Personality and the Workplace
I prefer to discuss a situation at a previous employment as opposed to anything that may be a current situation. I will, therefore, set the stage, so to speak. The company is a small business that deals with commercial real estate management. The company is well on the way to becoming well known industry wide and soon after I began working with this company, they merged with several others, thereby forming an almost nationwide corporation.
When I was hired at this company, it was because of who I knew and not because I interviewed for the position. I was living in another state and, when hired, I only had two weeks to pack myself and move to Atlanta. Although I was not at all familiar with the commercial real estate arena, I did study hard to learn what everything was and how it all related. Just as an interjection here, let me also note that this was while I was very sick; before I had been diagnosed and begun treatment for my Rheumatoid Arthritis. As difficult as it was, I still managed to get to work on time every day and get my job done with minimal errors.
My supervisor was a woman who was close to me in age but I believe this was her first experience at being a supervisor. A first experience as a supervisor is tough, indeed, but let us add one more problem. She was of Cuban descent and, although she had lived in the United States for quite a few years, still had a very heavy accent. Sometimes this made it difficult for me to understand what she wanted me to do, especially when she used literal translations for some of the Spanish terminology. After a while, she began to get annoyed when I asked for clarification of what she was saying and it became a problem between us. Since I was always in such pain, I probably exaggerated the issue more than I should have and she did not seem to have or want to have any understanding of my situation. We therefore, did not have a very good relationship.
About the time this situation was about to explode, the company owner announced the business merger. We were to move the offices to a much larger building on the other side of Atlanta and everyone would be reassigned to different positions. This was my salvation, or so I thought. We were still in the same department but she was no longer my supervisor. Packing and unpacking the whole office was quite a task. We managed to get the whole office moved, set back up, and operational over one weekend. Of course, it was not functioning at optimal capacity but we were still able to continue with the normal daily business. The merging of three companies created much confusion and, since we had increased the number of staff and required more space, we utilized two floors of the building. This now put me on a different floor entirely. Gradually employees who transitioned into the new company began to leave for jobs elsewhere, and with my previous supervisor being one of them, I returned to my previous department and position. I remained there until I left for the job I am currently doing.
From what I was able to learn about her lifestyle as a child and as an adult up to that point, it appeared her father was a very domineering person. Without regard for her feelings or the position in which he placed her, her father coerced her into allowing him to use her home for clandestine meetings. This knowledge placed a tremendous burden on her and she was an emotional time bomb when her mother was nearby. This placed undue stress on her and caused her to have very limited patience and understanding with others. Because she was so stressed, it was impossible for her to give her best effort in a supervisory capacity so we both suffered. The company should also have provided her with some training as a supervisor so she would have some ground rules on handling certain situations. The combination of her stress level, my illness, and the lack of training by the company caused the situation to balloon instead of being resolved.