing herself as to "choosing" me to be there.

Another is that she feels we usually have good rapport before and during class but not the rest of the day. Honestly, I don't see here that much throughout the day aside from passing info. along about the dogs and doing our own computer work.

Another is that she says she is picky (true), but she views me as relaxed. I'm beginning to think she doesn't know me as well as she thinks. She said this to our dog consultant who just reiterated the fact how good it was to be picky when running a business. Certainly, I agree, but A's statement gives off the impression I'm not which is highly untrue. I think A. also doubts my leadership ability if I had to confront a future employee about something they were doing wrong, could be better, etc.

A. knows my previous situation and doesn't want this environment to be the same which I highly commend. But at the same time, it is a bit similar too. The difference is me actually. I don't want to be always be worrying whether I'm doing something right or that I'm going to anger that person or face conflict, etc. Even though A is different from my previous employer in that she is much more direct (other employer was more passive aggressive) and supportive, I'm beginning to feel this creeping in, and that is just not cool. That feeds the ED and overexercise component like crazy, and that is not where I want to be. Currently, I'm doing okay (no exercise in months literally), but do see a few behaviors slipping through like weighing myself every week (I want to justify this with my latest ice cream habit which will be another post) and general body checking. Though I know much of this is internal, my work or school environment has always been an attributable factor to my health. Of course, I know I can go on for a long time in a difficult work environment--did for almost 10 years, but it is not necessarily what I want nor deserve.

A. says she wants me to tell her when she says something harshly or to call her out on something. This is really hard for me, because as a general rule, people really don't like criticism and take things personally. This was evident by something I said to her a month or so ago after she had told me to be truthful to her. I highly doubt A. wants me to be some robot and agree with every single thing she says, but I feel like I can't win either way.

I'm just a bit bummed about all this. I am hopeful this is just a transitional phase, and we'll each be able to get past it and figure out a way to work together more effectively. (not that we aren't, just that it could be better) Sometimes, communication, though necessary, is a tough battle to navigate.


Inside the Mind of a... said...

I think that doing meditation will ( should? ) help a lot? I've never been able to sit w/my thoughts or non thoughts long enough to do it

stay strong!

Tiptoe said...

Hi Lisa,
Umm maybe perhaps. I've never done that great with meditation either. The mediation is supposed to be helpful, but I don't know how much it really helps. :-/

Kim said...

Ugh, I hate situations like this. I just got talked to at work last week for being "too defensive." On one hand, I guess that's good because it means I'm not just smiling through disagreements, but I still don't like conflict. Who does? Like you said, hopefully it's a transitional phase. A. sounds like a difficult personality, in my opinion. I'm sure I'm biased, but I agree with all the points you made about things like the bed washing. Hang tough and keep communicating. I'm sure it'll be OK with some time.

Anonymous said...

I think a big part of the problem is that you don't seem to view her as the boss. You argue with her about your hours (she has to be strict about sending you home on time and your lunch break, she can get sued otherwise), cleaning up after the dogs, weighing the dogs, even going to mediation. In my opinion, it is not your place to do this (and I am only hearing your side of it). I think it is wonderful your boss values you enough to attempt mediation, and not just fire you, but I certainly understand why she would want to reevaluate your employment if mediation is not effective. I know this will sound rude, and I don't want it to, I just think that if you value your job you should tone it down a little.

Cammy said...

I agree with Kim, it sounds like even though she does have positive attributes, she might just have a difficult personality to work with, combined with the stress of starting a new business. I know it sucks to feel like someone is judging you or your abilities when they don't even know you as well as they think. I know you are EXCELLENT and dedicated to what you do, do you think there's any chance that she feels threatened by that? That maybe clients will prefer you and your methods in classes, so she's trying to be controlling to prevent that?

I Hate to Weight said...

is there a mediator present or is it just you and she? if there is a mediator, what are they saying?

this would be really hard for me. i don't like my performance to be so analyzed. i'm sure you do a great, caring and thorough job. maybe she is threatened.

good luck with all of this. i commend the way you;re viewing it.

Tiptoe said...

Kim, sorry to hear about the work situation. Agree on all fronts about conflict, but it is good to hear that you're voicing your own opinions too.

Re: A's personality--even she would say she can be difficult at times, and I do know she wants to change that as she realizes it is not always conducive to the work environment.

Cammy, thanks for your support. I'm not sure if she is exactly threatend, insecure about where the business is going makes more sense to me. I know things haven't taken off quite as quickly as she would have liked.

I Hate to Weight, the mediator is not present as she lives on the other side of the country. The mediations are over the phone, and A. and I sit in the conference room with the phone on speaker. The mediator is the dog consultant A. uses. She's fairly even keel asking both our views on things.

Anonymous, while I appreciate your opinion and we are all entitled to our own, I do not think you have seen the full picture. It isn't easy to portray every single thing that may go on with my work, because even since my first posts about work, things have changed and been inconsistent at times.

You are right that the points you made were some of my disagreements with A. However, even since our first conversations before the mediations when I thought everything was fine (I was very honest with her at that meeting which was what she wanted, she felt better, etc., and then apparently she was not), she has amended some things. For example, re: lunch, she did realize that I was working more hours than she had thought and amended that, so I have a longer break on long days. I go to lunch and also take my breaks as she wants.

In regards to the dogs being weighed, we came to a joint decision on that. As for mediation, I may have been against it initially, but I have done it. That's the thing, even with things I may have disagreed on--lunch, bedding, etc., I have done how she wants it.

As a general point, I just also want to say that if I sat back and said nothing about anything, A. would be very unhappy, as she does want our opinions on things. She may not agree with all of them nor take our suggestions, but she is certainly entitled to that as the owner.

Another point, I also want to iterate is that 90% of the time, A. and I agree on things and are on the same page. Maybe I have not said that well in my blog, but we are very respectful of each other. In regards to my viewpoint of her, we have a long history in friendship, and there is always a big transition when going to a different type of relationship. And that's evident on both sides, not just mine.