Hostile co-worker.

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Hostile co-worker.

Postby Elliemare on Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:05 am

I've been employed at a day spa for a few months now and its an okay part time job. The owner of the spa has her 70 year old mother working there. The mother has always given me a hard time, since day one. Since I started, this woman has been short with me, rude, condescending, insulting and just plain mean.

I thought I was the only person who had issues with the mother... not so. I recently found out EVERYONE has had issues with this woman. Four staffers were fired because they had problems with her. The more serious issues with the woman are her unprofessional appearance, her unprofessional behavior around clients and her downright uncivilized and hostile treatment of her co-workers. I was told that the owner is aware of the problems, but she's "torn" as to how to handle the matter. Meanwhile, the situation just gets worse. Mom blows everything out of proportion, making simple administrative tasks 1000x's more complicated than they need be. And don't you dare suggest a sensible and practical way of doing things or you will never hear the end of it!! Don't question mother!

I'm starting to discover that I'm working in a pretty hostile environment. I'm doing my best to cope with it, but I can honestly say that in my 20 years in the workforce, I have never in my life encountered a person like this. If this woman were employed by anyone else, she'd have been fired long ago. I try to avoid her in order to avoid the drama, but that doesn't always work. If I make a mistake at the front desk because I missed one of the "One thousand steps to checking out a credit card client" I get the wrath of mom down upon me!

If previous employees were fired due to their issues with the mother, I can't really broach the subject in any capacity can I? The situation this woman is causing is affecting business and the impression we make upon our clients, not to mention the morale of the employees. The owner should realize that. I don't know what to do? Grin and bear it, speak up and possibly get fired or cause even more tension with mom? I just don't know how to handle this one. I've truely never met an individual like this in my life and I don't know how to deal with her?
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Re: Hostile co-worker.

Postby MarionFM on Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:58 am

You said you were going to retire on Jan 1, so at least you only have to stick it out for less than a month now. One can handle anything for a month!!

Just suck it up and avoid her as much as you can. You will not win.
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Re: Hostile co-worker.

Postby Elliemare on Sat Dec 03, 2011 3:30 pm

MarionFM wrote:You said you were going to retire on Jan 1, so at least you only have to stick it out for less than a month now. One can handle anything for a month!!

Just suck it up and avoid her as much as you can. You will not win.


I was going to retire January 1, but I'm having a change of heart. I could certainly stick it out for a month or more if I knew I was leaving at some point. Since I've set new boundaries for myself and I'm feeling a lot more confident these days, I'm finding I'm not as burnt out as I once thought. I want to stick with massage on a part time basis, just as a job, not my life or my career. I was hoping this spa could be that part time job, but with the hostility, I'm just not so sure?
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Re: Hostile co-worker.

Postby TouchofGrace on Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:34 am

Well, Ellie... That is a decision you will have to make for yourself. You swallow it, accepting 'the Mom' as part of what you will have to deal with at work, or you leave...
~Sandra

Worry doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow...it empties today of its strength
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Re: Hostile co-worker.

Postby pueppi on Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:26 am

I agree with riversinger - "You swallow it, accepting 'the Mom' as part of what you will have to deal with at work, or you leave..."

Here's why:

1.) "Mother" isn't likely to change at this point in her life and she isn't working for anyone else.

  • Rather the daughter is "torn" about the issue or not, this has been going on for a long time and it's obvious that "mother" has some real pull in the business (4 people were fired who couldn't get along with her). You probably won't be the winner in this situation.
  • We don't know if "mother" loaned the daughter money to get the business going or if the daughter feels like she owes "mother" something.
  • We certainly have no idea of the life-long family dynamics.


2.) If you need the job, the best advice I can give, is be nice to "mother".

  • Be prepared that you may never get her to be nice to you.
  • It seems that the business is doing well enough that they are able to hire employee's/IC's, so they probably have no real reason to change.
  • If you feel your community and the clients who come to the business would like things done in a more professional manner (which they may not, since the business you work at seems to be moving forward anyway), then you could always re-visit the idea of putting time into establishing your private practice and running it in a way you see fit.
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Re: Hostile co-worker.

Postby Elliemare on Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:58 am

So far I've been nice to mother, but I've decided not to over-do it. Trying to kill her with kindness only backfires and makes me look like a push-over and then mother just tries to manipulate me into doing her work for her (while she's the one on the clock getting paid for it!)

For the time being, I'm avoiding her as much as possible. It seems to be working. When she is in a bad mood or is rude or mean to me, I just walk away. And I make it very clear that I am exiting the situation and removing myself from her negative energy. I've even bolted out of the room when she's begun talking in that tone of hers.

She seems to be getting the message. If I say nothing in retaliation to her hostility, remove myself from the situation, then mother is left standing there all alone with her anger and hostility. It only bounces back on her and she's left to deal with it alone. So far, its worked for me. We'll see how it goes for now!
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