Emotional Intelligence: Part II

Elaine’s work-related E.Q. saga unfolds …

Wednesday: At a staff meeting, I hear the announcement that a former colleague has been hired to work part-time at my soon-to-be-former place of employment. Given (1) I’m leaving because my job can’t/won’t be modified to allow for a flexible schedule and (2) I was not even aware that they were recruiting for this “new” part-time job, I am angry. And hurt. I leave shortly after the meeting, worried that I might say something I’ll regret due to a sudden deficit of emotional intelligence (E.Q.)

Thursday: Ahhh … a previously planned day off. After moaning and gnashing my teeth the night before, I’m ready to turn the page and embrace a new perspective.  Life’s too short to let things like this upset me … Things happen for a reason … The Universe clearly does not want me to continue working here … THEIR loss if they they can’t figure out a way to keep me … The Magic 8 Ball responds “Definitely so” when asked if I’ll get a better job (courtesy of my friend’s new favorite app) … and, my other pet mantra (and most lacking in E.Q.)  — *$&# him!

Friday: While I’m in a better place, I still want to look my boss in the eye and ask him, “What the hell were you thinking?” I seek him out first thing.

Me: “I wanted to talk to you about the announcement at Wednesday’s staff meeting. About how so-and-so has been hired for that specialized part-time job. Since you knew I was interested in working part-time, I’m wondering why I wasn’t considered for that position.”

Boss: “I didn’t even know that you were interested in that specialized position.” (Note: The newly-created position had been filled for two months last fall, and that person left abruptly and without any acknowledgment by my boss in December. Nothing has been said about the vacancy since that time.)

Me: “The reason I didn’t mention any interest is that my understanding was that the position required a particular background, which I don’t have. Now, with so-and-so’s hiring, it seems that the background was not a requirement.”

Boss: “Well, so-and-so has always been interested in working with this population. He came to me and asked.”

Me: “But, do you appreciate that I didn’t even know to ask since this hiring process was not out in the open. I didn’t even know you were planning on filling the position.” (My voice is starting to rise a bit.)

Boss: “I get why you’re angry.” (Note: I’ve used this technique before – acknowledge that a person is angry while not agreeing with/assuming responsibility for the reason for their anger. Now that I’ve been on the receiving end, gotta tell you, it didn’t mollify me at all.)

Me: “I’ve worked very hard for you for the last 18 months and you KNOW I want to work part-time in some capacity at this company. What I don’t understand is how it didn’t occur to you to at least let me compete for the position.”

Boss and Me: We do another few rounds of the above discussion. Finally, we just look at each other. Me – stiff and expressionless. Boss – hands clasped with an earnest “we’ve just had a simple misunderstanding” look.

Me: “Well, I just wanted to let you know that I’m very unhappy with how the whole hiring process went down.” Get up and walk to the door. My hand is on the door knob …

Boss: “Can you allow me to say a few more things?”

Me thinking to myself: I know where he’s going. He’s going to start some hyperbolic B.S. about how valued I am, blah, blah, blah. I’ve seen him go into that insincere, you’re-the-greatest-thing-since-sliced-bread  mode with dozens of people. If he starts that crap, I’m going to lose whatever composure I have left.

Me saying to Boss: “You know, I’m so angry right now, I don’t think whatever you would say could be heard.”

Boss: “Fine then.”

I walk out the door.

Rest of Friday and Monday: Our paths have not crossed since Friday morning, which is not unusual. I’ve cooled down now and have embraced a new perspective. (No, really, this time I have!) Part of me knows I should seek out my Boss and clear the air. The other part of me (the part lacking in true E.Q.) is digging in my heels and refusing to take that step. As of blog time, the latter part is winning.

Any guidance to offer, Wise Women, emotionally intelligent or otherwise?


  • Sharon Says:
    3-16-2010 07:33:49

    My thought is that he will not hear what you mean to say when you talk to him. He wants to have his say but he is unwilling/unable to hear your side. In your shoes I would write what I want to say as clearly and concisely as I can in a draft email that I would save and let sit for a few days. Then I would reread, edit as needed, and send it to him. He still might be able to “hear” you but you will at least be able to say everything you want to say. Sometimes the written word seeps in where the heard word cannot.

  • Sharon Says:
    3-16-2010 07:37:13

    I meant to say “He still might not…” in that last sentence. Unconscious ommission on my part because I desperately wish bosses would listen to the people they work with?

  • Barb Says:
    3-16-2010 08:22:37

    For what it’s worth. I think you should seek him out and clear the air; let him know you’d like to hear his other thoughts on the matter. Be prepared for him to say the “hyperbolic BS” that you expected, and if he does then you were right, but you’re also prepared. And if he doesn’t go the hyperbolic BS route, then maybe you’ll learn something new, but at least you will then know how everything would have played out. And he won’t have had the “last laugh”, so to speak.

    Good luck!

  • shane Says:
    3-16-2010 09:15:53

    The cynic in me says, you are on the way out the door and nothing you say is going to make him realize that he was wrong. Just more evidence that you are meant for better things/people and the universe has better plans for you. Hang in there.

  • Kathleen Says:
    3-16-2010 09:33:26

    The crappy situation and your boss’ crappy response aside — I’m really, really impressed that you were able to stand up for yourself and let your boss know exactly what you were thinking and how hurt you were. So many of us would have just stewed and stewed and never said anything. Kudos to you.

  • Catherine Says:
    3-16-2010 13:22:29

    I do think it is important to clear the air and again talk with the boss, as Barb suggested.

    Email is subject to incorrect interpretations, so I would steer clear of using that medium. However, the idea of writing out and clarifying your thoughts is a good suggestion.

    I think the goal of your conversation with the boss will depend on your goal. Have you already mentally left the building and want to leave bridges intact or do you want to stay with your company?

    Differences of opinion can happen in even the best of manager/employee relationships. I also find that men don’t hold onto these things and ruminate on them as we women tend to do. I think there is a good possibility to get the relationship back on track.

    Good luck whatever you decide to do. You will be an asset whether you stay or go.

  • Stacy Says:
    3-16-2010 13:52:18

    First of all, and maybe I’m wrong but I thought you gave your notice to that job months ago. If that’s the case, what the heck are you still doing there? If that’s not the case, what the heck are you still doing there?? Go see him. Let him speak. If you happen to like what he says, you’ll think about sticking around. If you don’t….you’ll shake his hand and (with no emotional outburst) you’ll say thank you and goodbye.

  • Anne Says:
    3-16-2010 22:03:04

    Elaine -

    It’s late, and I don’t have good advice at the moment (although I’m still working on it). I agree with Kathleen though – I’m glad you stood up for yourself. However, it’s a great story and read like a novel. I’ll be back to you after a good night’s sleep!


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