I’m In Hell

Question:

I’m very serious about my job. I trained people the right way and I try to keep them working the right way. My co-worker urges these employees not to listen and follow my directions. I think she told them that I’m not their boss, but I’ve worked longer than she has. My boss told them to listen and follow what I said about the job because I have knowledge about everything here. Now she is a friend with those I’ve trained and they’re talking behind my back. If they see me coming to their work area, they stop taking. That happened yesterday and today. Working in this place is hell. I’m thinking of quitting even though I need this job. Please help; my head is going to explode!

Signed,

Won’t Listen In Hell


Answer:

Dear Won’t Listen In Hell:

Before you explode, let’s step back to examine your workplace. As I see it, and I acknowledge that I re-wrote your question because it appeared confusing, you trained some coworkers and one other coworker has told those you trained not to listen to you; that you are not their boss. If I am misstating what you meant to write, I apologize, but if I am close to what you intended, I think the problem is that your superior has not made clear who does what and what is right and wrong about what is to be done. You are caught in between because you “know” what is the way work should be done. In fact your boss has told your coworkers to listen to you, but when the boss isn’t present those whom you trained rather listen to another employee, you refer to as she, who says, “Don’t listen to this guy/gal, that person is not boss.” This has escalated to where you feel ostracized. When you come into where those individuals are gathered, they hush up. You then feel excluded. You, therefore, feel like you’d like to quit even though you need a job, as all of us do. Probably you don’t realize you have several options–some which are overlapping. Look at just a few that come to my mind and you might think of others: · Approach these individuals telling them that you no longer will say anything about how work should be done unless they ask. Apologize for being overly picky about what they should and shouldn’t do. · Meet with your boss and tell him how stressed and unhappy you are about being rejected when you have tried to tell your coworkers the way they should perform their jobs. Tell him being rejected has made you feel like you are working in hell and that you no longer want to be responsible for things that are done wrong. In short, ask that you can keep your mouth shut and be relieved of saying anything, no matter how wrong work is performed. · Request that your boss meets with the whole work group and states clearly who does what and explain that you no longer need to give instructions. Ideally your boss should meet each day or at least each week to make assignments and to engage all of you in discussion of such questions as: What has been going well and what difficulties are you having getting the job done? What might we do to cut wasted supplies, wasted time, wasted money and wasted products because of defects? How might we communicate more effectively? What do we need to do to make each other’s work more effective and easier? Are we delivering the best quality of work possible? Also weekly skull sessions might ask such important questions as: Is our workplace safe? And even such questions as: are we having fun? · Ask to be transferred to another department. Because I don’t know the kind of work of your workplace none of these options may fit, but hopefully they will start you thinking creatively. Let’s suppose you backed off from saying how things should be done. I predict that after a while you would feel much happier. You probably would strike up conversations with someone about what they and you like to do outside of work; such as sports, working out, singing in choir, fishing, volunteering at the hospital, etc. And in fact you might realize that all this stress you used to feel was lessening because you were balancing your life with outside of work activities

Don’t complain about your non-listening coworkers. Determine not to allow these feelings of being rejected play over and over again in your head. Go about your work as a happy person even if you have to pretend you are. Think about the big picture; making your workplace succeed; after all that is why you were hired. One positive poem that you might learn is very old. I learned it many decades ago and I find living up to it helps me: Look to this Day Look to this day, for it is life, The very life of life, In its brief course lies all the realities And verities of existence: The bliss of growth, the splendor of action, The glory of power. For yesterday is but a dream And tomorrow is only a vision. But today, well lived, makes every yesterday A dream of happiness! And every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day! ~Sanskrit Proverb~ Or if you are religious, you might hum a hymn while you work. I don’t mean to suggest that your workplace is not hell. It is for you now and it will stay that way until you do what you can to get the hell out of it, or quietly seek and get work elsewhere. You should not hate to go to work. Life is too short for day after day of that. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS is the way it should and can be. Do any of these thoughts make sense to you?

William Gorden