I work alone in the summer. An irate client scared me on the phone so badly I had to call 911. Then he called to say he was coming in to the office. I told him not to because I had already called the police. He showed up anyways. First he apologized for swearing at me and then proceeded to become enraged again. He then left to scream at the preparer – at the courthouse where she is an attorney! She and I were terrified. Then the guy went to our main office and my boss told the cops she didn’t need them, called me back said eveything was fine, it was no problem for her and told me to just forget about him.
I talked with my friend last night. She has a permit to carry concealed and she put her gun back in her car. ( I know! Crazy! But I guess this is fairly standard when you prosecute dangerous criminals.) Her husband took things very seriously. In a world where she works with the worst cases she was scared of this guy. We both felt the warning go off in our gut. We both recognized irrational behavior and how dangerous it is.
My boss on the other hand, is very flat with her feelings. She showed almost no emotion when her parents died. The staff problems do not impact her. We know this is just who she is.
I don’t know if I can continue to work for her. To have my fears so diminished. To no longer feel safe at work.
Today I will be home. My friend has to go back to prosecuting the bad guys. We are both scared.
Had my friend not shared the same feelings as me nor been willing to talk honestly about them I would have been drinking last night. I would have seen my bosses reaction and questioned my own reaction. Sobriety has me looking at my support system differently.
I now look for the right kind of people who support me. People who understand that it isn’t just – “well, just don’t drink if you have a problem.” Or ” just have one glass.”
If my boss doesn’t understand that warning feeling in the gut, I can’t look to her as the correct answer for my feelings. I can’t convince her. I can’t give her 300 examples of why it is different for me. If you haven’t truly felt….. addiction….or fear from an attack….or a warning in your gut….it is extremely hard to be empathic.
My best support comes from shared experiences. My friend and I will continue to talk and process our way through this. My boss may lose two wonderful employees who don’t appreciate having our feelings dismissed.
My boss now has him coming back in to work with her which means I may have to work with him if she’s not there. I don’t think so.
My fantasy ending – she should tell him that he disrespected and scared her staff. He is no longer welcome as a client.