Thursday, March 11, 2010

Slaving Away

Do you ever get frustrated on behalf of someone else? I have a bad habit of that with D. Today's example: one of D's employees is basically a crappy worker. Shows up late, leaves early, often disappears throughout the workday, acts misogynistically toward other women that he works with, and (best of all) blames his poor performance on D and his coworker M because they "set a bad example" and "don't support him." When D and M try to correct his behavior, the employee complains to other bosses that D and M are too hard on him, don't like him, and then D and M get in trouble for being too harsh and not good managers D and M work evenings and weekends, and their other co-workers and bosses who are not there at the same time have no problems with this employee. Recently, the employee (let's call him "Bob") sexually harassed a customer of the company to the point that she made a complaint to D and M, who forwarded her information to their head of human resources. D and M were both relieved that there was finally some legitimate evidence about Bob's wrong-doings and hopeful that he would be reprimanded at least, if not fired.

Today D called me from work because he was incredibly frustrated that the head of HR had been unable to reach the woman who filed the complaint, and therefore nothing would be done about Bob's behavior. In fact, a previous write-up for other issues was also being removed because Bob had complained that the only reason this issue had been brought to HR was because D and M "had it out for him."

I hate this, because D basically works a really crappy middle-management job while I finish up school. We can't afford for both of us to be in graduate school at the same time, and D's true "dream career" requires a lot of extra education. And so he goes in every week to a job he hates in order to support me and my ability to pursue my career. And when things go badly at his job as a result, I feel bad and frustrated for him, sometimes to the point that I feel as though it's my fault he's in this situation--if I had not chosen to pursue graduate work, he might be able to quit his job for a while in order to either go back to school or at least find another/better position elsewhere.

I know (intellectually) that it's not my fault. I didn't cause it, can't control it. But I hate hate hate hearing every day about how awful it is, especially when there is nothing in my bottomless well of codependent helpfulness that I can bring up to say or do to help make things better.

1 comment:

Bernadine said...

I can see why this situation is so guilt-inducing for you.

I've had similar situations in my own work and group relationships-- where boundaries are constantly tested, and I'm constantly forced to look at how I think and act in difficult situations. I've gotten to the point where I see how helpful it is that I have to deal with these difficulties (or sometimes, downright jerks) because it's like the stone to my metal-- helps smooth away my rough spots, and helps me learn what is really important to me. I also see my flaws more easily, with those jerky influences bringing out the brat in me.

I'm wondering if this could be a similar testing-ground for both you (detaching) and your husband (knowing what he's responsible for), while you have to be in this place, financially?

Anyway, I think jerks usually get found out. Shouldn't be too long now... hang in there.