Making It Very Loud And Clear

, , , , , , | Working | April 20, 2018

(I am house-sitting for my uncle while he is recovering from brain surgery, making my commute to work in downtown about 45 minutes through morning traffic. My job as a morning receptionist requires me to open the office doors at seven so that people can come in and get themselves settled in the space. This particular week, we are hosting a group of people who expect the doors to be open promptly at seven, and for the most part I have been on time, if not a few minutes early. On this day, however, I am less than five minutes late to open the doors.)

Me: “Good morning, everyone! Sorry about that. Thank you for being patient.”

Coordinator: *to someone else* “Wow, she’s really pushing her arrival time.”

(I hear this and am a little annoyed, but I ignore her and go about opening the office and getting the morning started. About an hour later, my manager comes in and greets me and everyone else, then heads to his office to get started on his work. At some point the coordinator must speak to him about me being late, because then this happens:)

Manager: “Hey, can I talk to you about something?”

Me: “Yeah, what’s up?”

Manager: “Look. I know you’re watching your uncle’s house and everything while he’s still in the hospital, but I really need you to be here on time. These guys want the doors open at seven, so you need to be here at seven. Again, I know you’re helping your uncle out after his surgery, but please be on time.”

Me: “Okay, I will be.”

(This entire conversation takes place at my desk, at the front of the office, with this entire group in hearing distance, and my manager does not have a quiet voice. I am embarrassed, angry, and confused as to why this conversation wasn’t more private, but I decide to bring it up to him after I’ve cooled off a bit.)

Me: *later* “Hey, [Manager]. Can I—”

Manager: *he stops me* “Hang on. Let me explain. I’m sorry I had to do that right then, but I have a good reason, I swear! That coordinator came over to complain to me that you were late this morning, but it was obvious that it was only by a few minutes, and she was acting like it was the end of the freakin’ world. It really got to me, and I know what you’ve been going through recently, and I just wanted to get them off your back. She was close to your desk getting coffee, and I wanted her to hear, but I’m still sorry.”

Me: *stunned*

Manager: “Yeah, it really bothered me.”

Me: “Yeah, I guess so. Okay, well, I was upset by that, but now that I know what you were doing, I’m not mad anymore! Thanks for doing that.”

Manager: “Great! Let me know if she keeps giving you a hard time.”

(The coordinator was more pleasant with me after that, and it was great knowing that my manager is looking out for me. Also, my uncle has recovered amazingly well.)

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