This post will be a personal one…one to which, perhaps, the majority of others can’t relate, jsyk. [work issues]
Today I received an email from someone who has been “working for me” for the past year. She takes care of kids in our nursery and does an EXCELLENT job. I’m a coordinator, so I’m essentially the middle-woman between her and our boss. Anyway, in her email (I’ll call her Renee), she notified me of some personal struggles she had been experiencing lately, and also about some residual negative feelings toward my boss.
There was an issue that occurred about a month ago that resulted in my boss and her husband treating Renee poorly, ignoring her, and causing her to feel unwelcome. I addressed this with my boss at the time, but she sided with her husband and was dismissive of Renee’s experience.
Renee was emailing me to let me know that since that issue, she has continued to feel uncomfortable and has been second-guessing herself when she comes to work. Our organization prides itself on being “inclusive,” welcoming, and loving…something that Renee told me she did not receive.
This made me so sad. I would describe Renee as someone who has a heart of gold, who is always willing to help others, who is intelligent, competent, caring, reliable, and trustworthy. The kids at the nursery LOVE her. I understand Renee’s desire to leave and I fully support her, but I can’t help but feel regretful that my boss (who also prides herself on being inclusive, welcoming, and loving) was a primary cause for Renee leaving.
I have a scheduled meeting with my boss for this Thursday. Everything in me wants to use that time to tell her how her actions affected Renee. 1) That’s not the purpose of our meeting. 2) She’s my boss.
Ordinarily, I have no problems with speaking my truth, especially when it involves people who have been hurt and are unable or unwilling to speak for themselves (when working with my youth clients, my mama bear FREQUENTLY surfaced). The thing is, I’m a firm believer in teaching people how to treat you. Yet, I know from experience with broaching this topic with my boss previously, that she may not be very receptive to it.
And that’s part of what’s got me thinking today. I want to be part of an organization that not only prides itself on those wonderful things, but that also consistently practices those things…with EVERYONE. I know that I have the platform to advocate for people who work for me and to do it with grace and sensitivity, but it’s also made me wonder if this is really a place I want to be.
Yes, it’s nice to have a paycheck while I’m in grad school. I have made some great friends in our community. I am proud of what our organization stands for. But at the same time, I see ruptures in our vision that remain unrepaired, and that’s problematic for me. Do I really wanna put my name on something that doesn’t consistently do what they say they will? I’m a woman of my word, and it’s important to me that I be associated with similar people and organizations.
I wonder if it’s worth mentioning at our meeting, but I also am not willing to let her continue treating people poorly while I’m aware of it. I don’t want this situation to happen again with someone else…but I’m struggling with how to say it. I don’t feel like I can be my usual assertive self in this situation…yet, as I type that I’m wondering, “Why not?” Am I afraid of her reaction?
Maybe I am, but I think I’ll probably feel better if I do bring it to her attention. I’ve just got to sit and think of how to phrase my truth, Renee’s truth.
I think that’s an important facet of life in general, but also professional life: being able to speak truths (yours and others) with sensitivity and simultaneous bluntness…ha, I’ll call that ASSERTIVE GRACE. I just hope that she’s receptive and that my words are heard with love, rather than sounding like an attack.
pray for me, y’all…good vibes, light, thoughts, all that – send em my way!