Meaningful & deep conversation is important to me. Especially with my kids. My daughter (age 19) began a new summer job in early June. She has encountered a less than “nice” person as her co-worker, they share a very small space each day. We have communicated with our children since they were very young about every aspect of their lives, from the fun and silly to the very complicated. This situation for her has been confusing and complicated. Learning to deal with others in our lives and co-inhabit our spaces with less than desirable people can be a challenge! I chalk it up to life lessons and am very pleased when she’s willing to ask for advice and listen to her father and I in how to deal with it.
This morning, our morning conversation before work revolved yet again about the woman she was going to spend another day with. She told me stories of yesterday, yet another difficult day dealing with her. This woman has been the one to train her in her new position as a pet groomer this summer. It started out okay but quickly began to get kinda ugly. Our daughter would come home with reports of this woman yelling at her, using profanity blatantly, and then it became threats — that if she forgot such & such “one more time” that she would whip this bottle at her head… things our daughter has not yet had to deal with in her young life. As disturbing and disgusting this behavior is, I have been staying positive in the way of these being life lessons and my husband and I being able to help her through it each day. Giving her pep talks and encouraging her to find ways to stay true to herself and her beliefs while dealing with someone irrational.
A week or so ago our daughter went ‘over the head’ of this woman and filed a complaint for the mistreatment. Things have changed, but just as we had warned her, the change hasn’t been what she might have hoped for. The woman now uses a different angle to treat her basically the same way. One of the things we have instilled in our daughter since this all began is the fact that this has so much more to do with the woman than it does with her (our daughter). That she is acting this way for something inside of herself that manifests itself outwardly toward often nice, patient people like herself. We made it clear that she may be preying on her because she’s an easy target for being so tolerable and quiet and that she should try to find words to stand up for herself when it is happening. Well, finding the words has been difficult. She says she just shakes her head and goes back to work. We have explained that if this is her way, then she must be sure to not internalize what is happening and not to let it become part of her own belief system of herself.
Today she told me that the change since she told of the mistreatment has been that she won’t answer her questions about grooming. She now divides the dogs in the morning of who has who and she’s on her own. Even when it is a “regular” and she wants to know how the owner is used to having it done, she will say “do it your way”. Our daughter seems to believe that the reason for this is that she wants to see her screw up, wants to have a customer complain about a dog that she has done on her own and she can get all the blame for it. The way it was working before was that when she was yelling at her she would often refer to these being her “regulars” and that our daughter is only around for the summer and screwing up isn’t an option. This was never a problem with our daughter, she respected that fact and wanted to do a good job, both for the customer and this woman. But there was never encouragement or understanding… never teaching… never patience. That is a tough environment for someone learning a new skill. When this was happening we helped her to see that there was a possibility she felt threatened by her doing a better job than her, that maybe there’s more going on with her and the company than our daughter is aware of, finding ways for her not to “own” what was happening. Of course, helping her to separate the fact that owning and fixing her own grooming mistakes and learning from them was crucial, but the constant badgering and rudeness radiated her way was not something she needed to own. This is such a valuable life lesson for her.
Our conversation this morning led to EGO. I explained how often people are driven by ego and when this happens it can be hard to deal with. We have tried to teach our children that making decisions and conducting your life from the standpoint of your ego is toxic and destructive. Our daughter has encountered someone who uses “I” and “Me” in most of her sentences. She’s not a good leader, not a team player. This is hard to handle.
On her way out the door this morning, I reminded her of why she goes to work each day, that she is not going FOR this woman, she is going for her love of dogs, for the customer she is serving and to earn her paycheck. Reminded her that her doing it on her own now will lead to more fulfilling experiences at work, a feeling of pride when a customer likes what she’s done with their dog. If you make a mistake, it’s only a mistake, you learn from it, you move on, you grow. Have a great day My Love!!!
“In about the same degree as you are helpful you will be happy.” ~Theodore Reik