Yesterday I laid around and chatted with a friend of mine. At some point in time I want to write a poem with the title The Orchid Within. I did one version, but there is more to it that I have yet to explore. There have always been orchids in my life. When I was younger I read about a collector. People on my mom's side tend to love plants. My mom has beautiful gardens and neat landscaping at her place. None of what she has now with few exceptions were there when she moved. I would have kept the laundry area downstairs, she chose to tear it out, and her most recent purchase was a set of patio doors off of her dining room. I wanted a similar setup when I was a home owner. We had the perfect yard for it, nice, flat, and level, ripe with endless possibilities. When we moved I wanted a clothesline. When we were younger we would run under sheets hanging out on the line. Generally I don't view myself as romantic, but the sunwarmed sheets, crisp, flat, rectangles of cotton, there's something about bedding that appeals to me. Most of what I own is old, worn, faded, and soft. At home I have those types of things because once I'm out in the real world, none of that is available to me.
When my friend and I were talking we were trying to figure out the personality types of other people. It's a game we enjoy playing with each other. He is ENTP, I am INTJ, we have great conversations about a variety of subjects, he's one of my best friends and we talk almost every day. My unicorn friend reminds me of him, she is ENFP, another friend of mine is ESFP (I think). Today at work a friend of mine was upstairs. I was just furious, but erupting at work is a bad idea so I kept it together until I left. Once I was in my car I had more choices. I could drive as fast as my car would go, get wasted, grab my bat and smash things, rage, or try and find some productive way to channel the negative energy. My friend made a crack about people who go to the library and I know she was joking, but it wasn't that funny to me. This is the kind of situation I don't understand. I was literally seething, but people treated me the way they normally do and nobody asked me what was wrong. To me it felt like everyone could tell I was livid, but that's not how I was treated.
I made it to the library safely. I had sent a friend a text and she got back to me almost instantly. I went outside to talk to her. It helped. She listened to me, validated what I was feeling, and congratulated me on making some progress on a tough issue. One of the things I do at work is try to help my manager avoid problems she has had in the past. Her anger is instantaneous and powerful, she sees red and stops thinking. We were talking about how she gets into trouble with management and I said she had every right to be upset and take action, but if she could talk to people in back, they would have less leverage. The other day she told me she had taken my advice on a matter. I didn't know what she was talking about because I try very hard to respect her and that means I recognize her power and authority over me so I couldn't imagine what advice this could be. But I do remember telling her that the schedule was hers to play with and she could give herself whatever hours she wanted without feeling guilty that others weren't going to be getting what they wanted if they did that. I didn't really consider that advice, but she did and I'm glad she arranged things so it would work well for her to prepare for her holiday gathering.
My manager has an extremely strong sense of duty. Even if she doesn't agree with a rule she will generally make sure it is followed. I once got sent home for wearing shoes that were not technically dress code compliant. Nobody had complained, but there had been an issue and she told me to drive home and change so I did. One aspect of my personality is an inability to follow rules that I think are stupid. Rules often exist for a reason, but there are exceptions to that, and sometimes they are a whim and there is little or no organizational benefit to implementing them. I've often said that work is the type of place where you can do 99 things right, but the one thing you get wrong will be what they notice. I don't get credit for filling in for other people, careful inventory management, implementation of smarter systems, great customer service, being a sounding board for my manager and others, or building other people I work with up in a manner that helps them personally, professionally, or both. Most of the time I don't care since I would rather not be on their radar and I don't really respect them anyways so the praise is not what I'm after. I do want the financial incentives that should accompany cost savings or an increase in corporate profits.
There is a huge power struggle in my department. My manager is direct, assertive, and nobody's fool. I don't always agree 100% with her assessments, but there have been many times where she said something or made an observation, and months or even a full year later I sat back to marvel at how her mind works. She sees the way that things are. I see the way that things can be. She sees the behavior, I have the solutions. Problematic people need to go. In the past her solution has been to yell at people on the sales floor whenever she comes across something that needs to be challenged. She's adopted a new strategy that was very difficult for her and I am so proud of her. One of the reasons the last assistant manager left was because she couldn't figure out how to spend other people's money in a way that made our department profitable. She was given a free hand and she went wild. We are still dealing with the purchases she made and now we have the same problem with someone else. My manager has been very clear about what guidelines should be followed when people place orders. I've made mistakes and she's forgiven me, there's a learning curve and she understands that.
When people can't directly attack you, they will sometimes find a way to hurt you indirectly. I loathe and despise these people with every fiber of my being. I am not like this, don't think like this, and try to be clear about where I stand with others so this type of thing doesn't happen. I don't have to love everyone I work with, but I see the benefit of treating others politely even if we are not best friends. Mostly I follow a stay in my lane approach with these people. Unless they speak to me I go about my business. Sometimes I won't even say good morning to them because why waste my time and theirs? The people I can't stand say hi to me and act like we are friends, this is another insight my friend had. He said that some of the people I was talking about would consider our relationship to be a friendly one, but my friends wouldn't treat me like that and people who do are not friends of mine. Sometimes people will ask me what is wrong when I'm thinking about something. I spend quite a bit of time in my head, my friend told me that she will look over and can tell that I am deep in thought, I appreciate observations like that from people. She can tell I am thinking so unless she has to interrupt, she will let me process whatever is on my mind.
I like closure. I dislike open ended problems where there is no solution, or the obvious solution is blocked for some reason. My manager got a witness to be there during the conversation she had with the person who had violated the rules about ordering. She waited until another person was available, conducted it behind closed doors, and tied it to our bottom line. She stuck to the facts and avoided making anything personal. Our inventory is her responsibility. Every product that we pay for costs us money and her manager will take her to task if her people are not following the rules. When my friend and I were talking he said he didn't want to see me get hurt. I am a risk taker. There is no way to avoid getting hurt in life. One of the worst things to me is seeing people who play it so safe they stagnate. I am an adrenaline junkie, I live for excitement and adventure, but I take calculated risks. Driving way too fast would be fun, but I would rather not pay a fine for getting pulled over, I can think through those types of situations even when I am furious. Saying the wrong thing has cost me dearly in the past. Today I am typing instead of screaming at someone the way I would have twenty years ago.
My life is mine to risk to a certain extent. People who play fast and loose with company money are not cute. I think this person is frustrated at her lack of power and control at work. My manager gives me a free hand at work. She'll tell me what needs to be done at times, and then gives me the freedom and flexibility to do it on my time and in my way. She trusts me to get things done and knows that if I need help or clarification I will ask for it. Subversive behavior sabotages our department and by extension, the store. People in a position to spend other people's money need to be even more careful with it than their own, but that isn't the attitude here. I think she's going crazy with the products because it's an area where she can. Sort of like the person who is bullied at school will come home and take it out on a younger sibling or pet, or the child who is abused at home may go to school and beat up other kids for lunch money. I can't believe how angry I am about this. Something very wrong is happening, management knows about it, and is backing the very person who is costing us money instead of making it.
I can help by taking good care of myself. The funeral is tomorrow, I bought snacks at work to take, I forgot my lunch today so I ended up buying things at work, that was frustrating and I need a system so I remember to grab my lunch before I walk out the door. A solution would be to pack everything the night before so even if I forget the main item in the fridge I will at least have the side items. Sometimes I wonder if I received a bi-polar diagnosis because it seemed to others that I had manic spells where I was cleaning and organizing everything. Now I think that was my way to cope with external or internal problems I couldn't solve on my own. I adore problem solvers. I love it when I run a problem past someone and they come up with a solution I couldn't or didn't. Some of my favorite people are those who listen to what I'm saying, analyze the problem, and hand me a great solution on a silver platter. I don't even care if what they say seems impossible, I know that very often we are capable of much more than we realize and that patience can be a wonderful friend.
There is a difference between a toss away comment that pretends to solve a problem and an actual solution that can be implemented. I love the people who take me and my problems seriously because I am a very good problem solver and am able to approach things from many angles seeking a solution. I don't generally need help solving problems, they tend to be fun for me so I look for problems to solve and then go after them. This has gotten me in trouble when I've gotten involved in other people's lives, sometimes people don't want help. This has gotten long, but I feel better than I did. I don't know what is at the bottom of this yet, but even if I am offered the job at the airport I am going to decline it. The woman who interviewed me wasted my time and I do not appreciate having my time wasted.
Possibly she felt or recognized that I was not going to be a good fit in some way and decided not to ask me typical interview questions, one friend of mine said she didn't because she felt like I had the job and could use the interview as a training session, I have no idea who is correct and I don't care. People who waste time are not people I want to work with, or for, so I am sad and disappointed, but feel like that was a very valuable observation on my part and while there are many times when I wish I could sense what others are feeling, there are moments like this when I am doubly grateful for my gift of intution. I listen to that inner voice telling me that something is off and I heed it because I've learned that the voice is there for a reason and I don't always find out why, but ignoring it has cost me more often than not.
I need a plan. Going forward I am going to make my manager even happier at work. My friend is brilliant although I am positive that if you ran this past him he would say that he was just plugging my observations into personality profiles. Humility is admirable, but confidence and owning it is sexy. I'm trying to remember why we started talking about the personality profiles and failing to come up with the context. This is my new toy and I am having ridiculous amounts of fun with it. A woman I work with told me that I think and write more than anyone else she knows. I built a life that allows me to do this and I'm going to do more of it at work because this is a strength of mine and now I have a new way to evaluate others and solve interpersonal conflice. I feel like a kid in the proverbial candy store today despite my intense frustration.
A character of mine wanted to be a very powerful sorceress when she grew up, today I can almost feel sorry for those who think they are going to get away with undermining my manager's authority. I don't know what is going to happen next, I have to take a step back when I am emotional, once my head is clearer I can think, and plan. This is a battle and I'd like to avoid it developing into a full blown war. History made sense to me when they spoke about military strategy, I learned a lot from tactical maneuvers that were either genius or horrible failures. I'm going to make a list of allies, adversaries, and neutral parties and go from there. I'm powerful, influential, I'm going to have a game plan, and I play to win. The other day I found a philosophy that resonates - do not play games with me. You will start them, I will stop them, and you will not like how it ends. Sometimes it is fun to be me. Today is one of those days.
Until next time,
P.S. I'm sure I will eventually calm down. I can be very forgiving and understanding. I can even be part of the solution if someone comes to me with a specific problem, but if you think I am going to stand there while others tie my manager to a stake for burning, they have another think coming.