When my mom and I visited my step-father in the nursing home (where he is still recovering from surgery), I told him that I was enjoying my new job. I said it is such a shock to me when the supervisors gather us employees together at the end of the day and say to us, “Good job, everyone. Thank you.” My former boss was such a bully. He would rather die than compliment the workers. I feel really good about the way my current supervisors treat me and it’s nice.
Sure enough I should have kept my mouth closed.
That evening, I went to work and one of the supervisors complained to me that the store had looked terrible at 8 am. Like an idiot, I spoke up. “I closed last night.” Yeah, me and eight other people. She then criticized my work endlessly. We went around and around, until I figured out to just agree with her. Then she said she would have someone retrain me and went and told at least four other people that I was doing sub-par work. Aaargh!
I was so pissed off. How dare she insult my work and thereby, me? Am I not a complete perfectionist? The store looked beautiful. Really beautiful. And just two days earlier, I had been given some kind of gold star for my beautiful displays. Eff her, man! One night I get complimented and the next night, I don’t know my butt from a hole in the wall?
I couldn’t get over it. Hours went by, and I couldn’t get over it.
The correct, useful, mature coping mechanism would have been to ignore her comments and to stop thinking about it. But I couldn’t do that. I kept running over our dialogue in my head and it totally sucked all the joy out of my work environment. I was really pissed, my feelings were hurt, and I was ruminating.
When my coworker came over to “retrain me”, she asked me why they wanted her to retrain me when I already knew what to do. I told her the story about the critical supervisor who was “the only one who could make a store display“. She agreed that the supervisor is a pain in the ass and commiserated with me. But even that wasn’t the end of my irritation. It took four separate coworkers to tell me that she was indeed a problem, before I would let it go. I worried about my future shifts and how unpleasant they might be. I ranted to myself that there has always got to be one asshole who ruins work for everybody. Always one!
Ultimately, I dealt with my anger by organizing 200 pairs of shorts by size and color. I made a rainbow: blue jeans, white, white with a pattern, orange with a pattern, orange, greens, light blue, blue, navy… You get the picture. I realized that I was trying to make order. If my life can’t be ordered, then at least the shorts rack can be perfect. Damn it! At which point, I realized that I am probably very much like the critical supervisor. She needs to feel special and competent. She’s a martyr who sacrifices herself for her job. Only she can do things right. That’s a description of me, isn’t it?
Well, for sure I used to be like that – but I think I have grown out of it. I don’t feel so important anymore. I don’t need to be the A student at the clothing store. Or maybe I do. The point is, I have no clue how to deal with a person who cannot be pleased. It’s my mom all over again. I don’t have a tool box for handling this woman and I’m really angry about that. I feel very picked on and helpless.
“Bad Coping Skills 101. Organize By Color.” is copyright © 2014 by Poorkitteh. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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