I have been dealing with something for the last week that I can only describe as unacceptable, it’s taken me a while to really comprehend the situation and its effect on me. But I have realised that what I have experienced is truly unacceptable.
Some of you may know that my workplace has very few staff and a wide variety of ages. I get on with most people. A few years ago they saw me as the baby, now I’m not so sure how they see me. Anyway, I know I am a target, and I’m not sure why.
In the past few weeks, I have had an employee complain about the amount of time I spend in the stock room. It has been agreed prior (with the HR department) that should I feel as though I am having a panic attack I can tell management and then go downstairs briefly to refocus. I know I could just explain the situation to her. But why should I? I mean, if she wants to be a moron, why should I waste my time explaining?
Now, I would love to say that my recent problem is with this employee, but sadly not. My recent problem is with another employee.
I will call her “Penny” to cover her identity.
I have worked for this company for 7 years, she has worked there for 6. On her first shift, my manager said to me “go introduce yourself to Penny” So I did. “Hi Penny, I’m Elephant.” her response “ok…….” and she walked away. This sounds like the response of a teenager, but Penny is currently 61 years old. So in theory, at 25 she is old enough to be my grandmother. And should know better.
Well, she has always been odd. A few months ago whilst she was at work, some ink managed to find its way onto her pink coat. Now, I completely understand her anger. I wouldn’t be happy if my coat got ink on it. However, I would know that it was an accident and whilst I am annoyed about the coat I wouldn’t be annoyed at anyone in particular. But her first response was that someone had maliciously attacked her coat with ink. And her first guess as to who that may be? Well, that would be the Elephant and the other youngest member of staff who we will call. “Barbie” So. Even though I wasn’t even working that day she instantly had a vendetta against myself and Barbie and ignored us for weeks. And then she got over it. But then one day when the only employees in happened to be me, her, barbie and the assistant manager. She kicked off again. This time it was because I was in the stock room looking for something for a customer, Barbie was downstairs working on the delivery, and the assistant manager was on her lunch break. She was alone on the shop floor for maybe 5 minutes maximum. The next day she complained to my manager. and ignored the 3 of us for weeks.
Well, I got over it. and so did she I guess. because she started acting normally.
I know she’s stressed at the moment, her parents were both ill. her mother died two weeks ago. And she had some time off. But when she came off. A shitstorm happened.
So she made a complaint about me, Barbie and the Supervisor (we will call her Butt-Head.) Butt-Head is the one who complains about the amount of time I spend in the stock room.
So her complaint was, that the day before her mother died she received a personal phone call at work (these are generally not allowed. I remember this, I remember her taking the call and it obviously being an important call. I also remember genuinely not caring about it.
A few hours later, me and Barbie were talking and over walks Penny and aggressively shouts “The Manager has told me I can have personal phone calls because my mums so ILL!” and walked off. Both mine and Barbies response was. “Ok.” Because we didn’t understand where the aggression had come from.
Well, the next day her mother died, then she was off work then she made the complaint. Well, I was told about this complaint. How she was angry because me, barbie and Butt-Head had supposedly been bitching about her phone call. Well, that was it. I flew off the handle. I was so angry. The conversation she has complained about didn’t happen and that’s what annoyed me the most.
So I spent the next few days going from The Incredible Hulk levels of rage, to full on hour long panic attacks where I could feel my heart trying to burst through my chest. It all culminated on Friday night. I slept for 2.5 hours. I went to bed at 12AM. I got up at 10AM the next day. I spent the whole night feeling like my heart was going to burst out of my chest, feeling so unsafe being in my own room, in my own bed that I was shaking and hiding under my quilt. I just didn’t feel ok and I couldn’t fix myself.
When I got to work the next day I had nothing left to give. She was there, and I felt like I couldn’t win against her. I mean, I could say I didn’t do it until I was blue in the face, but why would a 60-year-old woman make a story like that up? I got to work, went downstairs. and sat on the stock room floor. I didn’t speak. the assistant manager asked if I was ok. I told her I didn’t sleep well and about my huge panic attack. then I just sat with my head down. I couldn’t do anything. I just couldn’t move. She kept asking me questions and all I could respond with was “no”
Do you want to go home?
Do you want to come upstairs?
Do you want me to get the manager to come down to talk to you?
And then I cried on the floor until I started work. I looked terrible when I resurfaced from the basement stockroom. The manager took Penny downstairs. Then he called me down. I started having a panic attack on the way down the stairs. In the confined space, she admitted that both Barbie and I hadn’t said anything. She said her problem was we didn’t defend her. I told her I didn’t remember the conversation she was talking about. I said “Do you honestly think that I would be that much of a monster to deny you that phone call? I have just lost my grandmother. I understand how scared you must have been.” So, she half arsedly apologised, agreed to let it go and left. And I cried and panicked more. Then she carried on ignoring me for the rest of the day. And is still ignoring me 3 days later.
But I’m doing better now and the reason for that is that there is now proof that I did nothing wrong, she admitted it. And that was liberating. People may see me as a stupid kid, they may see me as immature for some of the jokes I make and things I wear. But I am also big enough to admit when I do something wrong. And her behaviour towards me was unacceptable. Especially considering she knows I did nothing wrong.
The Elephant in the Room