conflict at work

Last week, I got to a bit of a conflict with one of my staff. Well, I can’t say that this is the first time I’ve had a conflict at work (which was always quickly resolved!), but it is my first time with my own staff.

Everyone has their days, and that day was mine. I was just “talked at” by my superior, so mood in the morning wasn’t exactly sweet. Past few days have been rough, too – my staff was becoming more undisciplined and slacking. I guess all the dissatisfaction was rolled up into a big ball of something that day.

I was talking to one of my staff about some paperwork that I needed them to do for me when my other staff, rudely, interrupted to say something about an online application I asked them to do few days ago.

Now, sadly to admit, people I work with (not just my staff) have this bad habit of interrupting others, who are, obviously, in another conversation. I think it’s more of a cultural trait or social behaviour than an attitude…could be, I don’t know.

So, anyway, annoyed as I was, I gave one-answer sentences, which, in turn, annoyed them because I wasn’t giving my full-attention. I resumed my conversation with my staff, and proceeded to doing my work. The interrupting staff turned to me, again, and asked a question that increased my annoyance.

Few days ago, I’ve already handed down the assignment, and explained. I’ve even explained that they should liaise with this person from another department about it. So, wouldn’t you have thought that, yes, I know what to do now? I cannot afford to babysit my adult staff anymore! Apparently, my interrupting staff didn’t get that.

This was where I failed as a middle manager. I turned to sarcasm.

“So, what do I do with this now?” the interrupting staff asked, waving their index finger towards the computer screen, their eyebrows arched.

I smiled, and gave a rather stupid giggle, “Oh, nothing, you just stare at it”.

Wrong move, damn it.

I’ve worked with this staff for over a year now, and I kind of know how they work. They can also be quite emotional and defensive (somewhat like me), and aggressive (unlike me). So, my approach towards them was to joke with them, become friends, etc. I guess my approach backfired, because that in turn made them to treat me with less respect as an authority.

Needless to say, they went berserk.

“Oh, hell, stare at it, ey? I can definitely stare at it! If you’re gonna act like you’re pissed off, I’m well pissed off, too!” they raised their voice, and I was scared and angry at the same time.

I wanted to go up to them, and asked what their problem was to shout like that in the office. I wanted to say, if they had a problem with me, say it to me properly. I also wanted to say, if you give a stupid question, you’ll get a stupid answer. If you actually listened to me that day, you wouldn’t be asking me this question. If you actually have some sort of common sense, you freaking fill in this application form with our company details. What is so hard about that? Seriously!

But I kept quiet, and ignored their outburst. Throughout that day, we didn’t speak to each other at all. First few hours, I was still a little upset, and kept thinking how I probably needed to reprimand them, immediately. But I thought I’d just let it die off for a bit. Then, I found out that they had to take leave the next day because their father had to undergo emergency medical treatment. Yes, yes. Maybe that’s really why they were more in a sour mood than I was that day. I rolled my eyes and sighed at my stupidity and ego and untamed sarcasm (when provoked).

My staff rely on me. They look up to me. My manager relies on me to take care of them. To guide them. To help them. To lead them. And there I was, being a bitch. I say that they forgot my authority…I forgot, too.

My staff aren’t exactly the smartest, but they are willing to work hard. I’ve worked with them for a year at a similar level, and then another year with me as their supervisor. They’re a bit rowdy, but with the right push, they do the job right. I need to make them believe in their purpose in this place. Need them to believe in the work they do. I’ve tried the responsibility approach i.e. give them more tasks, but that just made them more dependent on me. I’ve tried the friendly approach and that backfired! I’ve been reading a lot of management online, and I’ve decided to do an impromptu evaluation of each staff, and call it a year-end evaluation.

Next working day arrived, and I didn’t know what to expect. Well, I knew that they wouldn’t still speak to me, immediately. Inside, I was hoping that they were a professional, and indeed they were when they did still interact with me, work-wise, even if it was just that “here you go” as they passed me some documents. But at the end of the day, they said goodbye as they left the office, and I thought, “Ahh, progress.”

Depression

Someone once told me that there are days where we are up high in the sky, and where we are down below…probably lower than the surface. And that it is normal.

Normal.

Someone else told me that when we feel sad in reaction to something that’s supposed to make us feel relieved (like lost-cause relationship that got broken up), it means that we are grieving. Grieving the loss of what’s being replaced. Even if it is supposed to be a good thing, and it is. But it is normal to grieve.

Normal.

Today, someone told me that he doesn’t feel normal. He feels lower than the surface everyday with a facade that says otherwise. And he feels that his kind of grieving is never-ending.

Depression.

Last night, I allowed myself to sink low, grieve, and feel sorry. Numbing whatever I was trying to express. And just spoke to random strangers on social media to fill the void. The void of being totally alone with my thoughts and feelings.

Depression. It comes and goes, but there to remind that it will always be around. Not amounting to whatever dreams and ambitions created.

Depression is not normal. It isn’t just what it is.

 

quick thoughts of the heart

Bear with me as I write my thoughts of love, relationship, and all that.

I don’t know how I could commit myself into a relationship when I knew that I wasn’t completely ready. Single (average self-esteemed) people, when you’ve read that you should love yourself before you can love others, it is so true. SO TRUE. Only when you’ve truly felt like you’re enough and you’re perfect just the way you are and you love yourself without conditions…only then you’d be able to give your love to someone else…to give the effort to love someone else.

My instinct, gut feeling, or whatever was warning me. Yet I ignored it. I wanted to give it a chance. Nothing wrong in that, yes. But it IS wrong when you commit to something you’re not sure about. There was a dilemma in this. And I took the plunge.

By doing so, I am hurting the other person. And this will hurt me more, knowing that I’m doing this to the other person.

If he were the one, I wouldn’t look elsewhere. If he were the one, I’d give my ALL. I know my ALL. I gave it once to someone before.

Our personalities don’t fit. Our expectations don’t fit. Our ideas of love and relationship don’t fit. Our goals for the future don’t fit.

Then how the heck did we end up together, you ask? Foolish hope. Desperation for someone to lean on. Someone new. Different.

It’s sad. Truly is. Won’t deny it.

Listening to “I don’t feel it anymore” by William Fitzsimmons.

Fin.

Online Connections

Few years ago, I stumbled upon this online forum for wanting to express myself, anonymously. To take a break from playing World of Warcraft (to spend time with the (ex) boyfriend) and from writing tons of essays for my MA, I started to write my stories on the forum. Stories of wanting to do a PhD after, of how much I cared for the (ex) boyfriend. Kinda like an online journal, blogging, or an obsessed Facebook status updater (haha). I was 23 when I wrote my first share in 2011. Feedback was sure to be had, and you can learn so much from how one writes.

Over the years, I shared music tastes, embarrassing moments, frustration, jovial times, deepest secrets…and read many stories of similar topics. It’s nice to be able to connect with other people around the world and find common interests. Of course, the Internet being what it is, there were a handful of unpleasant users out there who abuse the anonymity. Besides the usual perverts, there were trolls as well. The forum was meant to be non-judgmental and provide sound advice, when asked for. I remember being judged cruelly for one of my skeletons in my closet and took me few days to recover from the terrible feeling.

Funnily enough, I never really transitioned from that forum to other social applications like Whatsapp, Skype or emails. I guess it was because I wanted to stay semi-true to the anonymity feature. Yes, with some, I shared my name and where I was from, when asked, but never more than that, unless necessary. Unless I was willing to go there.

Five years on, I’ve shared about 70 stories; some anonymously, some penned with my profile. In these five years, I’ve exchanged messages with over 30 users, and, still with about 2-3 users only. I’ve experienced wonderful words of encouragement, enlightening conversations on Woody Allen’s movies, insightful thoughts on social and environmental issues, and, just simple hello-how-are-you chats. Most people I’ve had the chance to connect with were from the US, some from Australia, and a few from England, Italy, France, and Germany.

This forum is my online community, yet I don’t feel the need to log into it all the time, I don’t feel the need to “show” something or to grab attention. I like it because I get to share my stories and someone is bound to give feedback. I also like it because I get to read other people’s stories, and find that no matter where we are, we have similar experiences. The online connection makes the world seem small and big at the same time.

I also like this online community because there are so many good people. And despite what we’ve been through, where we are in the world, we all want the same things;

To give and receive love.

To live the life we want.

To give meaning to our lives.

I suppose that me stumbling into this forum, and then to have stuck with it this long, I wanted to know myself better. I wanted help with the disconnection I sometimes felt (and still feel) with the physical world. It’s amazing what you can read on online forums – you can find out so much about various behaviours and attitudes. I have found a place where I could interact with other truth-seeking individuals out there.

working alone vs working in a team

I like working alone sometimes because then I’d be the only one I could be disappointed in if I screwed something up. I also like working in a team because it’s double the feeling of accomplishment when it’s a team effort. It’s also a double blow if we fail because that way, everyone, hopefully, will taste the humility pill. I realize that sometimes the things that I’ve just mentioned don’t happen…or they happen quite the opposite.

It’s like being in university all over again. I’ve always heard my friends, complaining about how their project-mates weren’t cooperating or were slacking, and they’d be the ones who have to bring the team up, etc. I was lucky that my almost all teammates back in uni were equally contributing, and if any of us sucked in our individual presentation, that was our own fault because we did our own speeches without consulting each other. So, imagine my major disappointment that some people at work are worse than university students in shared responsibilities/credit/failures.

I like the alone-time. The silence. Especially when I’m doing something that requires my full attention, or else, I’d beat myself up for having missed that eureka moment due to colleagues chattering loudly about the food they’ve been having to break fast. I like the active discussion. The enthusiasm. Especially when we’re doing something that requires each and everyone’s unique touch, or else, it’d just be a…flop.

So I don’t know which way I go. I think I’m more to the solo worker. But I crave interaction. It’s more fun and beneficial to have two or more working minds going at each other. Or maybe I just prefer the one-on-one because it’s “more” that way, no?

For instance, right now, I’m just finishing up work and I think I’m the only one left here in this building. I’ve got my playlist on, and I’m letting my thoughts run wild onto this screen. I find my mind works better. But, I find that I’m sighing because no one is here to share my sentiments with. Someone alike, but not so, to make the combo ever alive and active.

This is me, trying to figure out what I want to do as a career. How’d I do?

/E