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Does it still work in the workplace??
Sat Nov 3, 2007 2:21pm (XFF: unknown)

Ah, the joy it would be if it could be the same in the workplace... *sigh*
The positive thing is obviously that, being an adult, I am more mature and better know what my options are. the sad thing is that, while telling the principal and getting believed by him/her might be enough as a child in school, telling the administration and getting believed by them may not be enough in the workplace. I guess a huge part of the administration in my workplace, if I "tattled" on my chiefs' crazy behaviour and they believed me (which is likely enough for quite a few of them) would nevertheless hold a grudge against me, because I would have broken the unsaid law of "dealing with my boss myself".

So, my records of my boss are:
- when I did my first PowerPoint presentation that I had had some time to prepare (the previous time, she hadn't given me even one minute to prepare), she was surprised at how at ease and good I was, while she hates doing presentations. Then, she probably felt it easier to interpet that as "arrogance", rather than as my being better at presentations than I am, so, "my confident young one" became "my arrogant young one", which she said once without provocation in front of exterior people... nice!
- Once I told her (just once!) that I had done two diplomas the same year (to be correct, I should have told her I had done 3.5 years of study in just one year, but anyway). She then deduced "so, French diplomas must be less good than English ones" (she is English)
- Once we were waiting for the plane because we were going on a mission together. She had a newspaper in hand. She told me "Gabrielle, why is France so backwards?". I was surprised, and just told her "maybe you should also read French newspapers and not just English ones". She decided I was too patriotic and it was impossible to have a genuine discussion with me
- Once there were three of us, my colleague, my boss and myself. My boss told my colleague "Gabrielle always feels she has too much money, while we always feel we do not have enough". She deduced I was avaricious, rather than deducing that, maybe, she was throwing money out of the window, or whatever other option.
- The same day, there were also the three of us, my boss asked us both our zodiac signs. I said I was a Capricorn, I don't remember what my colleague is, and my boss, I know, is a Scoprio. Well, my boss asked my colleague, in front of me "What is wrong with Capricorns that I cannot get on well with them?".
- On another mission, my boss, my colleague and I were preparing presentations. Some time before the end of the mission, I discussed what I had prepared with my boss. Since there were presentations going on, we were discussing through little papers we passed to one another. She passed a paper to me "aren't you going to dominate the show"? This is her classical and well-known argument when she wants to remove some presentations from me, because, of course, since she has discovered I do not mind doing public presentations, she seems to have a strong fright that I will "dominate the show", even when she is in fact not giving more to present to me than to others, but rather trying to give less to me. I replied with a little paper "But it is not a question of who will dominate the show, isn't it? What is important is the relevance of what we are presenting" (of course, I felt proud of myself, because she is always accusing me, when I am presenting more than someone else, of "dominating the show", but if I complain that I am presenting less than someone else, she states it is not relevant, since we are working as a team and it is team work, etc.
- However, later on in the same mission, we discussed one evening what we would present the following day. My boss was doing most of the presentation, but my colleague was presenting one part she had specifically prepared herself, and half of the general presentation, while I was presenting two parts I had prepared myself. I could feel by the end of the day that the boss was planning to remove some of my presentations from me, but I didn't accept chances, and she almost immediately accepted that I would indeed present the two parts I had prepared. She told me not to change anything to the slides that night, because they were all perfect, except one she wanted to reread, but she was the one rereading it, I shouldn't do anything to it myself.
The following day, maybe just two hours before the presentation, she tells me "Gabrielle, you won't present the second part of your presentation, I give this to the colleague, you'll present three slides at the beginning instead". The 3 slides at the beginning were not interesting, and I had also prepared something else, so I didn't feel that change fair, and refused to accept what she was planning. Then she began getting angry, so I ended up accepting the change, but as soon as I had accepted, she told me I wouldn't be doing the first 3 slides after all, my colleague would be doing them. We got pretty angry at each other, and even though I pointed at the big flaws in her arguments, she told me I was a "kid nobody had ever refused anything to, just doing a tantrum, unable to work as a team, counting her slides in an immature way, etc.". I told her how unfair she was, AND added also whatever good I thought of her, not because I am diplomatic, but because I always try to be honest.
So, here was the biggest row we ever had.
- Then, my boss was doing a presentation recently, and she planned with my colleague, in my absence, that she would give half the slides to my colleague - not to me-. In the morning, my colleague wasn't there, and the boss started panicking "Gabrielle, you will help me, and take the slides if she is not there, it is a plot against me to make me fail" blablablablabla... Well, in the end, I didn't do any slide, but it appeared to the public that I was going to, and it wasn't that bad for me, but that's sheer luck, that my boss did not help at all.
- Then, when we were going out together on a weekend, during a mission, I did not take the photos I wanted to, because she was saying "oh, that's so boooring, why do you take a photo of that", so I stopped taking photos altogether. But then, we were at a restaurant, and I said the most inocuous thing about a fisherman. I said "he is pretty close to the shore, isn't he?" and my boss replied to me "if you want, you can go and help him, and I'll take a photo". This seemed crazy to me, and I felt she was literally making fun of me. She contends though, and on that one it may be the truth, that he had tangled nets and her remark was the kind of joke all English people do and she felt it was hilarious and cannot see how it could have been bad. For the record, in France, we do not do that kind of joke at all, and it does sound very contemptuous, especially from a boss who already made similar jokes to a colleague (who left us because he couldn't stand her any longer), saying even before he could open his mouth "and rural teachers!" with a laugh (that colleague did talk a lot about rural teachers and it's not the heart of our work. I know he was talking about rural teachers too much, but I also feel making fun of him like my boss did wouldn't improve the situation).
- Recently, she did something horrible to outside people. She is a little bit racist against anything francophone, I have to admit, so when I first suggested a French institution could be invited alongside other institutions because their work was relevant to the Forum we were organizing, I had to explain why, but she finally accepted (in other cases, she was so racist against Francophones that I had to joke to her "hey, Boss, it's so nice, we are going to be able to tell the translators not to come, since all our invitees are native English speakers!"). I was talking in favour of those Francophones, but obviously, she could have said "no" had she wished. Instead, she listened to me and said "yes". But with my boss, a "yes" is never a "yes". When time came to make the list of invitees, they weren't in. I came to my boss, explained why I felt they were relevant again, and she said "yes" again, and told me to tell my colleague to put them on the agenda for 3 different themes. So, they were supposed to be on, and were told they would come to speak. Then, my boss discovered some of her invitees could not come, and, in a panic, she told me to plea with that Francophone institution for them to send two people to our forum, and to prepare for three slots, two of them big slots, of 1 hour and a half each.
I pleaded, and they accepted to send two people. I sent the official invitation letters to both of them, with the detail of the 3 themes they were going to talk about. The official letter was signed by my boss of course. Those two people, even though they were warned relatively late, took their planes (they have a 5 hours plane journey to come to our place) and hotels. Then, suddenly, on the weekend, a week before they were to come, I discovered that the provisional agenda now had them for one 1 hour slot only (and with a silly title, but that could be changed easily). I tried the nice way to tell my boss it was not right, telling her that "I know we are playing for their planes, but they are important and busy people, the head and the deputy-chief of that Institution, so it's not fair, I feel, if two of them come for what is finally just an one-hour presentation!".
Do you think my boss understood something? Oh no, she replied "oh, so, we should that one of them alone will come!". Come one, lady! I told my boss that
1. This seemed rude to me
2. If she wanted to tell them that, fine, she should tell this herself, I wouldn't be her messenger
Finally, she gave in and now they are back for a decent amount of time...

But really, what am I to do with such a silly crazy unfair hesitant boss?

Documenting all may not be enough... Any other suggestion?


  • Re: BullyingOhioMomof2, Tue Oct 30 2:13am
    Again, document, document, document! I had a teacher my sophomore year who was fair with grading, but had an attitude against women, minorities, immigrants, and anything he deemed "unAmerican." He... more
    • Does it still work in the workplace?? — Gabrielle, Sat Nov 3 2:21pm
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