I have a serious co-worker problem. We recently started working with a new case-manager for our girls and she really has it in for me. I don’t believe I have done anything to deserve her bad treatment. She looks for any little thing (and I do mean any) to tell our supervisor about me. For example, we have a cafeteria here and so the only meals we cook are breakfast and we do Sunday night supper in house. I cook and usually have 2 girls help so I can teach them something about cooking. We do not have a set time for this supper, just when I get ready and its convenient. So one night the girls were asking when supper was and the next day I get a call from our supervisor asking me about the girls not knowing when supper was!! And it has gotten a lot worse since then. I have tried talking to her and it hasn’t made a bit of difference. I have worked here for 10 years and my reputation as a housemom is solid, but I was recently told by another co-worker that she is telling the supervisor everything and my supervisor is developing a bad opinion of me. I am at my wits end!! I am seriously depressed about this and I have no idea where to go from here. Nothing I say to her is going to change this. I have to work with her every day. She is frequently over to the cottage and I know she’s not going to change. I can’t trust her so I say nothing to her and I’m afraid it will affect the girls. It has added a lot of stress to my already stressful life. I am ready to call it quits. Please , Help!!!
I have always believed the reason turnover is so high in any youth ministry, whether it is at a church or group home is because of adults and coworkers. Every adult has their own interpretation of what a parent should be and how a house should run. When you have people that are passionate about the ministry they do and strong opinions of how it should be done, tempers will flare. Having a standard program across campus that is fair and consistent will help keep most tempers from running hot.
And then there is the flip side. There truly are some insane individuals that make a living out of being incompetent child care providers. Actually every occupation has its bad apples. The only way to survive the incompetent fools that haunt the ranks is to marginalize those individuals as much as possible and go about your ministry.
I have a serious co-worker problem. We recently started working with a new case-manager for our girls and she really has it in for me. I don’t believe I have done anything to deserve her bad treatment. She looks for any little thing (and I do mean any) to tell our supervisor about me. For example, we have a cafeteria here and so the only meals we cook are breakfast and we do Sunday night supper in house. I cook and usually have 2 girls help so I can teach them something about cooking. We do not have a set time for this supper, just when I get ready and its convenient. So one night the girls were asking when supper was and the next day I get a call from our supervisor asking me about the girls not knowing when supper was!!
Without knowing more about the specifics, there are three ways to go on this:
(1) This case manger is a witch.
(2) You may have a problem accepting professional feedback.
(3) It may be an issue of both 1 and 2.
To give you a real life example-
When we worked in Georgia I loved working outside doing yard work and cutting wood. I was very dedicated to the ranch and wanted to help any way that I could. However- I would finish up with working on whatever project I was doing, throw the gas can in the garage and go pick the boys up from school.
The boys would sneak out to the garage and huff gas because I almost always forgot I did not lock up the cans. After being told by my supervisor in very clear language during a visit one day that I needed to get my act together and start being more attentive in my actions, I became very upset. After all, I was doing a great service to the ranch by doing extra things around the place (So I thought). The truth is, he was right- I was wrong, and not thinking like a professional HP that can accept the fact I was wrong and needed to tighten up my game. Looking back on it now, I should have at the very least been written up if not fired for the repeated incidents. Thankfully I just got a butt chewing from him and my wife walked around for the next month calling me an idiot every time I even looked at a lawn mower.
Having a flexible schedule in no way compares to my negligence as a HP, but the case manager may be trying to give you feed back in being more consistent with your schedule. OR; If there is no set time for dinner in your house, the rest of your facility is running on that same principle and your case manager is only getting on your butt, it is possible she may belong to the incompetent fools group mentioned above.
I have tried talking to her and it hasn’t made a bit of difference. I have worked here for 10 years and my reputation as a housemom is solid, but I was recently told by another co-worker that she is telling the supervisor everything and my supervisor is developing a bad opinion of me.
After ten years of ministry in a field where people start thinking of a career change after the first six months is amazing. You are truly a rare gem and called to serve. Sit down with the supervisor and have an open and honest discussion about how you feel and what your side of the story is. If they are not willing to have a serious sit down and talk with you about issues that are clearly hindering you from enjoying life, you are at the wrong facility. Get out and get out now. With ten years worth of HP experience and using your network, you will find a place that will value and cherish you.
As for the co-worker- You have more to fear from her than you probably do the case manager. If this co-worker works the admin side of the house is telling you any business or conversations of that nature going on in the office they are at the very least unprofessional. If it’s another HP that is telling you this, ask yourself where they are getting the info? What possible reason would they have to tell you your supervisor has a bad opinion of you?
We all know HP’s that struggle in some areas. But of what use is it to walk up to them and say, “Hey Marsha, everyone’s talking about how much you suck”. This is just not cool or acceptable on any level of professional or personal development. Be very careful with that individual or any others that keep the rumor mills working overtime.
Nothing I say to her is going to change this. I have to work with her every day. She is frequently over to the cottage and I know she not going to change. I can’t trust her so I say nothing to her and I’m afraid it will affect the girls.
One of the great things about being professional is that you don’t have to be nice, just- professional. If what this case manager is doing is adversely affecting the girls, you have a responsibility to let this case manager know in a tactful way that she is off her rocker. If the problem persists you go to the next one in the chain of command. Keep in mind you will also receive feedback from most if not all individuals you talk with. How you react and how well you control your emotions and respond with professional courtesy will reflect greatly on which side of the argument they lean towards. If the case manager is a loon, give it time, she will eventually do herself in. As long as you are in control of your speech, and body language, most people will listen; and at least be able to identify in part with your cause.
If after all that and no one seems to care or show any interest in resolving the issue, is it really some place you want to be? I view my time on earth as short and the mission God has given all of us as very large. I don’t have time to be wasting on petty games that some people in this field play. Our mission is as real as it gets and we are the front line troops. I have ran across some horrible therapists, case workers, supervisors and psychologists. But most I have worked with have been the greatest human beings I have ever met. The reason most people I work with are a joy is because I refuse to deal with anything less. If the facility I work at now becomes a cesspool of futility and poor leadership, I’m out of here and going to a place the Lord has made ready for being serious about taking care of kids. I won’t even lose sleep over it.
It has added a lot of stress to my already stressful life. I am ready to call it quits. Please , Help!!!
I know how to solve this one!!!
Get yourself a motorcycle and ride on over to South Carolina. We will all go out for Mexican and get tattoos. At the very least you will be a lot more intimidating to your case manager. Kinda unlikely she will mess with you if she thinks you belong to some kinda House Parent motorcycle gang.
conniejean – The first thing that popped into my head when I read your post was Matthew 5:44 where Jesus said: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Launchpad has provided a well thought-out response that deals with most of the person to person dynamics. But I wanted to be sure and include a scriptural consideration also. This one may be the most difficult of them all.
Launchpad – can’t we think of something tougher-sounding than the “House Parent motorcycle gang”? I just can’t see that in a tatoo!!
How about DPU (Dysfunctional Parental Units).
We could have a picture of a kid with a bloody nose and black eye for our colors. That will have to scare somebody! (Like my boss).
Thank you so much for the feed back…I really appreciate the support. And the thing about the motorcycle and tattoo cracked me up…I LOL’d. I also needed the reminder to love her. I have spent time in prayer asking God to help me have a sweet spirit about this. I don’t want to become bitter and hateful because of this. I have always been one to try my hardest to accept feedback from others. We don’t have to have a set time for Sunday suppers so it was ok that the girls didn’t know exactly when it would be. I guess I just wish that she had come to me first, ya know? Just pray that I do what God would have me do in this situation. And I would love to come eat Mexican food and get a big tattoo LOL. We have a great little Mexican place here and its the best place in town to eat. Every time we go we see people from here eating there! Well anyway, thanks again!!