The other assistant, who has been doing this job for over 30 years, decided to semi-retire. She is two days a week, I work the other three. I stepped on her toes and she abhors me. I cleaned, organized and moved things...HER things. Staplers, paper, supplies, oh my!
She has complained about me twice to the media center specialist and threatened to go to the principal with her complaints. I think she did actually.
When I was a legal secretary (a long time ago), one of the secretary's had some sort of breakdown. She wouldn't talk to me. When I asked her what I had done, she told me it wasn't me, it was her. Then she said, "No, it is you." But the specifics she gave me were things like she didn't like the way my shoes sounded on the floor mat. Ummm....okay.
I dealt with her hating me for three years. I finally quit. It was hard to take her change toward me because we had been friends. We had gone on vacations together. It hurt my heart to know that my just existing caused her soul to bleed.
After I quit, I found out that three years before, when she had stopped being kind to me, her husband had moved his girlfriend into their camper in their driveway. I was the person she took all her anger out on.
Well, I have never been "friends" with this lady at work. Her loathing me does not hurt my heart or soul. It is a bit annoying. I have heard a bit about her work history and not getting along with others. So I am not the first person she has had issues with.
I wrote her an email. It follows:
I am probably not the person you wanted hired into the second media center assistant position. I have done things that have made you feel that your toes were stepped on and your space invaded. I want to apologize for what I have done to make you loathe me. However, I don't think that will change the way you feel about me and I know that apologies with caveats are not true apologies. So I will just explain my actions to you.
I needed to know what supplies we had and where they were located. That led me to cleaning and organizing the copy room. As I was making copies, I realized that there were items that were needed for my convenience and the convenience of the teachers so I created an area for those items. I moved the big staplers down to a cupboard to make more room for the die cuts. I moved the paper cart to back of the wall because it was easier for me and the teachers to get at the paper with more space to stand. I made new class tags for the shelves because we have move classes that needed a space.
I did go through your “personal” files because I needed to know how to change the laminating rolls. This information was in an unmarked file in your desk drawer. As I was looking for the laminating information, I also found the information on how to copy pamphlets and brochures. This came in handy a couple of days later when one of the music teachers needed help remembering how to do this. I labeled the files because I was a legal secretary for ten years and know that it is much easier to find things if they are labeled, in order and up-to-date. But I shouldn’t have done it without your permission.
I did not put a flyer in your drawer. I don’t know who did. I have not been putting unchecked books on the shelves. I have not been asking you for a lot of training because I can feel that it hurts your soul to assist me in learning this job. When I have asked for your help, I have felt that your answers to me are very curt and dismissive.
I can understand your feelings. It is hard to let go of something you have worked with for so many years. I will try to stay out of your way and not annoy you further, but I don’t know if that will even help our relationship, as even my saying hello to you seems to irritate you.
Today we had a meeting. She got to air her grievances. She was very upset by my email. Apparently I lied about how I perceived things. She is most angry that I went through her "personal" files. I know there are three sides to every story - my side, her side and the truth. Her side says that I kept moving her files from the back of the drawer to the front. That I keep moving things in the copy room. That I threw away most of her "personal things." I did recycle some really old school information that was not pertinent to ANYTHING. She said that I threw away some jokes that she had printed. I told I did not. I remember putting them in the new file marked "Fun." She also said that she had put the laminating information on a shelf before I changed the laminating rolls. My brain still maintains that I went through the files the first time to find the laminating information (it was in her drawer) and when I organized the files I put the laminating information in a NEW file marked "Laminating." Then I put it back in her drawer. She says that I am wrong. That the laminating file was on the shelf long before I needed it. (Big sigh)
She is upset that I put out pens and paperclips for the teachers to use. "We will run out really fast. I have seen teachers take big handfuls of paperclips and put them in their pockets." Oh the horror! I told her that I can send out emails to the teachers requesting they bring in some of their paperclips. We want the media center and copy room to be useful and convenient. It is a shared space. Not a scary space.
I know I am old and my memory is not what it should be. I admit that I love to organize things. I will admit that I really enjoyed cleaning and organizing the copy room.
I have had lots of different kinds of crazy in my life. I have had the kind of crazy that puts people on anti-depressants. This kind of crazy is the one that wants to make you think you are the crazy. "Did you put that flyer in her desk and not even realize it?" "Is your memory of the events so misconstrued in your brain that you are just making up the life you think you are living?"
She is mad that I made up pads of papers that say "Laminating Requests" on them. Why can't the teachers just write on the "Copy Requests" sheets that they want things laminated? My thought is because it is a convenience and nice for the new teachers (and old) to have a specific spot for the laminating and how to put their name on the things they want laminated.
It is just going to get worse, though. I made up new "Copy Requests" sheets. She is going to hate them. The teachers who have used them really like them. Oh, well.
She does talk nicer to the teachers and students now that she has me.