ALMOST GETTING FIRED

9/11/2014

I WAS ALMOST FIRED: A LESSON IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION

He sat me down and he said, "DO YOU LIKE WORKING HERE? BECAUSE MAYBE YOU DON'T AND WE NEED TO FIND ANOTHER PLACE FOR YOU ESLE WHERE."


He told me that in all his years of working at our institution he had never dealt with an assistant like me who challenged him and talked to him so precise. I let him know that, I could not be compared to those who came before me because this was an entirely different situation and that what I needed as an employee might not be the same as the pervious assistants. I told him that I felt the need to speak up for myself and the three other assistants who were afraid to talk to him.

It's easy for someone to fire you then it is for them to fix themselves. This much I am aware of.

I reminded him that I simply asked for better treatment and he told me he would make some changes and yet I was back in his office. I told him I love my job and I had been here for a few years if I did not like it I wouldn't be here.

I politely reminded him of all the great things we have done together in the office. I also reminded him that, my three other bosses - advisors - have not had any complaints about my work or persona for the years they have known me and I have worked at the institutionI reminded him that I have a bachelors degree and finding a job would not be that hard with all my work experience. I told him I have worked with some big name institutions and companies and I believe I have a solid resume and reputation with the previous companies I have worked with.
I believe so strongly in who I am as a person/student/empolyee, but also in my work ethic and therefore his tone and intimidation did not comprise me because I felt that I deserved to be treated with respect in the workplace.

EMPLOYEE RIGHT:


You have the right as an employee to communicate with your boss in a professional manner. You have the right to demand to be communicated with respect. 

I demanded that right on more than one occasion and that's why I got called into my boss' office.

If you don't speak up you are supporting an unhealthy professional relationship. You must set boundaries and take notes on issues you are having.

Photo credit: WSJ.COM

NOW WHAT HAPPENED?


I was called into my boss' office after sending him an email about a student who wanted to meet with him briefly because my boss had previously cancelled his appointment and the student was not rescheduled.

When any student comes into my office without an appointment and ask to speak to an advisor, I always tell the student that the advisor has appointments, they busy, and then ask if I could be of any assistance? Usually I can help but in this situation, I couldn't assist the student. I couldn't refer the student either and, therefore, the student grew upset.

The student needed to meet an enrollment deadline the following day or he would not be in the courses he needed. I sent the email to my boss because the student was in distress. I had just had an incident the previous day where a student was cursing at me. I'm not a confrontational person and I did not feel comfortable dealing with the student and therefore I let my boss know. The current student did not want to leave the office until he was able to speak with him and I had the student wait in the waiting room. My boss in turn, came into my office very angry and yelled "YOU COULD OF JUST TOLD HIM I WAS BUSY."

I sent my boss a follow up emailed because I felt that for the past few years my boss has not trusted my ability to do my job and always assumes that I do nothing all day. I felt as though he places me in the "student category" and not the "employee."  As someone who has worked in this office for an entire semester alone and did not have one single incident, I felt that his assumptions about my ability to do the basics were mislead. There's no way I could have gone through two years of working in a fast pace office working for four advisors, dealing with over 21% of the student body, working with four other assistants, a large faculty of professors, and working with administrative staff by sitting down and looking pretty all day.

I sent him the follow up email to express my feelings about the way he yelled at me and also about his belief in my ability to do my job.

THE COMMUNICATION PROBLEM I NOTED WAS:

That my boss was quick to REACT and slow to LISTEN. He listened to RESPOND and not to ASSET/UNDERSTAND.

I had sat down with my boss less than three weeks ago and had the same discussion when he reacted to a message I sent him about another situation. He agreed that he had overracted and he would work on his issues.
During that meeting I let my boss know that I have never sent him a message attacking him personally and I have never been aggressive toward him in any manner.
I believe that when you are communicating with your manager or boss you have to be careful what you say and show respect because you don't want them to think you are telling them how to do their job. I let him know that I was not trying to tell him how to do his job, but I was trying to tell him that the way he communicated with me, by yelling at me in front of people and not considering what I way trying to relay, was causing me to feel uncomfortable and leading me to cease communication with him. 


Once my boss had calmed down and realized he was wrong and he just needed to take his time an read what I was saying he apologized and acknowledge he was wrong. He also made me aware of some the stress he was feeling within the work place and I came to understand the pressure he was under. We both came up with some solutions to take to a higher authority and I look forward to seeing those changes in the future.

Until then we are working with our professional relationship and trying our best to communicate better.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS:

Throughout our lives we will deal with difficult situations. We will not always agree with people we work with or admire. Yet, there's a level of respect that has to be given in any situation. I believe that there is office etiquette and that everyone must oblige by those standards. This etiquette is there to improve employee interaction and to maintain that the work environment remains pleasant but also safe.

Working in higher education during an economical depression is difficult because students are in a lot of stress and this stress is transferred to the personnel working within the university. I have to take in thousands of students' fears in a few months and transform that into a positive resolution and sometimes it's not always the resolution they want. I do my best to listen, interact with other employees, and offer a solution that I believe is the best based on what I can offer. It is very difficult to be office assistant, in one the largest department on campus, especially when we're understaffed and feeling overwhelmed. I love my job and I have been with the institution for a few years. I like to think that my work ethic has improved from this opportunity. I have learned a lot and I have never stopped wanting to learn.

For more tips on how to deal with a yelling boss:


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This blog is NOT geared toward sexual orientation or gender classification. This blog is based solely on the blog authors experience and research. This blog is geared toward promoting a mixture of masculine and feminine attire and with an integrated genderless lifestyle.

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