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Work problem. I Need help! (really long)

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
First off let me start off saying I LOVE my job. I work at a doggy daycare and boarding facility so basically I am playing with dogs all day. Work consist of supervising play time, feeding, giving meds, and breaking up the occasional fight. Normally work is very fun and relaxed, but there is one employee that is driving me, and everyone else there, up the wall.

She is an older lady (but my older I mean low 50's I think...) but she acts like she is 70. Living on her own and walks to work.

When I first started there in December of 06 she decided that I was after her job... when there were only 3 employees there at the time and my boss hired me and one other girl as Christmas help and to possibly keep us on after that. He needed more employees it was that simple.

So its just slowly gotten worse. And she constantly HAS to have a problem with someone that works there and most of the time there is no reason for her to have that problem.

Lately its been that I'm bossy because anytime I try to say something about a dog which is normally something like "this dogs paws are sore they dont need to be outside on the rocks" or "Keep a close eye on this dog she eats rocks" she decides that I'm just fussing at her. So I decided that I would just quit telling her stuff because honestly I got tired of being called bossy. And then she comes to me and says I never tell her anything and she just wants to be included. So the next day I tell her these 2 dogs dont get a long they dont need to be together and her response was "well I always check with Cory (our boss) about stuff like that anyways" said very snappy.

And now she will not listen to me at all when our boss isnt there even though I am in charge when he is gone.

And also she constantly complains about how tired she is. Which I would feel sorry for her, but she gets to work at 3 AM when our shifts start at 7 to get stuff done and then doesnt leave until almost 3 PM some days when the shift ends at noon. She has also decided to answer phones and talk to customers and has said very rude / very wrong things to the customers on a few different occasions.

She also complained before about how she couldnt afford all this stuff and can barely eat and she was the only one making it on her own. But now she has decided that since almost all of our employees are living on their own now that its because she is the only one without a room mate. And she told a fellow employee that "it must be nice having all that money from her new 2nd job. And she makes it all on her own with only what she gets paid from Camp and that if it werent for people giving her money that she wouldnt be here." Which really offended the other employee because the 2nd job she is working is only 2 days a week (her two days off from camp) and the entire paycheck goes straight to the bank to pay off the car that she totaled and is still making payments on.

It just seems like this older lady is constantly complaining about something. She isnt good with the dogs, and terrified of the big dogs, and just all around frustrating and stressful. But our boss wont really fire her or do anything because she constantly says how she can barely make it and stuff. And he feels really bad for her.

But does anyone have any clues what to do? I am out of ideas and really dread going to work because of her. Anyone have any advise? Please?
post #2 of 26
Ugh, not fun! Unfortunately I think that is just her personality, and no matter what you said to her, she would take it as you attacking her. Some people you just can't reason with, and you just have to put up with them.
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
Ugh, not fun! Unfortunately I think that is just her personality, and no matter what you said to her, she would take it as you attacking her. Some people you just can't reason with, and you just have to put up with them.
Thats exactly how she is! Everyone is constantly attacking her! And whats worse is if you are on the phone with someone when you come in and dont say hi to her then she will just be angry with you the rest of the day and tell our boss that you were mean to her. (luckily he doesnt believe her when she says this anymore)
post #4 of 26
That's the most important thing - that your boss understands what she is like, and knows that you are not mean to her! Trying to change someone's personality is near impossible!

I think it sounds like she has no confidence and is quite threatened by the other staff.
post #5 of 26
Make sure your boss knows that she has said some rude things to customers. She could very well (& IMO it is likely) be costing his business customers.....she'll drive them away!
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Make sure your boss knows that she has said some rude things to customers. She could very well (& IMO it is likely) be costing his business customers.....she'll drive them away!
Yea we told him. It was actually (luckily this last time) with another employees family, but she didnt know it was family. But our boss talked to her about it and hopefully she will straighten up with that part. Luckily she also very rarely deals with customers.
post #7 of 26
I think all you can do is think of what great life training you are getting. You will probably have to work with difficult people again. If you can learn to deal with her without killing her think of how much easier it will be to deal with the next difficult person.

See, it's actually a good thing!

[When all else fails, spin it!]
post #8 of 26
She just may be worried she may be laid off due to the fact the employer is beginning to hire younger help. So, therefore, she's taking it on you guys. IDK...I may be completely wrong but that's sorta what I see. My advice is just try to stay clear away from her as much as possible. If she makes a remark just blow it off.
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post
I think all you can do is think of what great life training you are getting. You will probably have to work with difficult people again. If you can learn to deal with her without killing her think of how much easier it will be to deal with the next difficult person.

See, it's actually a good thing!

[When all else fails, spin it!]
I like the way you think!

Quote:
Originally Posted by oOoMissEoOo View Post
She just may be worried she may be laid off due to the fact the employer is beginning to hire younger help. So, therefore, she's taking it on you guys. IDK...I may be completely wrong but that's sorta what I see. My advice is just try to stay clear away from her as much as possible. If she makes a remark just blow it off.
Yea that might be it too. Our boss is 28 and everyone that works there minus her are between 17 - 23. Yea I guess ignoring her is the only real option
post #10 of 26
I agree that it's her paranoia that's making her impossible to work with -- she's terrified that she might appear to be less than perfect, so she's taking pre-emptive strikes and viewing her coworkers as enemies. That may be why she comes in so early, too -- trying to impress the boss, perhaps. This is a very frightened person.

Reassurance from the boss is what she needs. He needs to tell her that her job is not in jeopardy from these younger employees, but that she does need to be nicer to people and easier to work with. She needs to understand that job security and getting along with your coworkers are inextricably linked.

Now about your description of her... in her "low 50s" and she's an "older woman," eh? Hmph! I'm highly offended!
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
I agree that it's her paranoia that's making her impossible to work with -- she's terrified that she might appear to be less than perfect, so she's taking pre-emptive strikes and viewing her coworkers as enemies. That may be why she comes in so early, too -- trying to impress the boss, perhaps. This is a very frightened person.

Reassurance from the boss is what she needs. He needs to tell her that her job is not in jeopardy from these younger employees, but that she does need to be nicer to people and easier to work with. She needs to understand that job security and getting along with your coworkers are inextricably linked.

Now about your description of her... in her "low 50s" and she's an "older woman," eh? Hmph! I'm highly offended!
I might mention that to my boss!

hehe and the reason I said older because if I honestly didnt know her age I would think she would be almost 70 with the way she acts and talks!
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by capt_jordi View Post
She isnt good with the dogs, and terrified of the big dogs,
I don't have any advise, but I just have to ask, Why is she working at a doggy day care if she is scared of dogs??? That's weird That would be like me working at a bird store or something
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemae1277 View Post
I don't have any advise, but I just have to ask, Why is she working at a doggy day care if she is scared of dogs??? That's weird That would be like me working at a bird store or something
She didnt use to be so bad, but she has gotten bit a few times (its an occupational hazard...) and it has scared her. She has only been bit badly once, the others were just little bites. Now she carries around direct stop (its like doggy mace but doesnt hurt them) and one of those thick gloves that they use for training aggressive dogs.

Glad to know I'm not the only one afraid of birds!
post #14 of 26
I have something a little more constructive than my last post. She sounds like a very unhappy person and she may have trouble relating to other people. Have you ever asked her about herself? Do you include her when/if you go to lunch? If you could forget how much she irritates you and treat her like someone you would like to know, her attitude might change. Even though she is older than you, she may need you to help her get along better with others. Also, you might be surprised how interesting someone older than you can be to talk to. I've always enjoyed talking to older people. Well, OK, maybe not always.

I know it could be difficult at this point but it might make your days more tolerable.
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post
I have something a little more constructive than my last post. She sounds like a very unhappy person and she may have trouble relating to other people. Have you ever asked her about herself? Do you include her when/if you go to lunch? If you could forget how much she irritates you and treat her like someone you would like to know, her attitude might change. Even though she is older than you, she may need you to help her get along better with others. Also, you might be surprised how interesting someone older than you can be to talk to. I've always enjoyed talking to older people. Well, OK, maybe not always.

I know it could be difficult at this point but it might make your days more tolerable.
She wont let anyone not know about herself. She is one of those that spills their entire life story to you constantly. Including details you dont talk about to people other than your best friend, mother and doctor...
Plus she is very convinced that I hate her and want her job. I tried to help her by doing some extra one day at work she told my boss that I was trying to take her responsibilities from her and that I was just trying to look better than her. We never really go out for lunch or anything with work. If we have a meeting my boss brings us all pizza or something like that, but she will never eat in front of us. She will just wrap some up and save it for later. The only other time we get together out side of work is we hang out with my boss and play video games on occasion.

I would love for her to realize that I dont hate her. Because I dont. She just really makes me crazy by the way she treats me. But every time I do its that I'm "just saying that in front of people." She honestly has a vendetta against me or something... I dont get it. I mean I can be a but I'm not towards her. I try to be very nice to her. But I am to the point that I just want to give up!

I am honestly out of ideas with the lady. And all of the employees feel the same. Thats why I wanted to ask if you guys had any ideas that we havent tried. This has been going on for months now, and it makes all of us stressed and annoyed. And very worried about our own sanity and jobs!

Thanks to everyone that has mentioned anything on here! I am going to be talking to my boss about some of these ideas next week. I really want things to get better! Hopefully something will change!

But on a brighter note! I've been promoted to full time for this summer!
post #16 of 26
Well, I guess alcohol is your only recourse then!

Please don't drink and drive though...
post #17 of 26
That really sucks! Don't leave your job though; I think she will probably leave before you do - she doesn't sound happy at all. And your boss needs to learn you don't keep people on only because you feel sorry for them. That is not the right way to run a business. Surely she sees other things in that person to keep her employed.
How long has your boss been working for herself? Is she on the floor much? Do you like your other employees? If all the other employees have a problem with just one employee and the problem is so bad that it is starting to effect your job and the dogs (as they are very perceptive) I think all the employees need to talk to the boss in a meeting then.
I feel sorry for the older lady too, I don't know why! She sounds very lonely and insecure, which makes me sad. If I were you I would think of what you would say to her, sit her down, and have a good talk with her after work one day. Things don't get better like this when you let them go, they tend to get worse. No blaming, but focus on you, how it makes you feel, and try to at least see if you can break through so she stops treating you like this, worth a shot?
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
Ugh, not fun! Unfortunately I think that is just her personality, and no matter what you said to her, she would take it as you attacking her. Some people you just can't reason with, and you just have to put up with them.
Oh man! She sounds like the homecare cleaning lady that I had for most of last year. She was the most negative person I've ever encountered. Nothing nice or positive to say about anything or anyone. Constantly whining and complaining.

The woman you work for is in her 50's and probably feels threatened by the addition of younger people to the work place. She may be feeling "replacable" and less valued and that she may be let go in favour of younger employees, so she over compensates by trying to make herself indespensable by showing extra committment by coming in earlier than everyone else and staying longer than everyone else.

It also sounds like she has a very stubborn nature and doesn't like being "told" what to do.

So far as her personality is concerned, there is nothing much you can do to change that. However, there are things you can do to "manage" her and make the working environment more comfortable.

For example, try consulting her on things. Ask her opinion. Even if you don't need it It will make her feel valued.

Instead of telling her "this dogs paws are sore they dont need to be outside on the rocks" or "Keep a close eye on this dog she eats rocks." Try asking her. Call her over and show her the dog's paws and say something like "I notice that this dog has sore paws. Do you think he should still be let outside?"

Changing the way you communicate with her will go a long way to improving your working relationship with her.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by capt_jordi View Post
Thats exactly how she is! Everyone is constantly attacking her! And whats worse is if you are on the phone with someone when you come in and dont say hi to her then she will just be angry with you the rest of the day and tell our boss that you were mean to her. (luckily he doesnt believe her when she says this anymore)
So why not just give her a head nod and a hand wave when she comes in? Will take a split second and appease her.
post #20 of 26
I agree that asking her opinion (even if you already know the answer) may help. Or, if everyone is having a problem with her, get together with your boss and see if you could come up with a "special project" and put her in charge of it. Something like advertisement, promotion, anything that will get her out of your hair for a while, and at the same time make her feel important. Your boss could make it sound like a promotion or added responsibilities because he "needs a person with a mature attitude", and she is the first person that came to mind. He can pour it on thick and it may make her feel more valuable and less defensive. And, who knows...you may discover she has a talent for something like that.

It's very hard to work with someone with that kind of attitude, I know!
post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
So why not just give her a head nod and a hand wave when she comes in? Will take a split second and appease her.
I try to, but most of the time she says it from the kitchen or has she is walking into the back.

We will try to start asking for her opinion a bit more.
We cant really put her in charge of anything because most anything that we do involves a lot of lifting (any of the maintenance and rebuilding and heavy cleaning) or involves using the computer (which she refuses to even use to clock in and out much less make a reservation. We have offered to show her and she refuses) or just explaining everything on the phone. She has horribly low self esteem and is horribly stubborn! And I really think our boss is to the point where she is going to get completely stripped of most of her responsibilities. She has made a few mistakes in the past few weeks that could cost us a lot of customers. And has risked a dog getting hurt.
I dunno I think I'm just going to go in next week and just the moment she starts with the complaining leave the room if possible, and just try to completely change everything that I say to her. Hopefully that will work. If not I dont know what I will do!
post #22 of 26
I would just respond to her telling you about you being bossy
"I'm sorry you feel that way" or
"It's too bad you feel that way" or even
"That's between you and Cory"

By verbally/mentally focusing the issue back to her that she is the one with the problem can help reign her in.

Was she there before you started? From your post it does sound like it AND the fact that you're in charge tells me that she feels that she should've have gotten the promotion over you since she has been there longer (even if its a month).
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
I would just respond to her telling you about you being bossy
"I'm sorry you feel that way" or
"It's too bad you feel that way" or even
"That's between you and Cory"

By verbally/mentally focusing the issue back to her that she is the one with the problem can help reign her in.

Was she there before you started? From your post it does sound like it AND the fact that you're in charge tells me that she feels that she should've have gotten the promotion over you since she has been there longer (even if its a month).
She was there before I started. And the reason she hasnt gotten the promotion is the fact she refuses to work more hours, and she wont learn how to use the computer.

And thanks I'll try using that!
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
I would just respond to her telling you about you being bossy
"I'm sorry you feel that way" or
"It's too bad you feel that way" or even
"That's between you and Cory"

By verbally/mentally focusing the issue back to her that she is the one with the problem can help reign her in.

Was she there before you started? From your post it does sound like it AND the fact that you're in charge tells me that she feels that she should've have gotten the promotion over you since she has been there longer (even if its a month).

I can tell you from experience, this probably won't work. It becomes an attack. If you discuss it from the standpoint of "I feel" and "I have noticed", you take the attack out of the discussion.

One suggestion: since she doesn't like being "TOLD" about the dogs, make it a general announcement to the room. "Hey folks, I've noticed Boomer's paws are really sore. Lets keep him inside today".
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
Oh man! She sounds like the homecare cleaning lady that I had for most of last year. She was the most negative person I've ever encountered. Nothing nice or positive to say about anything or anyone. Constantly whining and complaining.

The woman you work for is in her 50's and probably feels threatened by the addition of younger people to the work place. She may be feeling "replacable" and less valued and that she may be let go in favour of younger employees, so she over compensates by trying to make herself indespensable by showing extra committment by coming in earlier than everyone else and staying longer than everyone else.

It also sounds like she has a very stubborn nature and doesn't like being "told" what to do.

So far as her personality is concerned, there is nothing much you can do to change that. However, there are things you can do to "manage" her and make the working environment more comfortable.

For example, try consulting her on things. Ask her opinion. Even if you don't need it It will make her feel valued.

Instead of telling her "this dogs paws are sore they dont need to be outside on the rocks" or "Keep a close eye on this dog she eats rocks." Try asking her. Call her over and show her the dog's paws and say something like "I notice that this dog has sore paws. Do you think he should still be let outside?"

Changing the way you communicate with her will go a long way to improving your working relationship with her.
I really like that approach.

Quote:
Originally Posted by capt_jordi
And also she constantly complains about how tired she is. Which I would feel sorry for her, but she gets to work at 3 AM when our shifts start at 7 to get stuff done and then doesnt leave until almost 3 PM some days when the shift ends at noon.
I know this "older woman" irritates you and your co-workers. It sounds like her whole life revolves around Doggie Daycare. She feels like her job is in jeapordy, which means her whole world is in jeapordy. She resents you because you are young and have so much more to offer.

True, she isn't adapting well to change. She may very well lose her job. On the other hand, you may be able to help her get along a little better at work. She may become a little more cheerful and you will be doing a good thing.
post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweets View Post
I can tell you from experience, this probably won't work. It becomes an attack. If you discuss it from the standpoint of "I feel" and "I have noticed", you take the attack out of the discussion.

One suggestion: since she doesn't like being "TOLD" about the dogs, make it a general announcement to the room. "Hey folks, I've noticed Boomer's paws are really sore. Lets keep him inside today".
Its almost always just the 2 of us and my boss. But he usually stays up front. So I cant really use this one... I wish I could though.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockcat View Post
I really like that approach.


I know this "older woman" irritates you and your co-workers. It sounds like her whole life revolves around Doggie Daycare. She feels like her job is in jeapordy, which means her whole world is in jeapordy. She resents you because you are young and have so much more to offer.

True, she isn't adapting well to change. She may very well lose her job. On the other hand, you may be able to help her get along a little better at work. She may become a little more cheerful and you will be doing a good thing.
I hope she at least changes a bit...
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