A perspective on fairness from me, your employee.
First and foremost, we are adults too. This is not a parent/child relationship and you are not my parent. It would be wonderful in your interaction with me, if you remembered that I am a grown woman with my own children. It infringes on my dignity if you talk down to me like that.
Shouting is disrespectful. I see shouting as your own inability to manage your own emotions. I understand that you may be frustrated with me, this much is clear. But could we have a discussion about this frustration and the reasons for it. I sometimes feel that you do not take the trouble to make sure that I have fully understood what you meant. Perhaps you have forgotten that you spent many years learning your skill and this is my first job. Not only that, but you also have more qualifications than I have. I am doing my best – I did not wake up this morning wondering how I could most frustrate you today.
Do not think that I do not see that you allow Joseph to get away with murder. He is regularly late, but you never admonish him on his lateness. Why do you speak to me so harshly, if I am just minutes late, but completely forget to address Joseph, even as you are speaking to me, and he walks casually past us, smiling and clearly knowing that he has escaped your wrath, yet again?
Please talk to me. Please don’t turn your face away from me, shut me out, pretend to be too busy when I try and talk to you and tell me that “your door is always open”. I know you think I have done something wrong. I know and understand that you feel I am not doing my work properly. It is making me sick with worry. When I asked you what was wrong, you said, ‘nothing’. I also know you have spoken to HR about it and now they are also uncomfortable with me. I would prefer to confront directly what you are feeling about me and my work, instead of you slowly but surely shutting me out.
Would it be possible to address something that I may or may not have done, somewhere not in earshot of other employees? It is embarrassing in the extreme to be dressed down in front of my colleagues, many of whom are also friends. Could you not pull me into the boardroom, or the staff canteen outside of lunch hours, or even outside? Even if you talk to me away from the workers, it is clear from your and my body language that something is very wrong. This is also embarrassing.
One month ago, I made a mistake on a bill I was working on. Since then, I have heard nothing. I know from experience that people get into trouble for doing the same thing and one of my colleagues and friends got a warning for the exact same thing. I also know that you have spoken to more senior managers about it, because they are now acting weird with me. No-one greets me. It has made me sick. Last week, I did not want to come into work. I also know my colleagues know about it and are also watching me and this space very closely. It is very embarrassing and makes it very difficult to get up out of bed and face everything and everyone every day. Please can you discuss this with me, as soon as possible, so that I can give my explanation and I get my warning and we can move on?
It is very embarrassing for me, when you swear and shout in my presence and that of my colleagues. I know you say that you did not swear directly at me, but you certainly swore very loudly and vehemently about something that I did wrong, in your eyes. I still maintain that you misunderstood and have not heard what I have to say about the matter. I would prefer that you address me on this directly, so that we can have a grown-up discussion about it and have it out. Banging the table and swearing loudly, albeit about the matter and not at me directly, is very disconcerting and I feel bullied when you do that.
Pete is in your in-group. This much is obvious. I am in your out-group, this much is also obvious to me and all those around us. Pete can come in and out of your office with impunity and you always seem to have time for him. When I come into your office, you put out your hand and say, “Not now, can this wait? I am terribly busy right now”, but minutes ago, Pete and you were laughing and joking and clearly not speaking about your work. I also know that Pete and some of the other guys are invited to drinks with you after work. I have never cracked the nod. Not because my work is any worse or better than Pete’s, or because I come from a different background, but simply because I am in the out-group for some reason. You allow Pete to come and go as he pleases, to make mistakes without any consequence, to share personal information with you and I cannot even make a solid work-related suggestion to you because you won’t give me half a chance.
I know that you are the manager and that most of what you task me to do, is second nature to you now. In fact, you probably have already forgotten that you once did not know how to do this yourself. But for me, I am still learning, I did not quite understand what you asked me to do and achieving it, without making a mistake was a big thing for me. Please thank me from time to time and tell me I have done a great job; it is the best reward you can give me.
When you walk around the factory and do not greet us, we get sad and despondent. It feels as though you don’t really care about us and do not take into consideration that we work very hard every day and do what we are supposed to do. In my culture, we cannot greet you first, as you are more senior than we are, so we wait, in vain, for you to acknowledge us and greet us. We notice that some of the administration people who work with you on the top floor get greeted every day, but it is as if we don’t count.
A thank you from you, an acknowledgement, a sign of respect, a sense that we belong would make a major difference to our ability to feel part of the company. It is not that much to ask.