Yesterday was a day. It was a bad day at work which turned into my last day at work. It is a relief, though it was very upsetting at the time.
Here’s the facts. I have an attitude problem and I am not good at hiding it. I don’t like being spoken down to. I don’t like being told what to do. That’s not to say that I can’t follow directions. I like lists, I like directions, I like rules and order. I do not like being micro-managed. It is extremely insulting because it implies that I am incapable of doing simple tasks without someone holding my hand. So, when someone speaks down to me or treats me like an infant, I get angry. I try to keep it to myself, but I don’t have complete control over myself. My anger will leak into my voice, into my movements. I don’t like it. I would prefer to have a Jedi/Vulcan calm. I suppose everyone would.
I also need people to like me, trust me, praise me. I don’t like being wrong at all. These are character flaws and I struggle with them, like everyone.
So, it was a bad day at work. We were short-staffed because a few other people have decided they would prefer to work elsewhere. Fewer people means that I feel rushed to do things and some tasks that should be done periodically are ignored because there is so much to do and not enough people to do everything. Instead of trusting the manager to, well, manage the situation, maybe lending a hand as needed, the boss dictates everything we do and how and in what order.
And, in my opinion, it was the wrong order. It was infuriating. I do not like asking permission to do necessary tasks. You could say that I was losing control and I wouldn’t argue with you. The boss has every right to dictate how things are done and as an employee, I should try to follow those dictates regardless of my personal opinions. I was a soldier. I know how to take orders.
I guess part of the problem is that I was a soldier. I was an NCO, trained to lead and to take command. I was only an E-5, a buck sergeant, enough rank to expect some autonomy and respect, but not enough to suffer the stress of command. You could say that I have experience in training personnel, dealing with stressful situations, and assessing and prioritizing tasks. (I should also explain that I have a compulsion to finish tasks and I am the type of person that has to stack dishes before I start washing them.)
I guess it came to a head when a piece of equipment fell off the disorderly pile of dishes onto the floor and I was told to be more careful and that it shouldn’t have been put where it was and I managed not to scream that if someone had let me do some of the dishes then maybe things wouldn’t be precariously perched and…
Instead of yelling I shrugged, found a better place to put it on the stack and went about doing may assigned tasks a bit louder than was probably necessary. A short time later, I was called to the front of the shop where I was asked if I had a problem with the boss and encouraged to be honest. I said yes. I was given the choice of working it out with her right now or looking for a new job. So I said that I did not need this job, offered to finish the day but was told to leave immediately (which I was grateful for and completely understand).
I cried some, which is to be expected, and I let it torment me a lot. Could I have found a way to work it out? I don’t know. How do you explain to someone that a civilian saying she gave me an order is deeply offensive? How do I tell her husband that her managerial style is so poisonous that she is driving away all her employees? How do I get across that I cannot be treated like a bad dog? I may downplay my experience in the military, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to disregard that I am a decorated combat veteran. I may not have seen any “action” (i.e I didn’t have to shoot at anyone), but I did my duty and I am not some kid who can be treated like crap just because I need to make rent and will put up with rudeness for a paycheck. I don’t need a job. I really only wanted a job to keep me occupied and gain civilian work experience. My husband is the one paying the bills, and doing a stellar job of it. And he will continue to be the bread winner until I finish school and start in on my own career and become rich and famous.
I am capable of being a mature adult even after all of this. I emailed my old boss to thank him for the opportunity and experience, as well as his gracious flexibility concerning my rather flexible schedule. I am sorry it couldn’t have ended more amiably, but so it goes. His response was courteous, so while I can’t expect a glowing reference from him, I can at least continue to attend the same church as him. That is the greatest relief for me right now. I can’t stand people not liking me.
My biggest regret is that my absence is going to negatively affect my coworkers, and they are already stressed enough. But sometimes you have to do what is right for your own state of mind and I lost far too much sleep over that job.
So that is my attitude problem. If my prospective employers are reading this, I hope they understand that I am not trying to make excuses or justify myself, nor am I trying to place blame in anyone else’s corner. I am trying to be honest with myself so that I can improve for next time.