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By: Susan Lewis
Recommended by one of our fabulous members and reprinted with permission from IDISAGREECOMPLETELY: www.idisagreecompletely.com.
No really, it’s not them. It IS you.
Those words were right on the tip of my tongue as I sat quietly and patiently listened to Victoria.
She had been sent to me for training from a client. She had recently been hired and was doing well with her job. She needed “fine tuning,” which I questioned the meaning of when the client called.
“Victoria is new at her job and she is learning…”
“But?” I asked. The unfinished sentence hung in the air.
“She has a bit of a problem with the other women. She complains that they don’t like her. She said they were ganging up on her.”
This made no sense to me since I personally knew all of the employees in this office. I had trained all of them for the last several years. I could tell you everything about each one. Who was married, the names of their husbands and children or the names of their boyfriends, where they lived, what they thought, what their dreams were and where they had failed.
Some I had become very good friends with. I often receive pictures of their family or pets, along with calls for personal advice and help.
I knew just about everything about them. They were a wonderful, lovely and amazing group of women. They weren’t perfect, but they were kick ass and I was proud to know them. I was proud of the work we had accomplished.
With our help and their dedication, we had taken a failing business that had tripled its income in a year. The majority of the staff were women (about 95%) and each and every one of them worked their asses off to form a team and build the business back up.
They were my girls and they proudly told anyone who asked that they belonged to me.
“What seems to be the problem Victoria?”
She sighed and brushed her bangs off her forehead. She was in her mid-30′s, pretty and impeccably dressed.
“I’m not sure, but I don’t think any of the women like me. You know how they can be.”
I tilted my head and furrowed my brow. “No, I don’t. What do you mean exactly?” I asked as I sat back and crossed my arms across my chest.
“Well, none of them are very friendly towards me. I think they are jealous. I’ve had that problem all my life, so you would think I would be used to it, but I’m not.”
“Jealous? Of what?” I asked.
“I’ve never been able to be friends with women. The constant bickering, backstabbing and gossiping. In fact, just the other day I asked Gloria a question and she completely ignored me! I mean, how rude is that?”
I chuckled. “Gloria is 75 years old and 85% deaf. Where were you standing when you were talking to her?” I asked.
She thought about this for a minute. “I was standing behind her, but she should have been paying attention to me.”
“Did you know she was almost deaf?” I asked.
“Ummm…no BUT SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME!” she said.
“No, not true. YOU should have cared enough to find out. You know, the business doesn’t run itself based on what you need. You were hired to solve THEIR problems. That’s why you get paid. They aren’t there to solve yours.”
She sighed and flipped her hair and looked away.
Her rudeness was beginning to show and it was time to bring it all out into the open.
No more being social and polite. It was time to see what I had here.
“So, what you’re saying is you started talking to Gloria but didn’t have her attention and she didn’t hear you but to you that means she didn’t respond because she’s jealous of you? Do I have that right?”
“Well, when you put it that way…”
“I’m not putting it in any particular way. I am either stating the facts or I am not. Which is it?”
“OK, yes, you’re right…” she said and just at that exact moment, her cell phone rang.
She had been instructed earlier that no cell phones were allowed in the training room. I allowed absolutely no interruptions and was very clear that updating one’s Facebook status could wait until break. She had assured me she understood, agreed and had turned off her phone.
She reached into her purse, grabbed her cell phone and started talking on it.
In front of me as if I was no longer there.
She was talking on her cell phone during her training time that the client had paid for. She was being paid to train and was now using that time, and mine, to chat with someone. She had lied to me and didn’t even have the courtesy to excuse herself to take the call.
She just answered the phone mid conversation and then turned her back to me to talk.
I tapped her on the shoulder. She looked up and was annoyed.
“Excuse me, but is that an emergency phone call? Do we need to call 9-11?”
“No, not at all. It’s my husband. He wants to know what to pick-up for dinner,” she said and turned away and continued to talk.
I yanked the phone out of her hand. I put it up to my ear and said “Victoria is busy, but she will call you back later,” and hung-up.
I loved the look on her face. I turned the phone off and took it out of the room and put it in my desk drawer and walked back into the training room.
I looked at her. “If you ever pull that stunt again, I will dismiss you from training and it will be up to you to explain to your boss why I did. She will be quite interested since I have never had to do that before.”
As much as I worked to help people pull themselves up, every once in a while, you run into someone who needs to be slapped down a peg or two.
“There is nothing wrong with the women in that office. The problem is you and for you to blame everyone for your inability to be decent and kind to those around you is most amazing to me. What do you think should happen? Do you think everyone should change because you don’t know how to get along with them? Is that what you think because if it is, I wish you luck.”
Her lower lip quivered. Tears formed in her eyes. She batted her eyes at me. She sighed and gave me a pleading look of innocence.
I didn’t buy it for a second. Though she was the first to bash women, she was also the first to try to use being a woman to get her way.
No, not with me and not in my training program. There was not one aspect of our program that is based on gender. It is completely based on ability, performance and results whether you are carrying a penis or a uterus. No one cares.
“Tell you what Victoria; if you want to know what’s wrong, just look in the mirror. There’s your answer.”
“OK, I’ll try,” she said. Suddenly her tears were gone.
“And if my girls start to pick on you, you know what you should do?”
“Apologize for what it is that you said that pissed them off because guess what? They’ve worked together for years and years and they all get along. They have formed friendships and they have poured their heart and soul into that business and they have my full permission to take you out if you start to mess with them. Understood?”
She nodded her head.
Needless to say, she didn’t last long.
Fine by me.
A little about today’s guest blogger from her “About Me” page:
I disagree with many things. Hence the name of this blog. I disagree with labeling people and putting them in a little box. I disagree that people aren’t important and good. I disagree with not loving yourself and those around you. I disagree that help doesn’t exist. I disagree that life and work shouldn’t be fun. I have a long list. I have also have worked for many years with people, including battered women, to improve their businesses and personal lives. I figured maybe it’s time to put some of what I have learned out there for anyone who could use it. If it helps, that’s great. If not, so be it. I enjoy publishing my short stories as a hobby. I am currently working on my first novel and somehow I find the time during the day and evening. Mixed in here are articles that might help you or at least make you smile. Remember that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Trust me, it is.
If you liked today’s post, be sure to visit Susan’s blog: www.idisagreecompletely.com!
And all the paralegals on the planet simultaneously said “Amen,” sister Susan! We have a feeling paralegals all across the nation are now clamoring to their piggy banks, searching their desk drawers and beneath couch cushions in the break room, to see if they can scrounge up sufficient funds to hire Susan for a little law office sanity recovery program, which could perhaps be better described as a little discipline for the Dark Clouds a/k/a Keepers of the Misery! Can’t say we blame you. Can’t say we might not feel a wee bit inclined to join you on certain days while dwelling in the land of legal. Would love to stay and chat, but we’ve gotta beat those esquires to the loose coins while en route to our next caffeinated beverages of happiness!
Good luck clinging to “the departed” formerly known as your sanity, my friends. Wishing you a Happy High Heel Friday! As to the evil doers, clink-clink, that’s us counting change – one coin at a time.
We’ll see you on Monday!