Clareified

Where does the good go

Me plus new job equals frowny face

I hate defending myself. As a general principle, I won’t do it. This does not come in handy in professional situations.

I started a new job two Mondays ago. It’s supposed to last two years, there’s health benefits and vacation time, plus, I still get paid by the hour. So, naturally  I got off on the wrong foot with my supervisor right away.

I had a dental appoinment scheduled for that Monday. I made it weeks before I even knew about the job. Of course, when I accepted the position, I rescheduled the dentist for Tuesday. Well, it turns out they wanted us to do more training on Tuesday, so I approached the supervisor on Monday afternoon and asked if I could stay late that Monday or come in very early Tuesday for the training because I had this appointment which I already  rescheduled blah blah blah.

This chick gives me my own patented blank stare and says “training starts at nine tomorrow.” And continues staring, saying nothing further.
Alrighty then.
Next day, I, of course, leave my training materials at home and have to borrow an office copy. And I have to ask her for it and suffer the judgmental staring AGAIN.
Awesome.
The day after that, I am in bright and early with my own materials and working away.
I do not turn on the lights cause I don’t like them and I was alone in the office. I have in my earphones, so I don’t hear when chick comes in.
“What are you doing here in the dark”?
(There are huge windows and it was 8 in the morning, so “dark,” firmly belongs in quotes.)
I say something about “oh, it’s cooler with the lights off, but feel free to turn them on.”
She goes off on me about how she knows she can turn them on and they won’t tolerate people sleeping in the office.
Oh. Kay.
Freee. Eek.
Whatever. I smile and nod, put back on my headphones and get back to work.
A week later, yesterday, I finally go to my dental appointment. The office is open from 7 am to 8 pm and we can work up to ten hours every day. There’s a sign in sheet and you record your arrival time and any breaks. There are no rules about when you can take breaks or anything, so long as you don’t work more than 10 hours. That’s what we were told during that extra training Tuesday.
Eyeroll.
So I get in at 7:15 and sign out at 9:30 for my dental appointment. I return at 10:30 and sign back in accordingly.
When I get back, she asks me to step outside with her.
Um. Okay.
She reads me the RIOT act about not telling her I would be gone for an extended amount of time.
O_o An hour?
So I was like “oh, I thought we just needed to sign out for lunch? I didn’t know we also had to let you know.”
She storms off.
I go back to my desk.
Today, she comes in to my office and asks my officemate to leave and informs me -her body literally shaking from rage- that she’s frustrated with having to deal with me. That 9 oclock is not a lunch hour, that I left my materials at home and that my sitting around in the dark would not be further tolerated and this would serve as my formal warning. Anything else, she would have to report me to HR and I would be asked to leave.
I was speechless!
She. Craaaaazzzzzyyyyy.
So I was like “okay.”
And she goes “okay? That’s it? You don’t have anything to say?”
I quickly determine that “well, in my defense, you are clearly batshit crazy,” would probably not go over well.
I simply stare her dead in the face and shake my head.
She walks out in a huff.
I add her name to the list and buy a lottery ticket on my way home.
And that’s my awesome story of the day!

19 Responses to “Me plus new job equals frowny face”

  1. Pdov Says:

    I’m not sure you are using “awesome” properly. But congrats on the new job!

  2. Dawn Summers Says:

    I CRY! *throws self off couch*

  3. Yaron Says:

    Good lord – that sucks. Your job sounds like some weird combination of “Office Space” and “Mommie Dearest”.

  4. April Says:

    Two years of that? O_o

  5. Astin Says:

    Because you didn’t insult TRON in this post, I will comment.

    “I hate defending myself. As a general principle, I won’t do it. This does not come in handy in professional situations.”

    Understatement.

    Your supervisor is obviously sick with power. The less power someone has, the more determined they often are to exercise it on those who will accept their rule.

    By staring blankly and not responding, you’re making yourself her whipping-girl. She’ll figure you won’t defend yourself and every time she has a bad day, guess who’ll she take it out on?

    Defending yourself to HR when you get called in will be too late. It will sound like an excuse and it will be much easier to fire you than deal with resolution.

    Forgetting training material when backups are available and having a dentist appointment aren’t infractions worth mentioning. Sleeping in your office would be, except you weren’t and didn’t say anything. Why make up a lie about the lights? Why not just say they bother you or give you a headache? Assuming they’re fluorescent, nobody’s going to believe they make the room hotter and will assume you were doing something like sleeping on the job.

    You might also consider pointing out that taking your “lunch” whenever you want is your decision as long as you don’t take more than one. Who cares if you take it at 9 or 12 or 3?

    While a response like “okay” and a stare may frustrate her, there’s a very good chance it will also infuriate her in a way that’s not good to you. It could come off as “okay, whatever, I don’t need this crap.” as opposed to “oooookay, you’re crazy.”

    Don’t insult, but state facts and be firm when confronted. She’s still your boss, but that doesn’t mean she can treat you like a serf. That or face at least 2 years of misery at her hands. At the end of the day, the work should speak for itself. Someone who does their job well, regardless of how they hold to a supervisor’s behaviour policy (within reason) should be seen as valuable.

  6. Dawn Summers Says:

    You know, it’s interesting that you think my standing up to her will make her stop. I get the sense that will only enrage her more. She seems…um…loopy.

  7. Dawn Summers Says:

    I’m dealing with her like I would handle a bear. With the same amount of screaming and running away.

  8. Astin Says:

    It’s not so much standing up to her as showing that for every “infraction” you have a reason, or she’s wrong (except the training materials, but again, minor). It becomes too much of a pain for her to confront you if you aren’t actually doing anything wrong. She’s a bully who fears her upward mobility is limited and is trying to compensate by being an overbearing ass and keeping others down. No reason you should make it as easy as possible for her.

    Option B is that you simply take her crap, stay resolved, and wait for her to be gone.

    Just don’t climb any trees. Bears are excellent climbers.

  9. Pearatty Says:

    “It’s not so much standing up to her as showing that for every “infraction” you have a reason, or she’s wrong (except the training materials, but again, minor)”

    I agree. She sounds like a bully. A loopy bully, but a bully none the less. Probably a racist bully. Bullies like to target people they think won’t fight back. On the other hand, some loopy people like to pick fights and then have a fight. Either way, if you want to keep the job, I’d keep responding to her, as Astin said.

    I think your followup after your appointment was good — “I didn’t know we had to let you know when we were taking lunch.” When she said 9 am isn’t a lunch hour, I would have responded again: “no one told me there were set lunch and break times; what are they so I know in the future?”

    I might follow up in email, so I had documentation, but that can cut both ways. Still, something like:

    “Chick:
    I’m writing to confirm our conversation today, in which you were upset that I took my lunch break yesterday between 9:30 and 10:30 am. I had not been instructed during training that there were set lunch and break hours, and asked you to clarify for me what they were. You stated that lunch may be only taken between [whatever and whatever].”
    Sincerely,
    Dawn

  10. Pearatty Says:

    Also, you should not run from a bear. You should hold your hands over your head so you look bigger than you are, and yell as loudly as you can at it, and throw rocks and pinecones at it.

    Run, you look like lunch. Fight back, and you look like a pain in the ass.

  11. elana Says:

    I’m with Pearatty. I have experience working with batshit bitches. Absolutely document things with her, and don’t antagonize the beast but 100% stand form, esp. when you’re right, it confuses them while sending a clear message.

  12. elana Says:

    stand firm, not form. Oops.

  13. Smokey Says:

    Definitely with Pearatty. And don’t waste your money on those Bear Sprays. You have to shoot them off at the *exact* right moment, which no one can really get right. Meanwhile, you’ve lost your chance to wave your arms around and throw, ahem, pinecones. Oh, and back up slowly as your doing all that. And don’t trip over roots while you’re doing that. And don’t burn down forests. That’s what Smokey says.

    Hey! Congrats on the job!

  14. Dawn Summers Says:

    Can your mother in law take care of this chick for me?

  15. Pearatty Says:

    Is Smokey’s mother in law particularly fearsome? Why? What do you know?

  16. Dawn Summers Says:

    She’s magic. When people upset her, they get disappeared.

  17. Pdov Says:

    I whole heartily agree with everyone above. Also can you talk to HR, if the batshit crazy persists? Don’t let her have the upper hand. Also, document, document, document.

  18. MissusB Says:

    Everyone else is telling you how to best handle this situation, but all I can do is enjoy the fact that you used one of my favorite phrases. Batshit crazy indeed!

  19. Smokey Says:

    My MIL is particularly fearsome with people who get in her own way. However, I’ve never heard stories of those that got in her husband’s or sons’ ways being disappeared. And Mr. Smokey points out that they never disappeared… they always left bodies behind.

    However, in light of your new developments, I’ll see what she can do.

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