I need some serious help ya'll

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by unabear09, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. unabear09

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    Hey all. I need some serious help with something work related. Its that lovely time of year known as review time. I have found out thru my immidiate supervisor that (apparently) my peers view me as essentually a smart assed jerk. This really tears me apart simply because its not true. I am a smart ass, but I am that way because I like to kid around and try to bring a smile to everyone else's face. However, my peers don't seem to see this. All they see is be being an asshole. Truth of the matter is (and every one of my immidiate supervisors has said this too), people don't know how to take me. I am very sarcastic, but again, I do it to try to bring happiness to my workplace.

    The other day, I sat down with my supervisor that is going to be writing up my review. She had me to go over the pros and cons of my work performance. She agreed with everything that I listed. I tried to express to her that I am just trying to make our work environment a positive place when I say and do 80% or more of the things I say. She understood and again stated that 'people just don't know how to take me.'

    In general, I love the people I work with. There are a few exceptions. Those few exceptions are the people that I believe seem to complain to management 99% of the time.

    Ok, before I start getting long winded, let me get to the point of my post:

    Since about August, my home life has been hell. As some of you know, I am a live in caregiver to my 92 year old grandmother, who has Altzheimer's. Her mental condition has rapidly been declining, and therefore my stress level has skyrocketed. She has gotten to the point where she will as the same question 5 times in 5 minutes. She's in poor physical health, and does things like crawl under the beds, climb up ladders, and other things she has no business doing. This, on top of the stresses of having the water heater blow up, the refridgerator springing a massive leak that has led to the floors rotting in the kitchen, and the washing machine going out, have almost driven me to my breaking part. If that weren't bad enough, I'm having to deal with my parents rapidly declining health. I found out my mother had a stroke, and in the process of finding this out, the doctors found evidence of early onset Altzheimer's (she's 57). She's got a ruptured disc in her neck that is putting massive pressure on her spinal cord, which is causing all sorts of other issues to occur. This is just a small list of the most significant things that have been going on with my family (this is added on to the other problems that I won't go into in this post).

    So here's my situation. I am thinking about setting up an appointment with my human resources manager and the store manager to have a talk with them about my work performance. The primary purpose is to inform them of what all has been going on in my home life...and how sometimes the stresses of my home life have affected my work performance. Here's the problem: I strive to keep my work life and home life totally seperate, but its increasingly becoming more difficult to do. I just want to touch base with them and let them know that things have been far from perfect at home, but I am actively putting forth a great effort to keep home and work seperate. In past jobs, I have informed my employer of my home life situations (like when my mother was in hospital clinging to life for close to two years), and it has come back to bite me in the ass. My concern is, if I tell my managers this, will this come back and bite me in the ass?

    Another problem that has arisen in the last few weeks is my working hours. I am one of the store's top performers as far as my work goes. I've never had any issue getting 32+ hours a week until now. Sales in our store have been bad since the new year started. This is due (primarily in part) to winter weather. Slow or bad sales equals cut in hours. In the past, I have always been the one who was last in line to get my hours cut. Now, I'm not so sure anymore. Something I want to stress to my manager is that work is essentially my primary escape from my home life. With my hours being cut, now my health insurance benefits are in danger of being cut or lost (and right now, there is a strong possibilty that I am going to have to have back surgery in the not-to-distant future), I am forced to spend more time at home with my batshit crazy hateful grandmother, and now face a shortage of income which means not enough money to pay my bills.

    My question is, should I inform my employer of these things? Any suggestions, thoughts, comments, anything would be greatly appreciated.

    Unabear.
     
  2. Jay1074

    Jay1074 Active Member

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    Assuming everything you described is 100% true, it isn't a bad idea to discuss your situation with your supervisor at work. BUT, you should be aware that even if they are sympathetic and are willing to lend you the courtesy of not cutting your work hours and/or cutting you some slack for your "smart-ass" behavior, it's only temporary and the more you bring your home dramas to work the less likely they will remain sympathetic. It won't last long.

    What you described is worse than any cliched country song I ever heard, and I can almost sympathize with your feeling family obligation to continue caring for your grandmother. Still, I think it's clear that YOU are going to have to take a good long look at the things in your life that you can change to begin giving you some room to breathe and let go of some of that stress. You have alot of responsibilities on your plate but maybe some of those can go to someone else who's in a better position to because they don't work or have to work to bring in some income. If you've already tried that, try someone else. It's not a bad thing to ask someone to help out... a friend... another family memeber.

    I'll take you on your word that you are a genuinely "nice" guy and that the people you work with don't know how to take you but you can change that so they won't perceive you as a jerk. It's a tough pill to swallow but you can start by not being such a smart-ass. Some people just don't take too kindly to that kind of behavior... even when you're clearly trying to be funny. Not everything has to be a laughing matter... and what you think is funny might not be to someone else. Try just being cool about things... give a supportive word to someone who needs your assistance, lend a helping hand when you can... little things like that can go a long way and make your work environment seem more pleasant.

    I know this doesn't seem like a lot of help but it's a start.
     
  3. unabear09

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    thanks for your advice. I have taken to heart what has been said about be by my peers and have made an active effort to change (I found all of this out about my coworkers a few days ago). One thing I will say is that I am one of the most supportive person there is in the store. I'm always respectful, quick to lend a hand, and the first one to show appreciation. 99% of the time I say please sir, thank you ma'am, etc. I'm not a cut up, I just like to have a friendly work environment that is not 100% serious all of the time (and in fact our company motto is 'fast, fun, and friendly').

    I had a long discussion with my best friend in high school, and she made a valid point. She said 'it sounds like your co-workers need to put on their big boy pants when they come to work.'

    I am brutially honest. I will call you out if you're dicking around and not working. I will call you out if you are doing something that isn't the standard approved practice. People don't like this about me, I know. However, I don't run and tattle on everyone, like many people I work with do. Fact of the matter is a lot of the people I work with are stuck in a high school mentality. Its all about putting others down to make themselves look better. There is always some sort of drama going on. There is way too much gossip (which is common in every work environment). Honestly, it feels like high school some of the time.

    What I can say is management trusts me to train new employees. The people that were hired on as temporary seasonal help that I trained are all now full time employees.

    I by no means plan on bringing in any more home crap into work than is absolutely possible. I just want management to know whats going on with me, so when I do have a bad day (which is rare), they will have some sort of grasp as to what could be causing it.

    Let me give you an example of a 'bad' day for me.

    The day before work, I had gotten into it with grandmother. She was crawling around under her bed trying to pick up some paper that our pup had brought in. I came in and found her half under the bed and made her come out. She sat there and argued with me that those little bits of paper were so important that she had to risk her own safety. Well, once I finally got her out from under the bed and got the little bits of paper up, I was late for work. She was still laying on the floor and refused to get up. Finally I yelled at her to get up, that I couldn't go to work until I saw her back up off of the floor.

    So I get to work, clock in and go about my day. I felt horrible for yelling at her and was horribly depressed. I did my job (I work retail, so its customer service, and cleaning and getting the store ready for the next day), but I didn't respond to backup to the cash registers. I just needed to be by myself and focus on doing my job and pulling my head out of my ass. That was a 'bad' day to me.

    I honestly am not a jerk. Its just that if you haven't had the opportunity to get to know me, what I say and do can be initially perceived to be offensive to the overly sensitive. Thing is, most people dismiss me and never give me a chance. The people that do get to know me find the true me, which is a very caring, generous, loving person, who would do anything for anybody. Not trying to blow smoke up anyone's ass. Its the truth.
     
  4. unabear09

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    *bump*
     
  5. gymfresh

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    Unabear, it's a tough deal and I feel for you. You show all the signs of maturity and good judgment when it comes to your family and your responsible attitude toward work. But it sounds like your interactions with your coworkers is where you let off some steam or show some stress, and that's never a good thing.

    I don't know how large your employer is, but more and more companies are adding EAP (Employee Assistance Program) to their benefits. This is a confidential service that can be used for anything from dealing with a substance abuse problem, to bereavement, to anger or depression management, to just talking out tough relationship or family issues. Normally they use specially trained personnel who can give you honest advice and sometimes referrals, if necessary. They are trained to spot and deal with issues, even ones you may not see. If this is an option for you, definitely take advantage of it. You're just who these programs are designed to help.

    Even if your company doesn't have an EAP, you may be able to approach management in a sincere way. But be wary about this; it is not confidential, no matter what they may say. I'd only do this if I had a true mentor at work whom I could trust.

    The simplest solution is to consciously adopt a 5-second rule. Before you come out with a smartass or potentially hurtful or annoying comment, no matter how much you consider it just playful teasing, pause and consider the possibility of just not saying it. Soon you'll learn the technique for sizing up a situation in an instant and having a good idea of the effect it will have. All of us from time to time have fallen into the trap of just viewing our jesting from our own viewpoint, without truly putting ourselves in the shoes of others. I'm not saying that all their motives are noble, just that we should be very careful not to offend some people -- particularly in a work situation, where the environment is appropriately dictated by others. Or give other people ammo against you for their own selfish reasons.

    Worrying about your home situation during work hours is not going to influence the outcome, unless you're dwelling on solving one particular problem. Remembering disagreeable events all day long is just plain counterproductive, so master the skill of being in the moment at all times you're at work. You'll find that you actually go home more energized and better equipped to deal with what faces you.

    Another technique is to try and visualize a rôle model from some TV show or movie, and be more like that person you admire in your interactions with coworkers. (I'd advise not emulating Seth Rogen in Zack and Miri or either Jay or Silent Bob, for obvious reasons.) Continue your positive traits: helpful attitude with coworkers, talent for spotting and training talent, and honesty with management. Just work on the temptation to say something smart-alecky, because feedback suggests it hasn't achieved your desired intent. I think your high school friend was partly right, but people have funny agendas in the workplace. It's not just that they may be too easily offended; don't discount ulterior motives. Play it cool. And as much as you can, home is home and work is work.
     
  6. unabear09

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    thank you for the advice gym. Like I said above, I am taking the appropriate measures to help curb my smartassedness. I will heed your advice on the 5 second rule. Sounds like a very good idea. Today at work, I kind of tested the waters with some of my coworkers. We've all been talking about our reviews (and how horrible they are all going to be), and I started in talking about how I 'apparently' have a smart mouth and a bad attitude. The two people I talked to were all like 'that's such bullshit,' and basically said they knew when I was being a smartass that I was just trying to make them smile or laugh.

    Thank you so much for suggesting the EAP. I work for Target, and they are really big on programs such as that. They have an 'open door' policy. I've gone to them in the past with some situations at work that I've dealt with and I've found my HR manager and store manager to be of great help. I trust my store manager (to an extent....she is always going to put the needs of the store first...I know and accept this), and have developed a rapport with her and feel that I can go with her with just about anything. I think I am going to have a somewhat detailed conversation with her, and maybe an abbriviated conversation with my HR manager (I don't quite trust him 100%...he's never done me wrong on anything that I'm aware of, but still) just to let them know what's going on with me. I'm hoping he will have some suggestions.

    I know this might sound strange, but sometimes I just need to talk to someone about home matters. Thats why I come here. I can't talk to anyone in my family about it really, as all they really say is, 'well you don't have to stay there....but if you leave she's going in a home.' None of my friends can even begin to grasp what I have to deal with everyday. Hell all of my friends are in their 20's to 40's, but none of them have faced the same issues I have with my family (I'm only 27 and I am having to deal with a lot of the same issues people in their 50's and 60's are having with their parents.) Its just so much to deal with............
     
  7. gymfresh

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    Great moves on your part. Keep in mind that your employer is probably large enough that in addition to approaching your HR manager about EAP, you and all team members can probably also confidentially call a toll-free number.
     
  8. unabear09

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    yup. The confidentiality part doesn't bother me. I don't care what people know about me and what they don't. I don't have anything to hide.
     
  9. naughty

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    Sweetheart,

    WHat you are going through is not easy for anyone. One of the neat things is that a number of folks here have or are going through variations on what you are experiencing right now and may be able to give you some support. IT is a life altering experience. I have been lucky enough to have been allowed to shift my schedule to come in later in the day so that I could set up things for my bedridden parent but I know it may change at any time. I think one of the most frustrating things about trying to work while being a primary caretaker is that you clearly know the difference between what you know your performance could be without this added responsibility and what it is now.
    As a female though I think people expect for us to be the caretakers and sacrifice our careers. For men though I am sure it has a very different effect.
     
    #9 naughty, Feb 4, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2010
  10. hackalive

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    what is your career?
     
  11. unabear09

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    I wouldn't call what I'm doing my career per se but I work at Target, which is a higher end type of store akin to Walmart. I'm just in a 'holding pattern' as far as my life goes. When I go back to college, I'll have a little over two years left before I have a double major in GIS And History with a minor in CIS. Hopefully after all of that I'll be starting in on a masters or Ph D.
     
  12. bigbulgelicker45

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    EAP is a good start, but also check into FML (Family Medical Leave which can offset any time lost from work and is a mandatory benefit all employers have to offer), I'm not sure about your state, but the United Way has a 211 number which can help getting in touch with various agencies, your employer may have other benefits which you may not be aware of and also check Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama's website. Even is BCBSAL is not your primary health carrier they may have some resources available as well as Medicare (but due to HIPPA laws they may/may not be able to help you) so you may want to check their website as well. (It's been awhile since I had to deal with Medicare and I know the laws have changed, but I think they have a respite care benefit in which the caregiver gets "some type of relief").
     
  13. Dave NoCal

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    I hate to say this but it sounds to me like your grandmother is no longer safe at home and needs round-the-clock supervision. Ninety-seven year olds have no business climbing ladders and crawling under beds. Then there's the matter of a possible fire from forgetting something on the stove, or wandering.....
    It may be that at some point you made a pledge, either to her, someone else, or yourself that grandma would "never" be in a home. But that pledge, if it occurred, probably did not involve considering her very advanced age or Alztheimer's Disease. From your description, it could be that you are vulnerable to being accused of neglect if she is unsupervised during waking hours.
    What I'm getting to is that maybe she really NEEDS to be in a supervised facility for her own safety. It's not easy to think about, especially if the rest of the family is unhelpful but it may be that time.
    As far as work goes, my suggestion is to avoid thinking of the home situation as a reason for anything in the future because the sympathy won't last long. If you think it would be helpful to explain past events, you could be right. Good luck in dealing with this very difficult situation.
    Dave
     
  14. Chase1600

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    Hey unabear09, lots of different things, huh!

    Years ago I cared for someone going through a long illness before dying; and now I’m the primary person for my 90 year old mom. She is remarkably healthy.

    I learned that we can not care for people alone. Among other concerns, if your grandmother and family are dependent upon you then it is important to protect you. To the extent that there are community and family resources to share your responsibility, I hope you will pursue them.

    I also hope you will understand that you can only do so much and try to chill when you win some and lose some.

    If your employer offers help with respect to your responsibilities for you grandmother, I’d be surprised. But surely, to the extent they offer help, gratefully accept it.

    Now to your upcoming review:

    There’s something bogus here. I expect there is an issue. Not much doubt about that. But your peer’s opinion of you doesn’t ring material to me. I think someone has an issue they don’t want to acknowledge and have decided to pull this one out of their ass and come up with it. It does have the advantage of deflecting responsibility to others in an unproductive and pointless way.

    Who would have reason to come up with a bogus issue and why? What could be gained?

    Had there been customer complaints about you; if there were actual written documentation of complaints about you, something like that, it would be tangible. "Other people just don't know what to make of you" - oh please!

    I hate having to write it, but I worry that you can ever possilby get it right. It’s been my experience, whether in a job, a relationship, or a classroom, if the problem with me is my vague inability to make unspecified others satisfied – it’s been my experience that I’m screwed.

    If that were the case and I were you, I’d keep my own council; I’d promise to shape up and apologize like a politician for having so failed – mentally crossing my fingers behind my back – and I’d be mentally preparing myself to move on to my life’s next stage.

    Jobs don’t grow on trees these days so I’d keep my own council and act like I planned to be around til judgment day and beyond and swear I'm grateful for any shit ‘cause I just love the taste of shit, but meanwhile in my own mind, I’m history that just hasn’t happened yet.

    So bottom line, what would I do.

    • It is sensible to tell them you have a difficult responsibility at home.It is sensible to tell them that you want to do the best possible job at work; if they have any suggestions for improvement, by all means, tell me what I should do; I’ll work on it.
    • You’ve worked hard; you deserve a good review; if pay raises are due, you need yours badly and have earned it, you trust they will recognize it and reward you.
    • If they don’t, grin and bear it, until you fix a better deal for yourself.
    • Should you get a better job somewhere else, give as much notice as possible – if possible, tell them you have loved working there, you will miss everyone terribly, it hurts so much to leave but it is what you have to do, and when you walk out the door never look back unless it suits your purpose. Don’t ever burn bridges needlessly.
    If my suspicions are actually true – I’m probably nuts – six months later, you’ll hear the real story and they’ll be telling you what a big mistake they made letting you go. Smile politely, say thank you, fib if necessary and say how much you miss all your friends there, and ditto about never looking back.
     
  15. SpeedoMike

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    definitely look into family leave. sad about the hours but this is a pretty nasty economic time.

    I do think you need to be more respectful of co-workers.

    as a former human resources manager, I know companies can be hard-nosed and take the attitude that home/relationship, etc. things are your problem. if it interferes with your work, they can show you the door.
     
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