Thursday, July 12, 2007

Number Three

And for my third post, I present to you: Julie the Pushover. Honestly though, I have a problem, and I'm not sure how to deal with it.

I seem to make people feel that they can explode in anger towards me. At work. In front of witnesses. The first time, I thought it was the other person's fault - they were out of line, and my manager took appropriate steps. It all turned out okay enough.

But this time, I totally didn't know what to do. A woman whom I respect, but who has a pretty quick temper, was really angry at me. She's been (less) angry with me before, and things usually blow over by the end of the day or the next day.

I spoke with my boss about a work schedule adjustment to work at home one day a week, and he mentioned the woman by name, telling me that she was a good example because she had adjusted her schedule and communicated it well with him. Then he also mentioned that he wanted to have a meeting so that those of us who are newer or who may be forgetting some of the rules about working from home could be reminded - basically to set the standards of our group working from home.

So I came out of the office, pleased that things were going okay, and said "I think that went okay," as I reached me desk.

The woman then exploded at me. She literally started yelling that she had heard her name and if her schedule was ruined because of this there would be h*** to pay and on and on in the same vent.

Now here is my problem. I tried to actually answer her concerns - telling her our manager used her as a good example, and that he wanted to make sure we all knew the rules, and that she was already doing it right. But she just kept yelling and screaming right over the top of me. And I don't know what to do in that situation. So I sat there and said "ok" and sat down. And besides all that, she was really angry at our manager's management style more than at me - she just took it out on me.

I sat down and then had a few leaky tears - I was angry at myself for not knowing what to say. I'm also perfectly aware (due to my prior experience) that our company definitely counts her actions as harrassment, punishable, etc. So how can I stand up for myself?

My current options are:
(a) tell my manager
(b) tell the woman that the way she yelled at me was wrong
(c) do nothing, but plan what to do if it ever happens again
(d) ???

Problems with this are:
(a) we would either have to go through a whole official conflict resolution, or he would have a talk with her - which would make her very very mad at me
(b) I think she would become angry again
(c) I don't know what to do
(d) ???

Any ideas people? I think I need to plan how to stand up to her (or anyone), but I'm drawing a big blank here.

Well, saying all that at least made me feel better for now - back to work I guess.


erin said...

Shoot. All I can say is that I feel for you. I really go out of my way to not have people get mad at me, but recently someone I love and admire very much got REALLY mad at me and I nearly ruined the entire country of Japan in one fell swoop...or foul swoop. It was horrible and all I could do was say I'd done everything wrong, that I was sorry and that I felt terrible. My situation blew over and now everything (including Japan) is safe and comfortable. I don't know what I'd do in your situation that would be advisable...I'd probably kow-tow backwards. I don't recommend it, but good luck. It stinks that everyone isn't as nice as we are, don't you think? ;)

Nick said...

So Erin, YOU'RE the one who caused that earthquake in Japan this week, leading to radioactive leaks at the nuclear plant? Way to go!

Julie C said...

Haha - I'm glad Japan is still there!

I got a very nice apology on the day after too. After some thought and talking with my little brother (a future relationship counselor), I think that I will try walking away if it ever happens again - especially since my coworker very much admitted that she was mad for something I didn't even do, and that didn't even actually happen. But that doesn't mean I have to make myself sit there and listen to someone yell at me either. So we're "friends" again - but I will always be more cautious in that friendship.

erin said...

Yes. That was me. If you think that was bad, you should be glad that my "situation" blew over...luckily not literally (pregnant suggestion).