Reason # 4: Difficult supervisors
As I have mentioned, the work environment was dominated by a negatively occupied tone. I am a positive person who even sees in the middle of a catastrophe one tiny, positive aspect and always gives people a chance who seem to fail in the school system. I am one of the ‘naive’ people who believe that motivation and support can help each person achieve their goal. Or, developing with them on their path a realistic goal which still corresponds to their own interests.
I don’t belong to those people who tell student that “your performance is not good enough, you should better think about becoming a warehouse operator” and by that destroy their dream of repairing and selling computers. Well, there was my assistant supervisor who had quite the opposite opinion…
It came as it had to come: We had a big argument. That already happened after only two months and I had to listen to “well, you must distance yourself from my (negative) view. You should think about whether this is the right job for you. If that doesn’t work out between us, we have to think about something else”, so I slowly started looking for other jobs.
Not only different opinions, but also sharing information was part of the problem: I can’t remember how often information was not shared with me or declared as “I thought it was not important for you”. Such information was related to, for example, a student I worked with and who wanted to discuss something important with me … but my assistant supervisor didn’t think it could be necessary to inform me. I didn‘t know about it until days later.
She tried to conceal her own absent-mindedness and lack of planning and organization by accusing me of “I should organize myself better” when I told her about my many appointments. Her solution: Less time for the students I regularly worked with to be able to do the additional tasks. However, my ‘regular’ students needed increased support during this time. In my perfectionism (and because one of my strengths is organization and planning…), I have managed to do my regular job AND the additional tasks. What I wasn’t able to do any longer: To take over her appointments that she wanted me to do for her because of her bad planning skills.
Again, it came as it had to come: A few weeks after the first disagreement came the second, this time an even decisive argument. The reason was her allegation that I hadn’t read her email (about a certain schedule), which she had written two weeks before. She repeated herself several times … in front of four other colleagues who were sitting in the office. Later, it turned out that she had made the changes in the schedule just the day before and had not informed my colleague and me yet. She didn’t apologize.
Instead, however, she constantly rolled her eyes and it even happened that she turned towards our supervisor and rolled her eyes when I passed in the hallway and said “hi”.
Reason # 5: Impact on health
Frustration, anger, and dissatisfaction spread into my everyday life. As mentioned above, it took an incredible amount of effort to distance myself from the negative influences. Neither professionally nor personally was I able to improve. But I didn’t want to give up so quickly! My sense of responsibility towards my students grew, and my feelings of guilt rose. I didn’t want to expose them to another staff change (yes, there had been already a few) and I didn’t want to make them feel like I was quitting because of them.
The difficult relationship with my assistant supervisor and my dilemma (quit or stay) had an effect on my body: I had sleeping problems, headache and back pain, I felt sick in the morning before work (especially when I knew that on that day I would be working with my assistant supervisor in the office), my tinnitus was getting louder and on weekends I was more busy looking for job postings than building up and maintaining social contacts. Apathy, lethargy and zero motivation were my constant companions.
It couldn’t go on like that!
In a mediation meeting, an additional staff member of the company (neutral person as witness and supervisor) took part to find a solution for the difficult working relationship between my assistant supervisor. With only little results. A few weeks later it turned out how pointless this meeting has been.
How pointless the conversation was, showed itself again a few weeks later. My supervisor, made fun of the meeting during a company party in front of the whole team (without mentioning a name!). She made fun of the fact that employees could call in a mediation meeting and also ask neutral staff members to partake.
Reduce hours or quit?
After two months, as mentioned above, I had the first argument with my assistant supervisor. At that time I already thought about quitting, but didn’t want to give up easily. So I thought about reducing hours and working again more hours as a freelancer. But soon enough I realized that this wasn’t a solution either.
Eventually, I quit and felt incredibly relieved!
Now I’m working again in a daycare. No, not as a director. Hardly anyone could believe that I would like to work with my university degree in a classroom and not in a management position.
But now I have creative possibilities, work pedagogically and I am challenged with a new concept, in which I can improve … and: I earn more money! (It’s said to say that I had to lower my degree on the paper to earn more money…educators are better paid than some social pedagogues/social workers with a master degree…)
So far, I have not regretted my decision yet, and I still ask myself: What lesson did I actually have to learn in the worst job I’ve ever had?
Have you ever been in a difficult work situation that has burdened you? How did you solve the problem? I’m curious about your answers 😉