Sunday, September 25, 2005

Another Day at the Office

Last Thursday, just about quitting time, I was walking the floor at work. I noticed that one of my co-supervisors was sitting next to one of the reps, DeLena, having a chat. At that moment I didn't notice anything unusual about this and kept walking.

"Mat" said DeLena, "Can you come here?"

As I turned around, I immediately noticed the tension between the two.

They both angrily tried to explain to me what they were arguing about. Their voices raised about a half notch and DeLena expressed her opinion that she was tired of talking about it, while Monique said there was more to discuss.

Noting the seething anger between them, I immediately asked them both to get off the floor, and out of earshot of the entire staff. We walked into the training room.

Immediately both of them began to shout at each other.

I got their attention as best I could and asked them both to explain, one at a time, what had happened.

Apparently this argument stemmed from a previous argument a few days back. On that occasion, Monique approached DeLena to work some manual accounts. DeLena, being on a call at that time, lifted her finger in a motion designed to ask Monique to hold on a second while she finished the call. Monique took offense to this action and angrily noted that she would not be back. De Lena then had to find another supervisor to get her manual assignment.

Now, on this day, Monique was approaching DeLena to explain that she had not meant her action to be rude. An argument then erupted.

While Monique explained her side, DeLena violently interrupted. I chastised her for doing so and then had to do the same to Monique, while DeLena explained her side.

All the while I'm trying to figure out what in the world I'm going to do. Had it been two reps I could have handled it easily. But since Monique is a supervisor I have no authority over her. I don't have the right to tell her what to do, much less belittle her in front of a rep. Both ladies were extremely angry, to the point that simple suggestions were going to do no good.

For a moment, I thought about leaving and getting our Human Resources lady involved, since she is trained for this sort of thing. But I felt that leaving the two ladies alone, even for a minute, would be disastrous. There was no way I was going to drag them both out onto the floor while we looked for HR.

After the two explanations, both ladies began shouting, SHOUTING, at each other. I asked them to calm down, and did my best to reiterate both sides, noting that each person felt the other person had been rude.

They both felt this was a reasonable explanation of events, right before they began shouting again.

Oh my gosh, I don't get paid enough for this.

After a couple more rounds of shouting and me asking for some professionalism and common courtesy, we all agreed that this was going nowhere and to split up and get back to work.

The door opened to the faces of every rep in the building staring at us with bemused smiles. I was later congratulated by a number of folks who thought it was a great show.

After contacting HR, she began having sit downs with everyone involved. I had to write a report over the whole thing.

I really don't get paid enough for this kind of crap.


bigsip said...

Ouch! OK, nobody gets paid enough to deal with that kind of sophomoric garbage. I have had to be an intermediary and even a disciplinarian in some work situations. It's nerve-wracking unless you feel like you have the ear of those involved. These two sounded out of control! Sounds like you did a really fine job, though!

Jamison said...

I loved this story... Ive never seen brew (in my imagination) being a ref for a cat fight! but it was cool.

I think the lady who raised her finger to say "hold on" was in the right, the other lady hasnt had sex in many months and probably hates other women who do have sex on a regular basis.

sounds stupid.

mullinz8 said...

Jamison maybe the non-sexed lady took the finger as an attack and slam telling her to "use this instead.”

Good work Brew. There’s a lot to be said in the “we can agree to disagree” stance. I do think lady using the finger to tell the other to wait was right too. Sounds like the supervisor was trying to pull some sort of power play.

Slap it down Brew.