My head began to spin. I went back to my office and tried to work, but kept thinking my boss, who has been with the company 30+ years, was going to say to heck with this B.S. and retire. How will I manage if he leaves? I wondered down the hall into our operations manager’s office. Our HR manager also has issues with him, but feels she now has him wrapped around her finger. I told him this and relayed the entire conversation to him. He said, "It is all a lie." None of this is going to happen; the owners aren’t going to talk to my boss, they aren't upset with him or with my employee and they would never allow my new part-time employee to be transferred from accounting to HR.
I started to feel better and got up to leave saying, “I don’t think I’m up to going to her party.” Surprisingly he already knew about the party and had even discussed it with one of our owners. The owner is not fond of these types of events, because other employees hear of them, think they are company events and feel excluded. He advised our operation’s manager who also doesn’t want to attend, to have his wife drive and get drunk on our HR manager’s booze. The operations manager recommended I do the same.
In my fitness class that night, I couldn’t help but vent about my day. As I rattled off my list of complaints, one of my gym mates kept interjecting incredibly intelligent comments. Finally, I asked her where she worked. She was self-employed, a writer and a leadership instructor. Who was she? Susan Marshall of the Backbone Institute.
I now know how I will respond when I meet someone I admire in person – I become a blubbering idiot. I read Susan’s column every month in Wisconsin Woman Magazine. Her October column "Good News About You" is currently sitting on my night stand with the following paragraph underlined:
Aggressive people are no more confident than you are. However, they have learned how to use their voices, posture and position to get what they want. When you understand this and refuse to be bullied by it, you gain freedom to go about your business in a professional manner. You need not try to change them, but you don’t need to be cowed by them either.As to the holiday party, I still wanted to decline, but was concerned I would be missing out on the team building. Will not going be a bad career move?
“NO," Susan replied, "Not going is called setting boundaries.”
Susan Marshall’s book Of Beauty and Substance: A Backbone Guide for Womenhas been on my reading list since I first heard of it. I went home and ordered a copy.
Have you been invited to a co-worker's house party you dreaded attending? Did you go?
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