Author Topic: When someone is just really bad at their job-making a complaint  (Read 6359 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

AllTheThings

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 242
When someone is just really bad at their job-making a complaint
« on: November 30, 2012, 11:25:20 PM »
I'm wondering what you can possibly say to someone who has utterly failed at doing their job, while still remaining polite.

Background: my best friend, Janet, and I wanted to move into the upperclassmen apartments at our college. We needed to others to live in the apartment with us, so Janet invited Rita, a classmate, and I invited Paula, who was quickly becoming a new friend of mine. Rita ended up being okay, but Paula ended being horrible. She suspect that either she was jealous of my friendship with Janet, or that she sensed that Janet had bad self esteem problems and wouldn't fight back, so she started off making small comments to her when Rita and I weren't around to tear her down. It escalated, and Paula would outright bully Janet when they were alone. I found this out about all of this when Paula went too far and broke Janet's picture frame. In hindsight, what I had just learned explained a lot of Janet's odd behavior, and I felt terrible at not noticing that anything was wrong.

Rita and I told Paula we wanted her to leave the apartment as she had purposely created such a hostile situation. Unfortunately, she refused to leave, and as we could not actually make her leave, we contacted the Housing Department, and went for an appointment with the new assistant director.

The problem I have is with the way this woman handled this situation. I understand that she has to listen to everyone's side of the story, but even after seeing the evidence, including text messages and the broken picture frame, she still seemed convinced that this was just some silly dispute and that if we looked deep inside ourselves, the four of us would find that we really loved each other  ::) She clearly believed Paula when she said that the frame must have fallen off the wall on its own, even though I pointed out the foot-shaped dent in it. I'm no crime scene investigator, but come on. She just said, "It could have gotten like that from falling, anything is possible." She finished the session with crappy advice about how we should all try to be more understanding of one another, and even tried to get Paula and Janet to hug! (she relented when it was clear they absolutely did not want to hug each other). Even if it had been just some silly fight where both parties were in the wrong, that is still completely inappropriate. I know she is supposed to be impartial, but she seemed determined to ignore everything and act as if this was just a silly, easily solved problem.

The Paula problem got better, as she moved out on her own, due to a combination of me refusing to hang out with her, as well as Rita, Janet, and I refusing to share any of our stuff with her. She got that I was serious about that when I took the TV remote from her and told her to get off my chair and sit on the couch that belonged to the apartment.

I am still bothered by how this was handled, and I want to send a complaint to the assistant director, as well as the head director. I'd like to basically say:

Dear Assistant Director,
I am very displeased about how you handled my situation. Either never do that again, or else find a job that doesn't involve helping others.
Sincerely,
Me
PS: Your grasp of physics is horrendous.


Only, not stupid  ;)




Deetee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5735
Re: When someone is just really bad at their job-making a complaint
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2012, 11:48:05 PM »
Like all complaint letters you lay out in detail what happened and what you think should have happened.

In this case, it would depend on the actual options available, but I would not expect one person to be removed from a housing situation because the other three did not like her. Once you have a legal right to live somewhere, it is generally difficult to be removed.

AllTheThings

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 242
Re: When someone is just really bad at their job-making a complaint
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2012, 11:54:46 PM »
Like all complaint letters you lay out in detail what happened and what you think should have happened.

In this case, it would depend on the actual options available, but I would not expect one person to be removed from a housing situation because the other three did not like her. Once you have a legal right to live somewhere, it is generally difficult to be removed.

Student housing is different than regular housing, I've seen people be moved for stuff like this, especially since she broke her stuff. Maybe at this particular time she couldn't have been moved, but she wasn't even given some kind of warning. We weren't taken seriously. This wasn't just a matter of us just not liking her, Paula verbally abused Janet.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2012, 12:24:15 AM by AllTheThings »

AliciaLynette

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 64
Re: When someone is just really bad at their job-making a complaint
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2012, 05:33:58 AM »
Honestly, in this case, I'd make sure that the letter included all the facts along with something like 'When we spoke to you about this harassment by Paula of Janet, your attitude was incomprehensible since you appeared to ignore the clear bullying and property destruction and thus made us all uncomfortable with your handling of the situation.  Please could you explain to me exactly why you insisted that Paula's behaviour towards Janet was not a problem, and precisely how Paula and Janet (not to mention myself and Rita) were supposed to live together for the rest of the semester/year without further problems.  Furthermore, why was Paula not given a warning regarding her behaviour, since that was why we had the meeting with you?'

And make sure that the head director is aware, and gets a copy of any correspondence if the assistant director doesn't accept her errors.

Good luck!
Children are natural mimics; they act like their parents in spite of every effort to teach them good manners.
Author Unknown

camlan

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8727
Re: When someone is just really bad at their job-making a complaint
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2012, 07:58:01 AM »
Honestly, in this case, I'd make sure that the letter included all the facts along with something like 'When we spoke to you about this harassment by Paula of Janet, your attitude was incomprehensible since you appeared to ignore the clear bullying and property destruction and thus made us all uncomfortable with your handling of the situation.  Please could you explain to me exactly why you insisted that Paula's behaviour towards Janet was not a problem, and precisely how Paula and Janet (not to mention myself and Rita) were supposed to live together for the rest of the semester/year without further problems.  Furthermore, why was Paula not given a warning regarding her behaviour, since that was why we had the meeting with you?'

And make sure that the head director is aware, and gets a copy of any correspondence if the assistant director doesn't accept her errors.

Good luck!

This.

I know that at some schools, the protocol is that at first, the students who aren't getting along as roommates are told to make it work. The administration simply doesn't split up roommates until they have given the situation a "good try."

It's not a policy I agree with. It was applied to me and a roommate who was not of my choosing. And try as I might, we did not get along. The situation ended very badly, and the college ended up changing the "Must try to get the roommates to get along at all costs before switching them," policy quite abruptly.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


sweetonsno

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1425
Re: When someone is just really bad at their job-making a complaint
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2012, 04:44:05 AM »
I agree with camlan. Are you absolutely sure that the university does not have a policy that requires people to attempt mediation before forcing someone to move? I don't think it would be fair to complain that this person is bad at her job if the problem is a bad policy. I realize that Paula was nasty to Janet, but that doesn't change the fact that the school may have narrower criteria for moving someone, especially if they had limited space in housing. It might not be the assistant director's choice to try and talk it out first. It might be that she HAS to absent physical assault or other illegal activities.

Either way, I don't think you should write a letter to the assistant director telling her she's bad at her job. I think you should write to the head director. As AliciaLynette said, you should focus on the facts. If you can find the student code of conduct in the handbook and/or the housing policy, re-read it. If those documents explain the process for filing a complaint against a roommate, and that policy was not followed, say so. If policy was followed, then explain why the policy should be changed.

Tea Drinker

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1477
  • Now part of Team Land Crab
Re: When someone is just really bad at their job-making a complaint
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2012, 09:33:01 AM »
I agree with camlan. Are you absolutely sure that the university does not have a policy that requires people to attempt mediation before forcing someone to move? I don't think it would be fair to complain that this person is bad at her job if the problem is a bad policy. I realize that Paula was nasty to Janet, but that doesn't change the fact that the school may have narrower criteria for moving someone, especially if they had limited space in housing. It might not be the assistant director's choice to try and talk it out first. It might be that she HAS to absent physical assault or other illegal activities.

Policy may be to ask students to talk it out first; I doubt it includes "ignore what the complainant says, and tell her to hug the other person at the end even if it's clear they haven't resolved things."

Genuinely wanted hugs are excellent. For some people, hugs with someone we don't know well can be welcome. Being told to hug someone you're angry with, after being denied what you asked for, is very different.
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

AllTheThings

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 242
Re: When someone is just really bad at their job-making a complaint
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2012, 03:23:32 PM »
I agree with camlan. Are you absolutely sure that the university does not have a policy that requires people to attempt mediation before forcing someone to move? I don't think it would be fair to complain that this person is bad at her job if the problem is a bad policy. I realize that Paula was nasty to Janet, but that doesn't change the fact that the school may have narrower criteria for moving someone, especially if they had limited space in housing. It might not be the assistant director's choice to try and talk it out first. It might be that she HAS to absent physical assault or other illegal activities.

Either way, I don't think you should write a letter to the assistant director telling her she's bad at her job. I think you should write to the head director. As AliciaLynette said, you should focus on the facts. If you can find the student code of conduct in the handbook and/or the housing policy, re-read it. If those documents explain the process for filing a complaint against a roommate, and that policy was not followed, say so. If policy was followed, then explain why the policy should be changed.

It is policy to attempt mediation, but the point is the mediation was handled horribly. I don't see any reason why Paula couldn't have been moved, as they have moved people for harassment before, and I know for a fact that housing isn't full. Even so, I would understand if for some reason the assistant director either couldn't or didn't want to move Paula at the time, but I don't there is any excuse for ignoring all the problems that we brought up. She should have at least given Paula a warning or told her that her behavior wouldn't be tolerated, but she acted as if this whole thing was just a big misunderstanding, and that we could all be friends again, which is unrealistic and ridiculous.

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I think I will send a message to the assistant, and copy it to the director. The most important thing to me is that Paula is out of the apartment. She only tried to talk to me once after she moved out, but I was so unpleasant that I doubt she will try again. I would still like to bring up my concerns so that I could possibly help out someone who can't be as big of a jerk as I was to get the bad roommate to move out on their own.

rashea

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9701
Re: When someone is just really bad at their job-making a complaint
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2012, 11:07:33 AM »
I think you write it like this:

Assistant,

I want to address frustration with the mediation process I and my roommates went through on <date>. While I fully support the idea of mediation as a way to solve problems in roommate relationships, in this case it was unsuccessful and poorly handled.

I'm concerned that physical evidence of bullying was brushed aside and excused. Particularly in light of the text messages and broken frame that clearly showed evidence of being kicked, it seemed to make the situation worse. The advice seemed to boil down to "play nice and get along" which might be appropriate in some situations, but in this case we were hoping the school would offer some real support in stopping the bullying.

I'd like to work with you to discuss how best to recognize and react when bullying is present in these situations.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

Vermont

Giggity

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8622
Re: When someone is just really bad at their job-making a complaint
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2012, 11:58:28 AM »
We weren't taken seriously. This wasn't just a matter of us just not liking her, Paula verbally abused Janet.

Abuse is a pretty strong word to throw around.

Also, one person's "verbal abuse" is another person's "she talked mean to me."
Words mean things.

CaptainObvious

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 236
Re: When someone is just really bad at their job-making a complaint
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2012, 12:13:24 PM »
I'm assuming that this woman gets numerous complaints concerning room-mate issues. I can see why they would want you to try to work it out. Maybe it would have been different if Paula had wanted to move too, but she didn't. They are put in a position of removing someone who doesn't want to leave, so of course their first response is to "work on it".

rashea

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9701
Re: When someone is just really bad at their job-making a complaint
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2012, 12:46:16 PM »
I'm assuming that this woman gets numerous complaints concerning room-mate issues. I can see why they would want you to try to work it out. Maybe it would have been different if Paula had wanted to move too, but she didn't. They are put in a position of removing someone who doesn't want to leave, so of course their first response is to "work on it".

True, but it seems they might need more training on knowing whether something has crossed into bullying versus just not getting along.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

Vermont

CaptainObvious

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 236
Re: When someone is just really bad at their job-making a complaint
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2012, 02:11:32 PM »
I'm assuming that this woman gets numerous complaints concerning room-mate issues. I can see why they would want you to try to work it out. Maybe it would have been different if Paula had wanted to move too, but she didn't. They are put in a position of removing someone who doesn't want to leave, so of course their first response is to "work on it".

True, but it seems they might need more training on knowing whether something has crossed into bullying versus just not getting along.

It is very possible that she didn't feel this was a case of "bullying". We only have one side of the story and have no idea what "guidelines" they are required to follow.

rashea

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9701
Re: When someone is just really bad at their job-making a complaint
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2012, 02:16:10 PM »
I'm assuming that this woman gets numerous complaints concerning room-mate issues. I can see why they would want you to try to work it out. Maybe it would have been different if Paula had wanted to move too, but she didn't. They are put in a position of removing someone who doesn't want to leave, so of course their first response is to "work on it".

True, but it seems they might need more training on knowing whether something has crossed into bullying versus just not getting along.

It is very possible that she didn't feel this was a case of "bullying". We only have one side of the story and have no idea what "guidelines" they are required to follow.

True, but it seems that the OP thinks that this person didn't make that distinction, and I would argue that none of my mediation experience leads me to think that having two people who are still at odds hug each other at the end is a good idea. It seems to me that the OP should ask how they handle that distinction and what the guidelines are.

But, OP, I'll tell you now that if you're not willing to put some time into this, you might as well let it go.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

Vermont

Cat-Fu

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 523
  • My cat is a ninja
Re: When someone is just really bad at their job-making a complaint
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2012, 04:15:35 PM »
I used to work in ResLife, and you would not believe how frequently roommate mediations are required for roommates who aren't getting along simply because they won't communicate with each other. It gets old, and you can get burnt out pretty fast. You might also be surprised at the high number of manufactured incidences like the broken frame. I wouldn't have taken the frame as evidence, personally. There's no way to prove whose foot broke it. Texts are another matter, and it is worrisome that they weren't taken seriously. I do have to wonder what could have possibly been floating through the assistant director's head to think that *hugs* were in any way appropriate, though. That's just ridiculous.

I would *not* approach this as "the AD isn't doing her job" (since there is most likely way more to the job than mediations), but to express that you were not satisfied with how it was handled, especially regarding the texts & hug thing. However I would try and keep in mind that most likely you are already not looking very good to the housing department, either, assuming that Paula went through the school to finally move out. (I am assuming that she would have brought up that she was being basically shunned.)
“Poetry is a sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it.” PBS