In my last post I wrote about conflict. You can find it here if you want to catch up before reading this post.
I mentioned in the last post about attempting to confront, starting to confront a boss about not getting paid for a visit to walk a dog when I was pet sitting as an employee.
When I first started the job, I was briefed about policies by the owner, who was quite personable and I liked her a lot from the start. My schedule was emailed to me every Sunday night and she started me out slowly so I wasn’t overwhelmed and inundated. She seemed fair.
One policy was that if she’d put a visit on my schedule but I’d reached the destination without cancellation from the client and if the client decided they didn’t want me to walk the dog, I’d still get paid for that visit.
Well, one particular time while I was training a new employee, I met said employee at a fairly regular client’s house who was on my schedule. The client was home, so this was a chance for the new employee to not only meet the dog, but also the human client.
When I asked if she wanted us to take her dog for a walk, she said it was too hot. So shortly thereafter, the new employee and I were on our way.
When I received my pay, which should have included that visit, the money for said visit was missing.
So I asked my boss about it through email.
She wrote back asking, “Why should you get paid for that?” And then she continued with “Just curious. Just curious. Just curious.”
Writing “Just curious” three times indicated to me she was agitated and probably felt that I was asking for something I had no right to be asking about.
I was confused. I immediately felt the stress from the fear of her response to my confrontation, building up. I didn’t understand at all why the sudden change in policy or her behavior. How was this different than other similar circumstances where she’d indeed followed through and paid me.
So I backed down. I told her too, foolishly, kissing her ass, that I didn’t want to get into it if it was going to cause trouble. AAAAAGHHHH!!!
I ruminated on this for a long time. The rumination I think is one of the most painful results of non-resolution. Even if she hadn’t given in to paying me (and I think I could’ve gotten her to, since I had a valid argument), if I had stuck up for myself and what I knew to be true and pointed out her own policy, even if I’d lost, I would’ve felt much better about me.
It’s not so much the outcome, although that’s important too, it’s more about how you walk away from it feeling about yourself I think. If I had stuck up for myself in this scenario, I would have still thought less of her and disliked her more. It would’ve told me more about her, while at the same time, I would’ve gotten the message across to both myself and her that I have no problem rocking the proverbial boat and that I will still say my piece in spite of any intimidation or contention.
A history of not standing up for myself in many situations has resulted in depression, rumination and lack of self confidence. In addition, those people who I backed down to, saw I would do just that, which gave them an easier opening to take advantage next time.
Of course the lack of self confidence was already there but that is a vicious cycle. It gets worse the more you don’t deal with conflict in a healthy way.
It has also chipped away at my self-respect, which is something else that was already absent in the first place to not stand up to conflict.