I am a bleeding heart.
I am also a pretty tough cookie. I have no time for excuses and do not want to hear your bullshit, for the most part.
But ultimately I find myself feeling really bad for the people who know no better.
This last week has been a little rough at work. As usual, having nothing to do with the actual job but with the people I work with. I have worked with this individual for a few years. While they are not necessarily my cup of tea most hours of the day I have never really had a problem with this person.
Anyway, two weeks ago something came up with this person regarding their meal break. A lot of confusion ensued apparently. Their supervisors came to me to ask what this person was entitled to and I without hesitation answered. (Because I have been there long enough to know and because unfortunately I am the civilian Union rep for the department) I was so confused by the timing of the question and the question itself that I consulted our work contract to confirm the answers I was given were correct. Slam dunk I thought; crisis adverted.
When this person came back to work I was expecting for this person to ask me themselves for clarification.
So I took it upon myself to ask whether clarification was needed. They said it was, and I explained the answer. They agreed. Slam dunk, case closed.
Or so I thought.
This “problem” was brought to the Chief’s attention, I was brought in on it – there was an inquiry into whether the other workers understood the contract verbiage. It has been a mess. Considering this is something that has nothing to do with me I have started to get really angry over the situation I am now dragged into. So much so that last week I had to sit in on a meeting with this person’s supervisor and the Chief where again the clarification was made.
I knew this person was not going to be happy with the outcome. But it really comes down to not reading your own job’s contract and not asking anyone for clarification if it was confusing. What really tipped the scale was when this person basically called me a liar.
This person said at some point in the several years they have worked there that they asked me for clarification and I told them I don’t know. It’s
almost laughable. Unless the question was phrased in such a way… but if the question was in simple human English, What is my meal break? There’s only one way to answer that – one hour. This was in front of the Chief, in front of their boss.
I came to find out some time afterwards that again this person stated that not only myself, but their boss was a liar. That they were told otherwise. That this person has been trying to get clarification for YEARS on this.
I can not say what their boss told them. Their boss could have told them they only get half of what they are entitled to for their break. But that is not my problem. That is something their boss would have to own up to. Again though this comes down to reading your own contract and getting your own clarification.
When I told this person this is the first time I’m hearing this has been an issue they just looked at me and kind of chuckled under their breath. The real asshole in me wanted to jump across the table and slap the shit out of them. But I refuse to be an angry black woman.
I’m sorry, my mind reading cap is permanently out of service. How exactly was I to know you were having a problem if you can not be a responsible grown up and ask the questions. If not to me, to your boss or your co-workers. Considering when the problem came up a week ago you still did not ask me for clarification! I had to ask YOU if there was an issue.
This person now thinks they are going at this alone. This person is now requesting contracts from other agencies to try and “prove the point” I’m guessing. (Which actually proves no point because it does not matter what any other agencies contract says, you work for this one and under this contract) The person is saying no one from administration is allowed to talk to them without their Union rep there. This person now wants compensation for several years worth of meal breaks. This thing has snowballed into such a thing and my anger reached an all time high until I realized….
This person has no idea what they are doing.
At that point I started to feel bad. Like really bad. This person has no idea the bridges they are burning. The people who are turning their backs on them. Granted, this person is going through a lot of personal stuff right now – which can be stressful in and of itself. But the wrong battles are being fought. There is no personal accountability. This is also when I realized that HURT PEOPLE, HURT PEOPLE. This person is just grabbing for straws.
Misery likes company. People who feel they have been wronged look to wrong others.
In this situation no one gains anything by “cheating” this person out of their meal break. There is nothing to win from that. The job is such a stressful job that I encourage people to take their breaks and to take their time. I can see where the confusion lies but this person is so bullheaded that no amount of reason will make them understand. And considering words are being twisted no one even wants to really try and explain anything. We are all lying and we are all out to get this person.
At the end of the day I am done talking about this. I am no longer angry. I really feel deeply for this person who is clearly going through something. I feel awful that there is no room for understanding, only finger pointing. I feel bad that this person simply does not understand and has no desire to try and understand. I feel bad that this person can not own up to the fact that maybe they messed up by not reading the contract, or seeking out the correct information.
Even though this person is saying I am a liar, I know this really has nothing to do with me. I hope the world turns around for them. I hope they find the clarity they are looking for and the happiness to know that no one really gives a shit. I hope they get out of this whatever it is they’re hoping to get out of this. I ultimately hope that this person just comes to work and does their job without feeling the need to throw everyone else under the bus for their misfortunes in life.