As soon as I saw this writing prompt, I knew it was the one I was supposed to use today:
A conversation about you that you weren’t supposed to overhear.
We will start at the very beginning. It was a little bit after 8am on a Monday morning a few weeks back. I had gotten to work a few minutes early and was able to settle into my work station and begin my day strong.
My work area consists of some shelving for media, a table like desk and chair, and a ton of storage area for back stock books (there’s thousands back here that haven’t seen the light of a sales floor in probably years). My work area is in the “warehouse” section of the store, and one of the few places the security camera’s do not reach.
In the past, I had problems with employees using my work area as a break room and a place for them to sneak off to to take phone calls during work hours.
We are currently in the process of opening a second store and currently have the store manager for the new store, we will call her Smulie, and her assistant manager whom we shall call Harmonica.
Back to that quaint Monday morning… I am minding my own business processing stationary when Harmonica comes barreling (okay so it was more like stomping, but I like my dramatics) into my work area on her phone. She ignores me (which is probably for the best) and sits down in one of the chairs I have for my volunteers to use and starts blabbing on her phone to someone.
I want her to leave so I start throwing things away very loudly—she doesn’t budge.
All of the sudden, some frightening words come out of her mouth: “She better watch it or I’ll rip her face off.” WHAT?!
She didn’t stay much longer and continued her conversation in front of the camera in the next room. I was really bothered by her behavior and what she said, so I couldn’t help but make a blanket statement in our store meeting the next morning.
My public service announcement: “My office is not a break room or an area to make your phone calls out of the camera’s view. Please use the proper areas and times for personal business.”
Aside from Harmonica’s hostile tones, she is an assistant manager in training. She needs to adhere to the rules of the store especially in front of the employees. Her behavior was juvenile and in my opinion does not appear to be management material. She speaks and acts as a follower instead of a leader.
I thought I made a wise decision by not being accusatory and attacking. My PSA was very PG and a plea for people to adhere to the rules.
Toward the end of the meeting I heard Harmonica tell one of my assistant managers that it was her. At first I thought that was great. And then she claims that she was on a break (My work area is NOT YOUR BREAK ROOM!). I could deal with this.
What really got to me was later that day Harmonica and Smulie were talking. Harmonica admitted she was back there using her phone to Smulie. Then Smulie turned around and instead of reminding Harmonica of store policy, she said that “You have to watch out for her.” Her being me… what did I do wrong in all of this?
From that day; however, neither of them look at me or talk to me if they don’t have to (which is perfectly acceptable to me, but not great for leadership of our new store).
Last week I was walking to the bathroom and I accidentally tapped (barely) the side of Harmonica’s purse and she practically yelled: “WELL EXCCCUUUUSSSSSEEEE ME!” Ah, children.
The entire situation has been humorous for me. So, Smulie and Harmonica… thanks for a bit of laughter that has lasted for weeks!