Saturday 4 March 2017

The loneliness of the Long Distance Argument

TBE (aka The Boss Erratic) and I are having a non-communicative argument about communication.

It’s non-communicative because we’re writing all our insults, digs, and acerbic points of principle down in a book*. It means we neither have to see each other or speak to each other directly, which is a splendid relief for both of us.

Picture: AgnieszkaMonk, Pixabay

*The Out Of Favour Shop message book. It’s the way messages are passed from one employee to another from one day to the next when only one person works in the shop at a time. It’s not the most thrilling read.

This absurd slow motion slanging match has been going on for weeks now, and seems to resemble some sort of unholy union between Tai Chi and the Real Housewives Of, er,…TOWIE?

The subject of these non-communication communications is TBE’s habit of acting like some creepy invisible night creature instead of a normal contributing member of the team. (Team! Ha! Who am I kidding?!....).

She slips into the shop after dark, when nobody is around, and secretly devours the recent messages, questions and notifications left especially for her in the book, before creeping out again, carefully leaving no trace that she’s ever been anywhere near the shop or the message book.

TBE's going-out look.
Original photo: Pezibear, Pixabay

Her reclusive vampyric act is ridiculous: nobody knows whether she’s even read the messages or not, and queries about shop processes, customer issues, or what to do with the seven tonnes of useless crap people try to palm off on us every single day remain unanswered. It’s bloody infuriating

And that’s exactly what I told her. Well; what I wrote to her. And I did put it more subtly than that: I’m not uncivilised.

Well I clearly hit a sore spot because her response was a little, umm, tetchy, and included some time-honoured Crap Boss Quotes such as, “I’m your boss, I can do what I want” (always a classic); “I’m your boss, don’t speak to me like that” (a good, solid, if unimaginative response); and, “I’m your boss and I can’t help being socially inadequate” (OK, I might have made the last one up).

I have to admit, I kind of knew I was poking TBE’s sore spot because TBE’s sore spot is so blindingly obvious.

It’s me.

Who me?
Picture: Clker-Fee-Vector-Images, Pixabay

Or, more specifically, TBE is paranoid because I have years more retail experience than her, and proper training under my belt, and consequently she thinks I think she’s a crap boss who hasn’t got a clue and couldn’t organise a cake sale at a Weight Watchers meeting.

And she’s right; I do.

Still, it’s never fun to pull back when you’ve got your opponent, sorry – employer, all riled up, so I poked that sore spot some more.......................

........this time with wise, sage, measured, and entirely professional words about the potential emotional and motivational fragility of the isolated sales assistant, and the responsibility, nay, the willingness, of a good boss to identify such feelings, provide support, and create an inclusive and nurturing team environment. The sad, unthinkable alternative would be a demotivated, unhappy and resentful employee, which would surely represent something of an own-goal for a boss in terms of employee performance and shop sales.

I think that’s fair enough, don’t you? It’s truthful and not at all condescending…

Anyway, the next time I was in, I found she’d ripped the pages containing my message right out of the book altogether.

Oh dear. Clearly not a natural team leader then.

In fact, given her obvious resistance to my sincerely meant observations, I know I won’t be seeing her for weeks and weeks. I predict she’ll fall back on one of her Boss Erratic Ten Commandments:

‘If it’s too difficult, avoid it’. 

So far it’s been a month, but that’s nothing. Her record for not seeing me is three and a half months, which, given there are only four people in this company, is a little bit disappointing, no?