Thursday, June 10, 2010

Yes, I'm a Little Sensitive

"You need to not be so sensitive...."

On Monday I heard those words used in a sentence during the long overdue meeting that was scheduled between Regional HR, myself and a member of our local management team as a result of my former, recently terminated boss throwing around false accusations. Yes, another stark reminder of who I am and why I don't fit in with a warrior type, extremely competitive, money hungry, treat your people as numbers organization. This time I didn't blink an eye or feel inadequate inside; I just gave a slight smile mixed with feelings of recognition and self-acceptance.

Really? I'm too sensitive because I reacted negatively to the wording of a process that you admit and recognize needs to be changed so that reactions like mine can be avoided? Words that have the potential to result in gross misunderstanding if not explained properly, making the receiving end feel as though they are somehow at fault for something out of their control? Words that have the power to alienate good people and drive talent away from your organization?

No, we shouldn't use the term "corrective action" to describe an investigative process surrounding work related accidents and injuries. No, you shouldn't be made to feel as though you are being disciplined and no, this paperwork shouldn't have been handed to you with no explanation. Yes, we were surprised when these allegations came up due to your good performance history. And the pictures you took of your market to "cya" yourself, well, they were so good we could have sent them to the corporate office in Dallas. "The good thing is that no real corrective action came out of this."

Yet, I still had to endure a "slap on the wrist" talk with the Zone Sales Leader about how my market supposedly looked like crap because someone who decided to get retaliatory said so? I had to once again feel like I was worthless, unappreciated and devalued because you couldn't go out there and conduct a proper investigation yourself?

But who really cares right? As long as no one says anything we can go on pretending that everything is ok and that the feelings of resentment and inadequacy that we're instilling in those we count on to make a difference aren't valid enough to change things. It's amazing to me that organizations like this continue to get away with stealing pieces of human dignity and respect. Yes, HR gets it; management still doesn't. Yes, they have plans to change the wording, the procedure and the manner in which the process is communicated. No, it was not my intent to get my former boss canned, although I'm sure my little "incident" was just icing on the cake. It's too bad another female employee had to get wrongly terminated before he decided to mess with the wrong subordinate.

No, I'm not bitter. Really. Not anymore. Amazingly, I'm appreciative and grateful. I look at it this way-years after I'm gone my mark will still be there because this isn't the only thing about this company I've tried to change. Playing a part in laying this foundation hasn't been easy, but I've learned so much about myself in the process that I wouldn't take any of it back. Not a single bit. I only hope that those who choose to stay there will continue to try to make a difference, destroy the foundations that need to be changed and continue to lay new, more humanistic, constructive ones in their place.

My customers are the ones who always tell me what my company's leaders should, but don't. One tells me "You're awesome, don't ever go on vacation again." Another says "I appreciate everything you do for me, even if no one else tells you that." And my mom and pop mountain town grocery store manager who's leaving at the end of the week to start a new life with her love in Laguna Beach tells me "You're one of a kind; a gem. I hope that everyone realizes what they have in you."

Those are the only words I need to hear (and listen to). It's the qualitative difference that my sensitivity strives to make. And it's the only difference that truly matters or gets remembered beneath the everyday routine.

Perhaps one day the rest of the world will learn that they need people who are a little sensitive. And that they themselves need to not be so callous and unappreciative.

1 comment:

  1. I grew up hearing, "You're too sensitive." I got to the point where I actually believed it. I don't now.

    You're right, we do need sensitive people. Thank you for being one.