Tuesday, September 23, 2008

angry angry alligator

Work put me in a bad mood last night. I seem to be having constant clashes with the staff member who was upset with me for being too bossy the other night. Tonight was another example of this.

The person who was supposed to work in transitional housing called in sick. This supervisor, we'll call him, the enforcer, is trained to work there, but he was coordinating so he couldn't. Somehow everyone conveniently forgot that one of the other people on shift had been trained to be over there. When shift change came, the enforcer assigned me to work in transitional housing, so I said, not to the enforcer, but quietly to my friend, "haven't you been trained over there"? The enforcer heard, and shut me down right away. "That's the assignments, and that's that".

So tell me, how does that make sense? Why send someone with no training over there to "wing it" when you could have someone with training? I mean, I really didn't feel comfortable being over there, although things went okay with only a couple minor mishaps. The enforcer wandered over an hour into my shift to "explain" things to me, leaving me with gaping holes I thankfully filled in for myself and with the help of some long time clients.

As the night progressed, I pondered the incident, and my reaction to it. I mean, I was MAD, far too mad for the situation. I mean, I almost started crying in shift change... That was about being shut down though, not about having to work in transitional housing. It was about frustration with the enforcer, and frustration with myself for not having kept my mouth SHUT as I had planned. I also pondered reasons he'd send me there, and did come up with some reasonable ones, such as the staff who has been trained was recently accused by another staff of saying something sexual to a client. Good reason not to want them alone all night. I'd like to think it's because he thinks he can trust me, but with the way things have been going... and of course, the insecure side of me says he did it just to be rid of me for the night.

I really am going to have to deal with this though. I'm having a hard time reading the enforcer, because he seems to blow over things so quickly. He'll shut me down one minute, and then later it's like nothing ever happened. When he came to explain things to me, he made it sound like he'd given me a great assignment, and maybe he thinks he did. I mean, I actually really liked it, being there wasn't what bothered me, it was his attitude. The problem is, my normal supervisors on holidays, so he's supervising five nights a week instead of two. I need to either keep my mouth SHUT or figure out a way to be appropriately assertive. I mean, tonight if I'd really been concerned, I should have said something like "I'm not comfortable being in charge of a 31 bed facility in which I have no training" or something equally professional. But instead, as soon as he gets upset, I shut down, and don't think of all my wonderful assertive things to say until later.

Sigh. I'm going to yoga in 15 minutes. Maybe that'll help me work through some of this, because I'm really frustrated.


lcsw mom said...

It sounds as though the enforcer needs an attitude adjustment. There is nothing worse than an authoritarian supervisor. It's really hard to be assertive with a less than stellar supervisor particularly one who seems to be a my way or the highway one. Your response was justified in my opinion. Maybe he reminds you of someone as well. Just a thought.

antiSWer said...

If the staff that was trained in that area was under suspicion of something, it seems like there was very good reason to send you over there. They couldn't be trusted alone, and you were obviously more trustworthy.

He probably took your question as questioning his authority in front of others, and that's never good. Maybe you should see if you can talk to him in private about the situation to clarify it?

Spankie said...

see first report card..


(meant to make you smile)

Still Dreaming said...

I love that you guys have two different perspectives and I was thinking both of them!

The thing with "the enforcer", is that he's just that. He's by the book, ex military, and very black and white. He doesn't see shades of grey.

I really do think I need to talk to him, because this is the third time in as many shifts that we've had a run in. He always acts as is everything is fine after, but I don't feel that it is.

I've been trying to figure out if he reminds me of someone, or myself. Maybe some of what I dislike in him are things I dislike in myself?

Thanks for your support. I plan on doing a lot more thinking about this before I go off and do something rash.