Inner Conflict

You guys are smart, right?  I could use an objective ear.

I’m conflicted with a situation at work.  It’s not a situation that I created, but it’s one I’m now in the center of.  Last fall my old boss left and his second in command also left, and a new boss was brought in.  The new boss did not have the level of skill of the old boss and also had very different ideas about what my contribution to the company should be.

I’m not any different from most people-I resist change sometimes-and in this situation, our corporate leaders backed me.  Our company culture defines my job in a certain way, which has allowed me to enjoy a very nice work/life balance; one that the person I report to generally does not enjoy.  Corporate insisted the new boss needed to work within our culture. This led to frustration on the new boss’s part-she was overwhelmed and not able to re-assign my time as she wished.  Rather than become a part of a new company culture, she wanted to recreate the culture from her previous position and I became a symbol for everything that was making her unsuccessful in her new position. She’s been vocal about it-with corporate, with new employees, with potential employees, even…It’s a passive-agressive way for her to explain how our company functions.

Long story short, she’s leaving. It was just never a very good fit.  I’m happy about that, but I also wonder if I could have made a difference if I had let go of my fear of losing control and jumped into the pond with her.  Could I have helped her be more successful? I think I could have and I think I didn’t want to.  And I’m not sure how I feel about that.  On the one hand, I defended the role I was hired for and have held for a number of years-a role that I took on because it allowed me to put my family first. On the other hand, I let another woman, a mom like me, go down in flames when I could have helped.  From a karmic perspective, that doesn’t feel good. I want to resolve this feeling because it’s keeping me up at night and because there will be a new boss replacing this one and if I’m going to approach things a different way, I want to coach myself in advance so I’m ready when the time comes.

What say you?

Chicken out


  15 comments for “Inner Conflict

  1. June 10, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Sounds like you already know what to do next. Trust your intuition !! 😉


    • June 10, 2016 at 10:11 pm

      Thanks Judith-my higher self is telling me one thing-“show compassion” and my gut is saying “stick up for yourself”, so which one is the more intuitive? I guess I need to find a compassionate way to stick up for myself and let go of resentment. I’m the type who feels churlish sticking up for myself, and that’s on me, perhaps.


  2. jenny_o
    June 10, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    My opinion is that it was not a fear of losing control on your part but a valid concern that your life and your family would be negatively affected. You have to protect that, because no one else will put that first. Just as your ex-boss has to find a way to get and keep her life and her family in the same position. We have to draw a line we are willing to go up to but not cross, and we can’t become a doormat in order for someone else to succeed. I think you’re right, it was basically a bad fit, and hopefully she will find a better fit in her next position.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 10, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      Thanks Jenny-I do think it was a bad fit-she has small kids. Hotels are hard because they are open all the time. Being in charge of one, especially a small one, means you are basically on call all the time. Just like with parenthood. So she has two 24/7 jobs. I would never aspire to be in that role even though a lot of moms do. I feel guilty for being glad she’s leaving. Maybe she’s relieved, though-that just occurred to me. See, this is great. I’m talking through it. By the time I get to the last comment, I might actually be able to own the relief and let go of the guilt.


      • June 13, 2016 at 12:22 am

        Maybe she needs to find a different line of work. I agree with what Jenny said. She was the new one. It was her job to fit in and her failing for not doing so. Don’t make it your problem.


  3. Doug in Oakland
    June 10, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    OK, here goes: Training a new boss is a dicey endeavor, but a necessary one, I have found. I’m just going to sort of tell you the story that brought me to that way of thinking, and let you do with it what you like.
    I worked for a natural foods distributor called Tumblweed for seven years back in the ’00s. I was hired as a driver by the founder of the little company, and worked my way up to warehouse manager. The founder and his wife, who ran the business together, retired and sold the business in 2002. The people who bought it never were as skilled at running it as the founder was, and no one expected them to be. I really liked that job, so I pitched in to help them get up to speed as much as I could, but they were somewhat resistant, and had their own ideas about how to treat their employees. That could have been OK, but wasn’t, and their policies had the immediate effect of running off the operations manager, who was also the buyer. He was also the only remaining part of the original management team, and his absence left me as the most senior employee (except for a salesman). This left me in the awkward position of having to try and teach my boss how to do the buyer’s job, a job I had never done myself, although as the warehouse manager, I knew what needed to happen (but not how to actually do it).
    At the same time we were dealing with a recession, so the purchasing numbers were even more important than usual (foods have expiration dates) and we started to lose staff at a fairly alarming rate.
    I did everything I knew how to do to save that place and failed. For the last two years of the company’s existence my job was to show up whenever I could get there (9 to 10ish) and stay there until all the work was done. This included, but was not limited to receiving and stocking the incoming freight, doing the delivery routing, pulling about half of the orders, loading the trucks (often alone), doing the inventories for the buyer, all of the general organizational and maintenance tasks needed in a 22K square foot warehouse and fleet of delivery trucks, and mapping out the delivery routes for the new drivers (who were soon all of the drivers.) A good night was when I left before midnight. Good nights grew fewer and farther between, and often my workday stretched to fifteen or sixteen hours.
    I don’t know what I would do differently if I could still work and I found myself in a similar position, but I do know that in my next (and final) job, when that company was bought by new people and relaunched under a new name with different operating procedures, I fell into my old habits and took all of the work they would give me and it was at the end of a three month string of ten to thirteen hour days that I had my stroke and haven’t been able to work since.
    So to boil it down: look after your own interests at work, no one else is gonna do it for you (unless you are very lucky in the boss department) and there are very real consequences to not doing so.


    • June 10, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      Wow. Doug. That is a cautionary tale. I’m sorry that happened to you. Sometimes you do have to put yourself first. I hope they at least appreciated the effort you put in on their behalf and, as I’ve come to “know” you, such as it is, I’m not surprised. My hotel is sort of like that. People left before other people could learn what they did and you said it well-you know what needs to be done but you don’t know how to do it. I’ve heard we are getting a good replacement and I do have the benefit of an excellent corporate team. I’m lucky in that respect.


      • Doug in Oakland
        June 11, 2016 at 12:12 am

        Well good luck with that, and do look after yourself.


      • June 11, 2016 at 12:22 am

        Thanks-I will-you too!


  4. June 10, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    I think it rather arrogant of the new supervisor to try to recreate your position to fit her perceptions. It’s a shame she was a woman; I think we’re generally not that insensitive.


    • June 10, 2016 at 10:57 pm

      Hi Joanne, Thank you for tuning in to my perception:-) In fairness, I know that she would not see it that way. In her eyes, it was creating team, working as one, sharing the load, being a family…I have little patience for that kind of rhetoric, particularly in today’s world of buy/sell/make a profit/repeat. My father worked for a shoe company for 30 years and considered it his family and then one day they fired him after he had trained someone in Mexico to do his job. And I’ve seen it happen a thousand times since to other people. I’ve worked for some great companies, including the one I’m with currently, but I do not confuse them with family, although I consider some of them friends.


  5. June 13, 2016 at 5:23 am

    I really appreciate your reflective nature.
    I was asked the following question several years ago now and it stuck with me; it also might be relevant to this situation (or perhaps not, but I thought I would share it just in case): were you hired to maintain the status quo?


    • June 13, 2016 at 8:59 pm

      Hi DB! It’s nice to hear from you. I wasn’t hired to maintain the status quo. I was hired to sell more hotel rooms than all the people before me. The difference I was hired to make is revenue driven:-)


  6. June 13, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Your post brings up questions I asked myself in the late 1970s. I went outdoors and decided to be a gardener. I never went back indoors. Retired 7 years ago, forearms mostly scar tissue –but that’s just outside. You deal with occupational inner conflicts and injuries that I’m no expert on, but it sounds like you’ve made yourself indispensable and that’s fortification enough. Other peoples’ problems are hard to watch, I know, but a smile, a kind word and thick skin has to start somewhere. You’re ok.


    • June 13, 2016 at 11:56 pm

      Thank you, Geo. I’d put you in any business setting, negotiation, service situation, what have you, and feel secure that you would offer s fair solution, just like you did here. I appreciate it.


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