Yesterday I did something that makes me proud of myself. I brought an enemy to battle on my own terms and I didn't lose my cool while I was discussing an incident with her in front of my manager. Confrontation of a certain type is something I've been working on, I tend to let things slide and build up until I erupt. Those consequences are painful so I've been trying to be better about addressing things when they first become an issue rather than waiting. Our beauty event was last night, apparently attendance was down compared to previous years, and I probably could have done a better job of promoting it than I did. Before my manager went on vacation she placed numerous orders to insure that we would have the products we wanted before our big event.
Two of the orders didn't arrive until the afternoon of the event. My boss never calls us at work so when I walked in and was told she was on the phone for me I knew she wasn't calling to chat. Some of our vendors sponsor endcaps, they give us money to display their product prominently at the end of an aisle, and it's up to us to stock it and arrange it attractively. My manager had gotten an email from one of the suppliers who told her that he would be stopping by to inspect the endcap and take some pictures. She was almost in a panic about it, but grateful for the heads up that allowed us to quickly fill in some of the gaps and redo the display. We were very low on products from them so I ended up taking a lot of things from the shelves, but by the time I was done it was more than presentable.
I was there by myself so I opened up the orders and stocked as I waited on customers. Two other employees came in at noon, my friend and the woman who bullies and antagonizes others. When orders don't come in and you know they're coming there's really no point in calling the company the day of, but that's what the second person did. She grilled me about what I had done, but I don't owe her explanations. I went in back, saw that an order had arrived and started unpacking it. She came back, saw that we were busy, and said that she had to go upstairs and mentioned she would be back down to unpack another lower priority order that had arrived. That order was out and sitting on a cart waiting to be put away when the main order we had been waiting for arrived.
I made a mistake in paging the other woman I worked for to come back and help me because that tipped her off that the order was back there. She ran back and started unpacking the order we had been unpacking with us. I said that we had it and she said she didn't mind unpacking the first box. When I countered with the sales floor needing coverage she shot a rejoinder back at me saying that I could go cover it to which I replied that I had been there since 8:00 and had already been covering the floor. She refused to leave and rather than waste more time I walked back to the sales floor. My boss rarely dresses up or does a lot with her hair, she looked great when she came in so I gave her a hug and gave her a compliment on her appearance.
Later on I asked if I could talk to her and this other woman. When I brought up the incident the other woman interrupted me, I asked if I could finish speaking and she interrupted me again. Then my boss started to say something and she was interrupted by her. The conversation ended in a stalemate, my boss was in tears when I asked if the other woman wanted me to quit, she begged me not to and I told her I wasn't going to, but this had reached a breaking point. I have been bullied, intimidated, and endured a hostile work environment since I started back in July. During previous training I've received I've learned more about what a hostile work environment is and there's really nothing you can do to protect yourself from someone who is unwilling to play with the rest of the team.
The next step is a conversation with the GM and HR. I have options. I could quit or threaten to, that's the obvious one, but I like it there and that wouldn't really address the problem since she will go after other weaker people next. I could ask to be moved to a different department. This is also not very appealing, but I would do it to get away from her even if it means taking a pay cut. I could offer to be a float person, work in any department that needs an extra warm body. This is attractive for several reasons. I would get more training and learn new things, but I'd also have to put up with some of the crap other departments have. It might also mean a pay cut and I would miss my friends in the wellness department.
A book I have titled ADD and Romance says that most fights are not about the underlying issue. That was another mistake I made. Instead of talking about the boxes that needed to be unpacked I should have led with my fellow employee being antagonistic and harassing me when I was given a specific task to do by my manager. She doesn't feel significant so she's trying to assert herself and seize power in unproductive ways. For the most part I go about my business although I try to spread the love as my boss says by doing things to help other departments whether it's bagging groceries when the front end needs help, or showing someone where a grocery item is even though I could page someone who actually works in that department. The store as a whole delivers great service which is one of the reasons we have loyal consumers.
Today is my day off. I don't have to go in until noon tomorrow. I'm still not feeling well, but I'm making strides. I'm incredibly grateful to my boss and the other full time employee that I work with, both of them are simply angels. As a team we work well together and our part time person usually contributes quite a bit, we have one person dragging the department and the store down, there may be others in other departments, but she's my immediate challenge. I play a role in this too, part of it is a compassion, empathy, and humility thing. I'm making her look very bad and that would be hard for anyone. We both have some things we need to work on, I think I'm going to go up to HR and the GM and ask what I can be doing to better get along with her. This puts the onus on me and shows that I choose accountability over blaming others. I have many lessons to learn. This is one I've been avoiding, until now.