One of the things that I've been forced to realize is that, as a supervisor, some people will just hate my guts no matter what I do. Regardless of my best intentions, my carefully planned feedback presented in the most positive and motivating way that I can think of, my genuine attempts to win their respect through fairness and decency, some people will regard anything I do as inherently suspect, at best -- if not downright evil.
It is awfully demoralizing. I've experienced the same thing from a leader, too -- no matter how hard you try or how well you do, it's never enough. Everything is always bad. Yet, as a supervisor, it's a little different because it's so, well, personal.
It's not my work getting rejected, it's me.
An excellent example of this phenomenon was an incident that happened awhile back with an agent I'll call "Alice". Alice was always a pretty good rep and I thought we were on good terms.
One weekend I was providing floor coverage -- that is, watching what's going on and make sure the call center is tooling along smoothly. On weekends, it's pretty slim in terms of the number of supervisors, because the staff is low, too, but it also means you're usually flying solo most of the day. Part of my job is to check in on people who have blocked calls out -- for example, in what people in the industry usually call "wrap", or time after a call wrapping up an account -- or other codes that stop calls from coming in. I give them a few minutes, in case they're going to the bathroom or something, and then I go check to see if everything's OK. This is to make sure agents aren't getting too involved with one account, or having computer trouble, or, more usually, goofing around or sneaking off the floor for a few minutes.
I noticed Alice was offline for over 5 minutes so I decided to go check out what was going on. As I approached her desk, I notice she was sort of slumped over. I got very concerned and came over to her, saying, "Alice, all you ok?"
Alice shook her head at me, and I said, "Are you sick? Do I need to call an ambulance?"
Alice shook her head again no. I stood there for a second, wondering what was going on. She caught her breath for a minute, and said, "Low sugar." Alice flipped over a black cloth caddy on her desk, showing me her insulin and syringes.
I don't really know a diabetic personally and haven't dealt with these sort of attacks, but she obviously needs help. I ask, "How can I help you? Do you want me to go get some cookies from the cafeteria?"
Alice pulls out some money from her purse and puts it in my hand. "Mountain Dew," she says, breathlessly.
I hurriedly shuffle down to the caferia and rush back, putting the bottle of Mountain Dew in her hand. I put her change down as she's drinking. I ask again, "Are you going to be ok?"
She nods. She obviously doesn't really want to talk, and I feel like I'm intruding by hovering around. I jot down my extension for her and say, "Ok, I'm going to go back to my desk. Please call me if you need anything. Take the time you need, it's no problem." She nods again, seeming already better.
I check back on her a few times over the next hour, and throughout the day, and she seems okay. I was concerned, but a lot of people have health problems at my office, so I didn't want to make a big deal about it.
Cut to the next day, when I get called into my boss' office. Now, I like my boss. She's very understanding, and she trusts me. This is very important because of all of the things agents will say to try to get me fired. (This happens a lot. Not usually even my agents, but other ones that I've caught in the act of doing something.)
We chit chat for a minute, and then she asks me, "So what happened with Alice yesterday?" I explain, thinking that she's asking for time off or something like that to see a doctor, or maybe that some other supervisor caught her off the phone later and there was a problem. I even add some things in her defense, saying that she handled the situation well and she didn't immediately want to go home the way a lot of agents would.
My boss gives me this knowing nod, which always means that something more is going on than I think. "Oh, is that what happened? That's odd."
"Why?" I ask.
"Alice went to [my boss's manager] and said that you stormed over to her because she was offline, and screamed at her, "GET BACK TO WORK!"
[It should be noted that I, as a policy, never yell at employees. Ever. I think it's absolutely disrespectful, rude, and boorish. I may fire you, I may not like you, I may fight in court to make sure you don't get unemployment pay because you were incompetent, but I will not raise my voice to you.]
My boss added, rather good-naturedly, "Yeah, I know, it didn't really sound like you. But, she's been telling a lot of other agents that, so I've had a bunch of people in my office today saying that they heard this through the grapevine."
I explained that nothing could be further from the truth. I'm sure she believed me; I'm a terrible liar and I'm sure my incredulous expression told the whole story.
You know, I can understand, to a point, people who lie and misuse my good name to cover their tracks. I've had people try to get me fired for being a racist (I'm not), or for "harassing" them for various reasons or no reason, because I had gotten them in trouble with their supervisors or asked them to pretty please get back to work. This happens on a pretty regular basis to all of the supervisors who have, you know, a freaking spine
, and don't just look the other way when people are acting like absolute fucking animals. Lying about me, in these situations, has a reason and a personal area of gain -- you're trying to save your job. It's still downright wrong to try to put my job in jeopardy (even though they fail miserably) to do it, but at least it has a point.
Lying about this situation had absolutely no point, and nothing to gain. It was just mean-spirited. I keep reviewing the situation in my mind, many months after the rep left the company (for unrelated reasons), and wondering, "What could I have done differently?" and "What did I do to make her want to hurt me?" I've never been able to figure it out. Did I do something else to anger her? Or did the low blood sugar make it so she didn't perceive my concern for her?
Maybe it's simpler. Maybe I'm overanalyzing. Maybe just was just a fucking nutball and there was no reason. Maybe it wasn't me; maybe it was her.
Whatever. She's gone, I'm here, and part of me just thinks, nice fucking try, baby
The other part of me shrivels away a little bit more every time.