Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Labyrinth of Relationships: The Attitude of Entitlement

People are so self serving. I too, am probably guilty of this in some circumstances, to some degree. The degree to which I always find this demonstrated however, is as an extreme example, usually due to some person's failure to perform properly due to some set standard; whether in society, culture, or by rule or law; but always according to some self-centered reason. In such circumstances, there is usually a deceptive practice that is being covered up that is the catalyst for this behavior; which is often displayed in an attitude of superiority and entitlement.

The four examples I am presenting in no particular order, all happened  at one of three locations on my job; but some instances were of direct and indirect actions against both myself and others. As one of my co-workers later said to me after the most recent incident, "I don't want to see an attitude of entitlement, unless you are actually entitled."

In the first incident, I had a client who, at the start of a 1 hour session; decided, after a sample of my massage style; to increase the session to 2 hours. At the time, I immediately excused myself to go clear it with the receptionist, as I am in the practice of making sure that the time is available first, prior to notifying a client that this is ok to do.

The receptionist was fairly new, so that might have excused her behavior, but that fact didn't save her for another reason. It was incumbent upon her to check the book when I inquired about extending the time, and it did appear that she did that, prior to giving me the thumbs up. However, after I told the client that it was approved, the receptionist slipped a note under my door after the first 30 minutes of our session, to tell me that we had to cut the time back to a 90 minute session, as opposed to the 120 minute session that was preapproved. 

Finally, after the first 60 minutes, she slips another note under my door claiming that I had to stop the session altogether. At that point, I excused myself again, and came out of the room to find out what was going on, because I had adjusted my session for 2 hours, since it had been approved at the beginning, and then readjusted it after the first note had been slipped under my door, for 90 minutes. This meant then, that I was in the middle of the session, and not at a point to cleanly finish the session.

When I went to the front desk, another therapist I had never met was standing there, and the receptionist was telling me that she had made an error in approving the additional hour because this therapist was scheduled for the next shift and needed the room. I was very upset to say the least, so this therapist and another that worked there who had obviously been discussing this; turned to me and said that everyone was being inconvenienced by this, and that I could move my client into the room used for facials.

Now, its not like she was showing me any real concern. What she was doing, was trying to justify her own position, and tossing me a bone, in order to do so. Why didn't she take the room used for facials herself, since I already had my client on the table in my room,  and, as this was obviously interrupting the massage? The reason is because none of the therapists wanted to utilize that room, as it is full of equipment and there is little room to even maneuver about and around all that junk. However, it was fine in her mind, to assign that room to me per her own convenience. It was good enough, apparently, for me, but not for her.

What removed the "being a fairly new employee" excuse for the receptionist, was not only the fact that she had indeed looked at the book at the time of my request for an extension; but her attitude when I came out to object. It was like, "Oh well, I made a mistake. Tough luck! You'll just have to deal with it!" This was the attitude displayed to me in her nonchalant shrug.

What really ticked me off was that both of the therapists standing there made claims that "everyone" was being inconvenienced by this. The therapist that tossed me the bone of the facial room, claimed that she was being inconvenienced because she would be late setting up for her client; when in reality, if she had gone ahead and taken the room she was trying to assign to me, she would have been on time setting up and starting her massage. 

The other therapist, who apparently, was friends with this first one, claimed that she had told the owner about time extensions previously, because she said she sat for two hours waiting on a therapist who had extended without preapproval, and in her opinion, it shouldn't be happening at all. So she claimed inconvenience by saying it was an inconvenience to everyone.

I pointed out that I had not arbitrarily extended time without getting it approved first, and, at the very beginning of my session. Furthermore, this was not due to any error I made, but I was the person that was actually being inconvenienced here. No one else lost money due to this error, but me. 

I lost a considerable amount, because not only did I loose pay from that additional hour that I had to then cancel, because the incoming therapist selfishly refused to use the same room she wanted to assign to me; but additionally, that client had intended on not only extending that day for an additional hour, but also rebooking to see me the following week for another hour, just to work on her feet. I lost pay from that booking as well; because as a result of all of this nonsense, she never re-booked again. 

Furthermore, when the client was leaving, she told me that she had left me a tip at the front desk. When I questioned the receptionist about it, she claimed that the client had simply asked her for change, and never left a tip. So I lost my tip as well, because she acted like she had never received it. And all the while, all of these people acted like they were within their rights, and justified in all their actions.

In situation number two, at a different location, several of the therapists had begun to notice a trend among certain other therapists, who practice a particular style modality. These same therapists purchased their own special tables for their technique, and would frequently bring them to work and set them up for their use for the day. 

Since choice of rooms in this establishment is first come first serve, some of them conspired with one or two of the more immature receptionists, who play favorites. Due to this hidden agenda, they began bringing in their tables in the evening, to "set them up" for the next day. In this way, they would reserve the room of their choice the night before. With the approval of these same receptionists, they would also leave their tables set up in that room for the following day; if they were on shift, thereby holding or reserving the room of their choice for 2 days. 

All of the other therapists recognized this, and felt like this group was acting like they were privileged, and that setting up their tables gave them special license to disrespect the rest of the therapists, by disregarding the first come, first serve order of things. 

Some in this group acted like the incoming therapist should have to set up the regular table that was supposed to already be in that room; when they took their tables down at the end of their shift. Naturally, this attitude of entitlement caused some resentment among the other therapists.

The third situation was one in which one therapist created an extreme drama situation, drawing other people into the fray, placing blame and causing disruption to yet another therapist in the middle of a massage. This particular therapist was a recent hire and scheduled to come in to work at a certain time. 

However, because she didn't want to be inconvenienced, she called in to see if she was booked at that time. Upon finding out that she wasn't, she decided not to come in at her scheduled arrival time, and requested that the receptionist inform her as soon as she was booked.

In the meantime, another therapist, who had booked a private massage, came in to use a room for that massage; as we are allowed to rent a room for a private. There are six rooms in this particular location, however, the sixth room is small and mostly used for storage space for extra furnishings and supplies that some people do not use, like step stools, or small end tables. So most of therapists don't like utilizing this room for a massage because it is small, and because they have to clear it first, to set up.

When the first therapist decided not to come in on time per her schedule, she gave up her right to the last of the regular available rooms. The therapist with the private, who came in subsequently, got that room. Some time later, after she had started on her private massage, the first therapist was booked and was called by the receptionist and notified. 

She came bustling in right after I had arrived and taken the last available regular room that had just been vacated by another therapist from the previous shift. So this therapist had no other room left to use, but room six, which she didn't want. She looked at the book, and immediately demanded to know why the therapist doing the private was not in room six, and claimed that she should have the room that this therapist had.

Under the guise of "I'm not going to put up with this," which she frequently says, and which is an attitude that she utilizes to manipulate; she went outside the building to call the owner and complain. She told him only that the therapist with the private should not have a regular room if it was going to interfere with a regular booking; and that she should have that room, as she was booked and her client was soon to arrive. 

Mind you, she could have taken room six for that first hour, and then switched rooms afterwards, as other therapists on the first shift left, but she demanded that she had to have the room the private was being done in immediately, regardless of the fact that the therapist in that room was also scheduled on the book, and her scheduled time would have started after the 15 minutes she had left to complete that private massage.

Due to this dubious information and all the drama that came with it, the therapist with the private was forced out of her room. She then had to get her client off the table, let him get dressed, and move him to room six, which she had to rush to set up, for just 15 minutes that were left on her massage. 

All of this inconvenience happened because one selfish, self-centered therapist felt that she was entitled and above everyone else. Apparently, she thought she was too good to use room six. It was ok to put everyone else into turbulence due to her personal high opinion of herself; in which she was the proverbial gander who felt that what was good for the rest of the geese, wasn't good enough for her. And all this after she refused to come in on time for her shift, which would have ensured that she got the room in the first place.

The last example is yet another therapist who considered only herself, and keeping her client happy at the expense and aggravation of my client. My client booked a 90 minute session with me. For the first hour, everything was quiet and peaceful. However, at the start of the last 30 minutes; another therapist in the next room started her session with her client. 

However, it didn't sound like a massage session had been started. According to my client, it seemed to be a soap opera; as the therapist and her chatty client had a very loud, and ongoing, nonstop conversation, which included a lot of loud laughter that was disturbing my client.

At the client's request, I went out of the room to try to communicate with the other therapist about the noise. This after attempting to placate my client with the idea that perhaps the noise was coming from the shop next door, because there was no one in the room on the opposite side.

However, I excused myself from the room, went to the receptionist's desk, and got a piece of paper and wrote a note to the other therapist about reducing the noise. I stuck it under her door, as the receptionist was busy on the phone; hoping it would work. Once I was back in the room with my client, we discovered that it didn't seem to make a bit of difference. I knocked on the adjoining wall a few times, but the loud laughter and conversation continued, unchecked. 

My client was moving beyond angry and into furious. He sent me back out again to knock on the other therapist's door about the noise. When I did this and spoke to the other therapist, she claimed it was not her talking, and this claim was an attempt to justify herself. This was because she had grown quiet after the note was put under the door. However, she never bothered to say one word to her client about how much noise the client had been making, disturbing another client in the adjoining room.

Despite the fact that she was responsible to do this, this therapist stated that her reason for not saying anything to her client was because she didn't want to upset her. So apparently, it was fine for her to spare her client any upset at the expense of completely disrupting my client's formerly quiet, enjoyable massage. It was to the point wherein he stopped the massage early, because he said he was so stressed from the noise, more than when he had come in for the massage.

All of these situations and incidents happened at different time periods, and the owner was informed by various therapists that were witnesses to each incident. After getting a clear picture of all that had taken place the owner addressed the therapists involved in violating the rights of others, and several therapists witnessed a few radical attitude adjustments; which are typically the result of people being put in their place. It's a shame that things have to go to this extreme, and could be avoided if people would simply be other-centered, showing some basic consideration for the people around them; instead of self-centered. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dream Journal – Day 1 The Spirit World and Your Destiny Part 16

Dan 1:3 ¶ And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring [certain] of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;

Dan 1:4 Children in whom [was] no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as [had] ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

Dan 1:5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.

Dan 1:6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:

Dan 1:7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel [the name] of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.

Now, the thing I never realized, is that Ashpenaz was not simply the servant sent by the king to get these princes and royal children of Israel. This prince of the eunuchs was sent for these children because of the prophesy given to King Hezekiah years prior. The reason for the prophesy given was that Hezekiah had acted foolishly, opening his kingdom to attack by accepting gifts from Baladan king of Babylon, an enemy of the Kingdom of the Lord.

He did this AFTER the Lord healed him. Not only did he accept the gifts from the envoys of Baladan, but furthermore, he stupidly showed them the riches of his kingdom.

 Isa 39:1 At that time Marduk-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of his illness and recovery.
 Isa 39:2 Hezekiah received the envoys gladly and showed them what was in his storehouses—the silver, the gold, the spices, the fine olive oil—his entire armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.
 Isa 39:3 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked, “What did those men say, and where did they come from?” “From a distant land,” Hezekiah replied. “They came to me from Babylon.”
 Isa 39:4 The prophet asked, “What did they see in your palace?” “They saw everything in my palace,” Hezekiah said. “There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.”
 Isa 39:5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD Almighty:
 Isa 39:6 The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the LORD.
 Isa 39:7 And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”
 Isa 39:8 “The word of the LORD you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my lifetime.”
This confirms two things. Hezekiah was selfishly concerned with only his life, and did not care that he adversely affected his children's posterity. And, Daniel and his companions were not just educated to serve the king. They became eunuchs like the "prince of the eunuchs" that was sent to retrieve and educate them.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Labyrinth of Relationships: The Far Side of Customer Service

Yesterday, as my son and I were on our way home; me from the job, and him from the library; a surprising incident took place. We were on a side road from the highway, I-595. We were traveling eastbound, and this side road can lead you from the city roads onto the highway, or to the turnpike or even to ST RD 7. I was heading for I-595, but my son suggested that we turn off onto the state road, to go to a local supermarket where he had applied for a part time job, so he could check to see if they had received his application.

So I turned off onto the state road, and got to the boulevard where the store was. As we were driving down this boulevard at about 35 mph, something happened. There was a loud wrenching sound and then a really loud BANG! I thought we blew a tire, because immediately, my on my side, the front of the car went down. We skid a bit on the road as I tried to stop the car.

My son got out to check the tire, but none of the tires were busted. I was sure we had blown a tire, and the scraping sound we had heard was the rim scraping the ground, but my son checked around the entire car, and the tires were intact. So what the heck was it?

He came back to the front of the car and bent down to look.  “It’s something under the car,” he said. And then I knew. You see, back when I wrote this article, I knew there was a problem. However, the problem I knew about was in the rear of the car.

Now, since that situation had occurred, and we had gotten the part for the rear of the car, I had the mechanic come over to fix it 3 days prior to this situation happening. Once he took my rear tires off the car, he discovered that the part we obtained for the car was not the right one. There were too connections that did not match what was on my car.

So he was going to go back to the junkyard to get another rear assembly axle for my car. I asked him to check the front end as well, because I suspected that the control arms needed to be changed also…at least one of them, either lower or upper. He told me all four needed to be changed, plus the ball joints on both sides too. So I gave him the money after checking the prices online, so that he could pick up all the parts when he went back to exchange the rear axle.

So when my son told me it was not the tire, I knew immediately that one of the arms had broken. My son was very upset, but I told him, “You have nothing to be upset about. Am I upset?” He said he was angry that the car was broken down, and that I was going to miss two days of work as a result; as I had immediately called my boss and left a message. Plus, we were also going to miss our Friday night pastime, Karaoke at the Caribbean club.

I was fine with all of that because as I told him, it was by God’s provision that we did not take the highway, but were redirected to that street at the time this had occurred. Had we been on the highway when the arm broke, we would have been in serious trouble. It would have caused a very bad accident; one which, in all likelihood, we would not have survived. But God.

He’s always got us. He takes care of us, and knows our needs before we even recognize it. When I had spoken to my mechanic, 5 days ago, I knew that there was trouble in the front with the control arm, because when I was driving, if I hit a bump in the road at a high speed, the car would wrench to the right. I would feel the steering wheel pull out of my hands if I wasn't holding it firmly, so I knew that the control arm wasn't tight enough.

The car had been making these wrenching, groaning sounds for quite some time, and this was separate from the loud humming coming from the rear axle. So I was fully aware that all this needed to be replaced. I wanted to get it done Friday or Saturday, but I was scheduled for work Friday evening, and for a double on Saturday, so because of this, I had tried to schedule with my mechanic for Monday, but he was not available.

Additionally, I was hoping my tax return would be in my account, just in case I needed some extra funds for the repairs. I was disappointed that I wouldn't be getting all this fixed this week, as I recognized the urgency to fix it. Driving with these sorts of problems can be dangerous, obviously. I think it was imperative that it be fixed this week. So something had to happen to cause that, ergo the incident last night. I guess it was important enough that I would need to miss work.

When I called AAA, it was about 8:39. I told the female rep that I needed a flatbed truck to pick up the car because the front axle was broken. I told her that we were not in a safe place, because the car was stopped in the middle of the road. That should have told them to put a rush on it, because usually, they ask that question about if you are in a safe place for that reason. I also told her that we could not move the car off the road because the axle was broken.

She told me it might be an hour before the truck would arrive. So at 9:18 I called back. The reason is because despite the fact that we had both the hood and the trunk up, the people coming down the road in the cars weren't paying attention. We were waving them off, directing them to go around the car from the sidewalk.

Yet, many people drove right up on the car and stopped behind it, looking at it, and looking at us. Some drove by and yelled out to put the hazard lights on. We had done that as soon as it broke down, only to discover that the hazards were blinking on the dashboard, but not on the car itself. Logic would dictate that if we had hazards we would have put them on, as opposed to having both the trunk and the hood up.

That was a bit annoying, the fact that hardly anyone driving was paying attention. We actually put a red gas canister in the road a few feet behind the car to try to slow people down and get them to see that they needed to change lanes and go around our car.

Police were in the area, apparently looking for a strong arm robber and his victim. Two cops pulled up behind our car. The one that pulled right behind us with blues and reds flashing was in an undercover black Crown Victoria. One of the dopey, inattentive drivers almost crashed into her car; rolling up on her so much as she pulled up a few feet behind our car, that her front end ran into the gas canister and dragged it forward as she tried to move out of the way of the oncoming car rolling up behind her. It was ridiculous.

As annoying as that was for over an hour, having to wave people off out of the lane; that wasn't what ticked me off. As I said, I called AAA back at 9:18 to find out where the truck was. The rep, a male, told me that the time of arrival was scheduled to be 9:25. I asked that they contact the driver to try to expedite the arrival time considering the above mentioned situation.

At 9:40, the driver called me, telling me that he had just gotten the call, but was a ways away from us. After getting his location, and an estimated time of arrival, I called AAA back. I was angry at this point, because I had made the original call over an hour previously, and they never bothered to contact the driver until an hour later? This, after I told them we weren't in a safe place???

So I was kind of hot about that. When I called, I got another female rep. After I expressed my frustration, she attempted to abate it by saying that the info about us not being in a safe place, the axle being broken, and needing a flatbed truck was not in the system, and she needed to put it in there.  I couldn't believe that. I was getting angrier by the minute. She attempted to diffuse my anger with a claim that pickup was scheduled for 90 minutes from the time I had called, and the driver was due to arrive at 10:10. That just got me hotter.

“Oh no,” I said, “You aren't going to change the time now. I know what I was told by the first rep I spoke to, and even the second rep said that the arrival time should have been 9:25!” At that point, I was through with the reps. “I want to speak to a manager,” I said. She put me on hold, and then somehow, magically, the line disconnected.

“Oh no, they didn't!” I thought. I immediately dialed back. I got another male rep this time. I immediately asked for a manager. He attempted to run an abatement game on me, asking me for my card number so he could look up my account. The purpose of that was to try to redirect me by addressing the matter himself. I refused. I again stated that I wanted to speak to a manager. He claimed that they didn't have managers, “…just product specialists and supervisors.”

So I said in an aggravated tone, “So I want to speak to a supervisor, because a supervisor is a manager! Duh!” The rep tells me he knows this, and then proceeds to connect me to a product specialist. So you know that when that person answered the phone, and I asked if he was a supervisor, and he said he was a product specialist; you know I was steamin’, right?

He attempted to put me through the same runaround that the previous rep had, asking for my card number. At that point, I was yelling into the phone that I wanted a supervisor. When the supervisor came on the line and identified herself as the supervisor, I gave her an earful.

The very first thing I told her about was the insulting way the reps played with people, using semantics and treating them as if they didn't know what they needed, or what they were talking about; or were too stupid to know the difference between a “product specialist” and a supervisor which they asked for.

Then I told her about all the misrepresentation and misleading information I had received from the prior 3 reps concerning the call I made for a tow; informing her about the fact that the tow driver called immediately upon getting notified of the pickup, which was an hour after I called in; telling me he had only received the call only five minutes before.

Of course, she claimed that none of this was runaround; none of it was incorrect, and that the driver had received the call at 8:39 when I called and so on. She had an excuse for everything. Whatever - but, I’m paying for this “service,” in fact, I'm paying for Plus service. I told her that they needed to get their reps straight, and their communication straight as well. She had to remove the call from my account, so the tow was a freebie.

This is not the first time I've had questionable service from AAA. They make a killing through hundreds of tow companies that contract with them. I have been a customer of theirs for years, but I’m getting tired of this kind of poor service. I may have to consider looking into other road service companies at the end of my year with AAA. Apparently, they don’t respect their customers enough to treat them with respect, and give the kind of great service people are paying for.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dream Journal – Day 1 The Spirit World and Your Destiny Part 15

It's been a while since I did an entry on this study, so if you need to reference where we last left off, click here.

Dan 1:2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

I wanted to know what these objects were; these articles from the temple of God that got carried away into Babylon.

First of all, apparently there was a vessel unto dishonor and then there were vessels of honor that was taken. Jehoiakim represented the vessel of dishonor. This is the information I found about vessels.

1) article, vessel, implement, utensil.    a) article, object (general) b) utensil, implement, apparatus, vessel 1) implement (of hunting or war) 2) implement (of music) 3) implement, tool (of labour) 4) equipment, yoke (of oxen) 5) utensils, furniture c) vessel, receptacle (general) d) vessels (boats) of paper-reed

Jer 27:19  For thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the pillars, and concerning the sea, and concerning the bases, and concerning the residue of the vessels that remain in this city,

Jer 27:20 Which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took not, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem;

Jer 27:21 Yea, thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that remain [in] the house of the LORD, and [in] the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem;

Jer 27:22 They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, saith the LORD; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place

This prophetic prediction was filled with the articles were carried away in 586 BC and returned in 538 or 537 BC.

However, there was more about the actual vessels.

2Ki 25:13 The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars, the movable stands and the bronze Sea that were at the temple of the LORD and they carried the bronze to Babylon.
 2Ki 25:14 They also took away the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, dishes and all the bronze articles used in the temple service.
 2Ki 25:15 The commander of the imperial guard took away the censers and sprinkling bowls—all that were made of pure gold or silver.
 2Ki 25:16 The bronze from the two pillars, the Sea and the movable stands, which Solomon had made for the temple of the LORD, was more than could be weighed.
 2Ki 25:17 Each pillar was eighteen cubits high. The bronze capital on top of one pillar was three cubits high and was decorated with a network and pomegranates of bronze all around. The other pillar, with its network, was similar.
The end of this chapter of the book of 2 Kings, tells how long this king Jehoiakim was held captive in exile. Daniel lived through the reigns of 3 different kings during this exile period. At  the time of these events, Daniel, along with 3 teen aged companions from royal families, were brought into the king's service and the tests of their faith began.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Labyrinth of Relationships: Party People

Party People, Party People,
We gon' get funky, soul sonic force,
We gon' get funky, yaaaaa just hit me...

If you know this groove, you have a pretty good idea of the era I'm from. Recently, I was directly and indirectly involved in party situations. Now, I gotta tell you that for me, going to a party means dancing. I was a dancin' machine back in the day. My spoiler? A double fracture to my left leg in 2000. That cut down my moves a bit, but I still like to work it a little.

My newest distraction in this arena? Karaoke. I always wanted to try this. So now, somehow, I got entered into a contest on Monday nights, and became a regular at this little Caribbean bar and grill for Friday night Karaoke. Now, I know that Karaoke really means "tone deaf" in it's native language, but nevertheless, it's still a lot of fun. I've always loved singing, and I'm finally breaking through past some of the inhibitions that held me back in the past, and kept me silent, worrying about what other people might think.

So that is part of the whole relational deal...this worry about the impressions of others. And mind you, its not because I can't carry a tune. I actually can. To hear some people tell it, I sing very well. With Karaoke however, it's difficult because the speaker is right behind you blasting, and the reverb from it can throw you off pitch. I've had to stick a headphone plug or my finger in my ear just so I can hear myself and stay in pitch.

So Friday night after work, I was there. I encountered some fun-lovin' folks and had a good time. My son keeps himself occupied in the back pool room while I'm doin' my thing. I found this place quite by accident, because I wasn't looking for Karaoke at the time, and didn't know there were really too many places around still doing it.

I signed up on because I was looking for some sort of group activity in my feeble attempt to be more social, as I tend to be a homebody; and a fellow massage therapist/friend/business associate was in this particular group that I signed up for. She's like a social butterfly, and completely strange and somewhat unfathomable to those of us that are social sloths. She is a complete 180 from her mom, who falls into the category of socially shy. I met her there as well.

At any rate, it was the first group I ran across and was a business networking group, and since my networking skills are so lacking, I figured that was the one. They meet on the first and third Friday of the month, and the meeting was...interesting. Certainly different, but then, I didn't know what to expect. We did this speed networking thing, which is similar to a speed dating situation, but it was cool.

Afterwards, the karaoke started. Most of the meetup people left, but there were others there...a very small crowd as this place had only recently opened. So there were only a few people trying to sing, but in every crowd there is at least one person that is a true character, and that person got everyone else into it.

I managed to get past my own reservations and do a little something, but I didn't start to really feel comfortable until the second visit. By that time, the owner hired a more professional Karaoke DJ, actually a couple, and things went better. Now, I'm on this couple's list to be notified of Karaoke events around town.

So this past Friday, I met my new friend Caroline, and her friend Larry there. I had met Caroline there the previous visit, and she can blow. She's got a great voice and is a lot of fun. Her daughter-in-law and son showed up, and we all sat together and sang, danced and just enjoyed everyone's singing...singing along with them. We were having such a good time, and then at midnight, they shut down the Karaoke for this party. There was a bunch of young people that had been filtering in, and this was the reason.

Apparently, the mother of the young lady who sang in this party, paid for the event. The young lady was cute, and had a decent voice. She said she had a CD that was being released that day, which was Valentine's day. She was singing songs from the CD, but lip-syncing all of them, just singing with the track vocals. 

Thing was, despite her vocals being decent, the music itself was so boring, we couldn't stand it. It all had the same beat, and was slow and monotonic. The little dude that apparently had been working on the tracks, got up to tell everyone that they were going for the grammys. We looked at each other in disbelief, and said that they were a long ways from the grammys.

Most of the kids just stood around, or sat at the tables very nonchalant. We were bored just looking at them. Larry commented that they were just too "cool" to do ANYTHING. We were all asking ourselves what kind of party was this, because there was nothing to it. No dancing, no food, no fun. Just boring, monotonous, slow tracks by a seemingly dyslexic DJ, who abruptly cut from one song to another with no mixing; or stopped the music altogether creating "dead air" while he tried to figure out what he was doing next; or just played very slow, boring music. It was nothing you could dance to. No good beats at all. So we ended up leaving due to complete boredom. We couldn't believe that this was considered a "party" by these young people (18-25 in age).  

At first, I thought this was a fluke. Honestly, are young people this bored and out of touch with the concept of "life"? They didn't look like they had any. They didn't look like they knew or understood what "fun" is. However, this was not the only occasion like this. My son went to a birthday party of a young lady that he likes. He is mindful and respectful of the fact that this young lady has a boyfriend, but he does care for her, and has let her know as much.

She invited him to her party. He was very excited to go, and despite his Asperger's, when he is social, my son is quite the charmer, and certainly knows how to socially have fun. When I went to pick him up at the original time he said the party was supposed to end; he came out after I texted him, saying that he wasn't ready to leave yet, and that the party was still going strong after a late start. So I left, only to get called back immediately, because they had to end the party on account of the young lady's grandmother's bedtime hour.

Once I picked my son up, I asked about the party, because it had sounded like he had been having a really good time. However, upon further examination and questions, my son realized that he did not have a good time, in fact, I really think that he was just happy to be invited to this young lady's party, despite her spending all her time with her boyfriend; who my son said, poked him a lot. 

He said that he really didn't know anyone, and despite knowing a little about everyone's main topic of conversation, anime, he was not an expert on it, like everyone else seemed to be. He was not as into it as they all were, so he felt he could not really participate in the conversations. He just felt like a third wheel, and said he spent most of the time standing by a wall, observing everyone else. He became very depressed after that.

I totally got it. I have always been a wall-flower in social situations where I don't know anyone. I'm one of those people that people watch until someone approaches me. I rarely if ever just start a conversation with someone. My deceased brother, Guy...he was the social butterfly of our family, but it has always been a challenge for me. I'm not totally socially inept. Once I find someone that I relate to, I could talk your ear off on topics I know about, like massage for instance. But the connecting part is the struggle. I even told my son that this is part of the reason that I hesitate to date.

The thing is, people that know me never believe that I'm actually shy to some degree, but this is because I know them. I'm comfortable. The scary thing is stepping outside your comfort zone. I tried to explain to my son that the fact of the matter is, you cannot expect to "fit" with everyone. Every person has their niche.

It makes me recall a conversation I once had with a man that I had relational friendship with. He got upset and angry with himself because he had bought a cover for his car, and the instructions that came with it, said that to attach another piece to the cover, he could iron this fabric on to the cover. Now, I can't tell you why this part was necessary, but the instructions said to do this, so he did. The iron burned a hole in the cover.

He was so frustrated, he started spouting language, and I had to stop him, asking him why he was so upset. He said that he felt stupid because he burned a hole in the cover. I took the instructions from him and read them. Then I told him that he was not the stupid one in the equation. It was the company that put this product out, and their instructions that was stupid. The reason? 

Anyone that knows anything about fabric, knows that you do not iron nylon, not directly at any rate, but this company's instructions said to iron the nylon. If one is going to iron nylon, they would have to place a cloth between the iron and the nylon to avoid burning it up, because nylon is not made to handle heat, particularly from an iron. 

I had to explain to my friend that he was was not stupid, he just lacked knowledge of this particular fact, because his path never lead him to work on fabrics and obtain knowledge about nylon. Mine did. So in reality, no person is actually stupid. 

Each person has a path, and in most paths, there is a system. There are many paths in life. Many of these paths never intersect, and many of these systems have different language dominating that particular system. If one is not familiar with the language of that system, should they ever cross paths; they may not know how to navigate within that system, because it is not on their path, they've only briefly intersected with it.

It is the same with people. No path, and no person is greater than any other. They simply have different paths, different passions, and different knowledge accordingly. The key is in finding your niche...people with a similar commonality with your passions and path. I found a fairly good variety of groups on after my son's experience, but as always, there is a lack of groups for young people. When my son was12-17, I couldn't find anything to get him connected. Now, he's 18, and still, I see nothing for his age group. 

There seems to be nothing out there for "non-addicted party people" in my son's age group. All the kids do these days is computers, and outside of that, nothing exists! Maybe this is why everyone stood around looking at each other in that club. Outside of computerized interactions, they simply don't know what to do! They can't communicate with others. How is that living?

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Labyrinth of Relationships: Walking with Humility and Grace

Today, I was liberated. I was set free on two levels. But I digress. Let me go back a few weeks. I finally found my new church home! It took me two years. I've finally found a place where the spirit is one of humility. All I'm going to say is that I left my previous church for several reasons, which I will label under, "It was just time to move on."

The church that I am now attending is one that I used to attend years ago, prior to the 7-8 years at the most recent church I left 2 years ago. About 10 years ago, there was a situation with the very personable, popular, former pastor who fell. He refused to repent, and thus was asked to leave.

Many members, myself included, left upon finding out about this, due to disappointment; and some left to follow the fallen pastor. Subsequent to that, the church spent several years looking for a replacement, and went through several assistant pastors ministering in the meanwhile.

Two years ago, they finally found the right person; the current Pastor Darrell Owens. He and his wife are a true example of humbleness and submission. It was evident the very first day I went back there. I sat on the patio under the tents, sipping my Arnold Palmer, and observing the people.

Now, I have to tell you that I have never really been super social; not a joiner of groups or cliche-ish. They say that everything is about high school. Considering that, I was someone that attracted a lot of attention naturally, but I was not popular - not for a long time. In fact, I was a loner because I didn't choose to compromise myself to be popular and fit in. It wasn't until I was out of high school before I experienced popularity for the first time. That experience came through my writing.

So I've never been quick to join church related activities and groups, but I tried that in my last church. Not too successful in my opinion. I wasn't that comfortable, and there were a lot of reasons. However, in other churches in the past, I rarely participated in anything more than choir, and even then, I wasn't comfortable in those choirs because of the spirit of competition I saw among the singers. They were too busy seeking glory for themselves, when it was supposed to be all about God.

In some of the churches of my past, the women were spiritually battered. I experienced quite a bit of this first hand. One church I attended; when I was younger and just beginning my walk with the Lord; had a very tall, attractive man as the lead pastor. His wife was not a bad looking woman, but a bit short and dumpy in her figure. She was very insecure about her husband and jealous as well.

At the time, this was a very popular church, and there were a lot of young people and models coming into this church. Back in that time, I was into fashion, and liked to transform my look a lot.

Accessories are the key, and I knew how to use them, from hats to jewelry, to headwraps; I loved trying new styles, especially with headgear, and people thought I was very exotic looking.

This was one of several shots I took at that time for 
modeling and a favorite of every agent that saw it.

This particular church was like a revolving door as far as the congregation, and I think it was because of the spirit of the wife. Personally, I was humiliated by this woman in front of the entire church. I had women in the choir attacking me because of how I looked. Women in the congregation did things like clutch their husbands when I walked in, as if I had come there to steal them.

One woman even went as far as to put her hands on me and button up my blouse to the neck, just because I had a hint of cleavage showing; while stating that, "We don't want to cause anyone to lust, do we?" My thought was "we?" Clearly, this was all about me.

There was even a woman in the choir that made a similar remark about cleavage out loud directed towards me as I was walking in a bit late to a choir rehearsal. The issue of choir uniforms was being discussed, and I had just come in and sat down when this comment was made. When I looked around at all the other women present in that choir, I realized that I was the only one with sufficient equipment to have cleavage in the first place. The rest of them, with exception to one excessively overweight woman, did not have nearly enough equipment for that comment to be directed at anyone else but me.

So when I say I was battered spiritually by many women in the church, I'm not kidding. This did not stop at this church, and it wasn't just women doing the spiritual battering; thus the reason for my lack of interest in joining in church activities, events and bible studies.

Several years went by since that time, and the battering began to come from these male dominated churches. Pastors chose to constantly demand submission from the women only, for the purpose of control; using jokes, and insulting comments from the pulpit as a means of enforcing this agenda. I even wrote a series of articles on this topic.

Now, I say all this to bring you back to my experience since I found my new home church. When my son and I first went back there about 3 weeks ago, and I was sitting under the awning, sipping my Arnold Palmer and observing the people, I noticed their spirit. It was one of complete humility and grace.

When I went into the church, I saw the same thing, even in the choir. No one was showboating, or trying to steal God's glory. It was a totally different atmosphere from what I had been experiencing for years. So we decided to stay. Even my son came out from the teen church saying, "This is it." We had finally found our church home.

Last week, Pastor Darrell gave a wonderful study on Joseph, focusing on the men and the importance of Joseph's role as a man God would use to change the world. Subsequently, he focused on the women this week, and Mary's role in being a woman God would use to change the world.

In presenting the message today, Pastor Darrell set me free on two levels. First, he quoted Paul here:

1Ti 2:14  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

For years, pastors have used this verse to put the women under the men - to force submission upon them; to blame them for the fall. But you know what Pastor Darrell said? He said that Paul said that the woman was deceived and fell into sin through that deception, but Adam was not deceived. He willingly sinned. Pastor Darrell took responsibility as a man and admitted that Adam was the responsible one. 

I could hardly believe it. I was, in fact, so stunned by this that my first thought escaped my mouth, and I said out loud, "Its about time!" The people around me heard that and started laughing. Pastor Darrell is the first male in the church, and especially, the first pastor that I ever heard admit that - and say it in the pulpit.

Right behind that, as he continued the message, he talked about how women were relational, and had his wife come up and give 8 ways that women batter each other in the church instead of loving each other. It was great. 

I had to go talk to him afterwards and thank him, because after being battered by women and men in the church for years, I finally felt free from it after his message today. I finally felt like I was in a place where God's true Spirit dwells, and it is evident in the humbleness and grace of the pastor and his wife. I'm so thankful and I hope I can emulate them more as they follow and emulate Christ.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Labyrinth of Relationships: Keeping Your Peace, Or Speaking Your Mind

Being a Christian is not easy. If anyone tells you the contrary, they are lying. If you think that Christianity is for the "soft," let me tell don't know what you're talking about. We are called to walk in love with everyone, but walking with love with some people...can be next to impossible to do. There are people out there that just try you just to see how much of their garbage you are going to put up with.

Sometimes, its really hard to get a grip on what is righteous anger, versus anger in the flesh. And turning the other cheek is one of the hardest things to do with some people. Honestly, it takes a stronger man to walk away from a fight, than to fight it out, and weighing your battles can be a tricky thing to navigate. But, the fact of the matter is, we are only human. We are not perfect. We will not always pass the test with flying colors.

However, I wonder...I wonder if there are times when what seems to be a failure is not necessarily so. Those times when you speak your piece instead of biting your tongue; aren't there times when it is necessary to do so? I'm not talking about taking the offensive only, but also in a defensive position. Sometimes, doesn't the pot thats calling the kettle black also need to recognize it's own position - that it is far worse than the accusation thrown?

I'm thinking about Jesus and the money changers. He was enraged at seeing the extent of these industrialists greed; the fact that they had actually had the nerve to set up shop in His Father's house. Ultimately, all sin, all avarice comes down to one thing. Selfishness. So, Jesus set them straight. He kicked their butts right out of the temple.

What I'm wondering right now is, at what point in time was this going on, and for how long? I mean, it seems to me that these people were regulars there, and did this perhaps daily? Was this the first time Jesus went into that particular temple, because I don't think the scriptures indicate which one it is. I don't know. I don't recall anything about a specific event or celebration going on, so they came in and set up shop like they normally did, and the pharisees were probably getting compensated-maybe even renting the space.

Did any of these people dare to accost Jesus when He came in to teach in the temple that day? Did they have the nerve to tell Him that it was inappropriate for Him to be speaking God's Word, and that He would drive away their business? Who knows. But when you are dealing with someone who is behaving inappropriately, how do you approach them?

Do you keep your peace about it, or do you speak your mind, and if you are going to speak your mind, how do you address it? What if someone comes at you because they want to put you in check? Now the shoe is on the other foot. How do you react, depending on how they approach you?

A few posts back, I mentioned an individual that I'm struggling with. Her manner of addressing me is extremely rude and disrespectful. She came at me again yesterday. And I will admit that the issue she called me out on was a bit valid. BUT, the nasty tone and manner in which she approached me; and the fact that she is the person the most frequently guilty of the disrespectful behavior she berated me about; angered me. She is so frequently an abuser in this behavior and so blatantly disrespectful of most everyone, that the boss has already said that he needs to find a way to get rid of her.
This is the manner that she comes at me without any cause or provocation.

So yes, I stepped out of my peaceful zone, and got in her face for once, and let her get an earful; because she needed to know that just because I have sat back quietly taking her crap since the first day I met her - just to keep the peace; does not mean I am her doormat to walk on, nor does it mean that I'm going to continue to put up with her insolence and rudeness.

All the other receptionists have told me that this is how she is, and I've witnessed her verbal abuse to them, and in front of clients numerous times. She has been verbally bullying everyone in that job for the longest time, and this is why the boss said he needs to get rid of her. I just made a conscious decision, that it was time for her to be put in her place, especially because she had the audacity to approach me the way she did.

So I had a few choice words for her about herself which she didn't like, as well as a directive about her need to refrain from ever addressing me in that manner again; but suffice it to say, she got the message. Was this Christian of me? Probably not, but then again, I'm not sure, because I'm not sure if it was righteous anger, or just my own personal anger and disgust of her that prompted the action.

 I think the trigger for me was the fact that she was the last person who should have said anything about anyone else's behavior, whether appropriate or not and especially in consideration of clients present. So perhaps it was righteous anger, because honestly, what she called me out on was not even a big issue. She was right about it. I think that if I was angry about the issue she raised, then that would have been more of a self-related anger in my flesh from denial.

 However, I readily admit that I was out of line a little, fussing because I was frustrated in general. However, had anyone else called me to the carpet on that, even a bit aggressively, I would not have been as angered as I was when the person the most guilty of excessive errant and disrespectful behavior, addressed me about it as the verbal bully she is. At that point, I felt it was imperative that she be told exactly the truth about her ways.

I can't lie to you. It felt really good to finally say something to her about her bullying ways. As soon as I said it, that heat was off me, and I felt good. Before, I was just resentful because I never spoke up before while trying to take the Christian track and forgive her, and be at peace with everyone. But sometimes, that doesn't bring you peace.

You know, I don't think that being a Christian means that we must always bite our tongues or hold our peace in the midst of adversity all the time. After all, which demonstrates more love? To put up with an abuser and their abuse and never challenge them on it, but talk about them behind their back; or to address it-to challenge them on it to their face even if aggressively, to put an end to it?

Sometimes, you are unable to forgive until you express the problem to the person causing the pain or resentment. She probably never saw herself that way, but whether or not she accepts what I said, I know she heard me. I feel better just for that now that its said and out in the open and she's aware. The act of forgiving is an ongoing one, but I think now it has a better chance of success where she's concerned.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Labyrinth of Relationships: The Problem With Pride

My son and I were out running errands, and got caught up in Friday rush hour traffic. As usual, my son's main focus was his stomach. What growing teenager isn't focused on food?
"I'm hungry," he said.
 "Nothing unusual in that," I replied.
"So what are we going to eat?" He immediately begins to point out a Taco Bell.
"I'm not feelin' the Taco thing," I said.
"So what do you waaant?" he whined.
"I'm feelin' Chinese," I said.

We stopped by an associate's place to pick up something owed to my son, but as usual, she wasn't there, and she texted that she'd be another 15 minutes. I decided I was not willing to wait, because this was one of those people that had taken advantage too much. I was always waiting on her and I was done with that; especially in what seemed 90 degrees of humidity outside.

So I drove off, telling my son that she would have to wait on us for a change, because we were going to get something to eat. We drove up the street and I suddenly remembered that there was a Sushi place on the corner of the main road we were coming to. I was willing to go for Sushi so we stopped by there.

It was actually, a Korean BBQ and Sushi place called Grabose. I asked to see the menu in the lobby, and we sat there trying to see if they had the type of Sushi we wanted. The host there spoke to us, and after learning what we were in the mood for was kind enough to inform us that they really didn't have a lot of different Sushi, like a typical Japanese place. He said he didn't want to give away business, and invited us to try what they had. If we were set on Sushi specifically; he referred us to an excellent Japanese restaurant several miles away, or the Koizumi Japanese Buffet across the street.

My son opted for the buffet, asking me how much it was. The last one I had been at was between $7 & $9 several months ago, but that had been a Chinese buffet. So I sent my son in to find out the price. He steps out the door and gives me the c'mon in gesture.

However, when I came in the door, I saw a sign that had the price at $17.95. I called my son. I was ready to leave, because we had not discussed paying that much. We were thinking more along the lines of no more than $10 each. I pointed at the sign and asked the girl standing at the counter near the sign about the price. She told me it was $7.95.
"Oh! It is?!? Oh, ok." I walked towards my son. "She said that the price is $7.95, " I told him.
"Yes, that's what she told me too. I was going to tell you," he said.
"Yeah, cause I'm not willing to eat here at that higher price."
"All I know is that they'd better have Sushi," my son commented.

They had a pretty good variety of different foods; more than just the Sushi. I tried quite a few tasty dishes, but my son went straight for the Sushi. We had ice cream, and then we were ready to go. My son asked for the bill, but the girl didn't get it for us. Then he asked if we needed to go up front to pay, but again, she didn't respond, so we started getting up to go, and she finally brought us the bill. It was more than twice what we expected; $40 and some change.

Now, not that I didn't have the $40. It was the principal of the matter. I told the waitress that the bill was incorrect, because we had been told that the price was $7.95 each. She asked who told us this, and we pointed out the woman, who she said was the manager. So she told us we could discuss it with her.

The manager had a heavy accent, and no customer service skills. As soon as I told her about the price she told us, she began to argue loudly in that way that Asian females do in Asian businesses. No matter what they misunderstood, or how much they messed up an order; or how much their lack of good English caused them to say something in error; they insist that they told you the correct thing, or that you are causing them trouble after they got your order wrong.

This manager kept getting louder, insisting that she told me $17.95 for the buffet, when she had in fact told me $7.95. My son corroborated this as far as what she told him too. Yet, she continued to carry on, attempting to humiliate us. My son got disgusted after she threatened to call the police. I told her to go ahead and call them, because she made an error, and I didn't see why I should have to pay for it. My son was annoyed with her jabbering, and said he was going to wait outside, to which she replied, "I'm calling the police, and if you leave, I have cameras here," she said, pointing at the ceiling.

I informed her that we weren't leaving and she could go ahead and call the police. So she picks up the phone and calls them, and the first thing out of her mouth is a lie. She tells them that she has customers that do not want to pay their bill. Then a few of her workers came and asked her what was going on. So she went into her language telling them, I'm sure, that we were just trying to get out of paying the bill; because they all nodded like they knew the type or something.

When the officer arrives, I spot him because I'm checking out the window of the restaurant. So I walked outside to talk to him first, because she'd already lied on the phone when she called. I didn't want her to have the first opportunity to speak to him. I explained that she told this lie, when I was more than willing to pay the bill, but not the amount she was not trying to charge me, because it was not the amount she told me when I asked upon entering the restaurant.

Once I explained what had happened, then she came out and tried to insist that she had told me the higher price. The officer explained to her that it was a civil matter, and that I was not unwilling to pay as she had first wrongfully stated. He told her that he could not force me to pay, so her only recourse was to go to the courthouse and file a charge there.

He asked for my ID, phone number and address, and said he was willing to give her my info if she wanted to pursue that in court, but she kept trying to insist that she had told me the correct price, as if the officer was going to force me to pay her. He kept telling her that he was not present, and that it was a civil matter which he could not involve himself in. He told her that if we could work it out, then she would get something, or I could just pay her the $7.95 and she'd have to go after me for the rest.

She had tried to offer me a 10% discount which was only $4 off the $40, and I had told her that she needed to do a lot better than that. Now, she offered me a 30% discount, but I told her that I was only willing to pay half the bill. "You made an error," I said." I shouldn't have to pay more when I was told it was less. In any store you go into, if the price marked is wrong, or if the customer is told a different price, that price is honored by the store. I don't see why it should be any different here."

Then she said that the drinks were additional, so the officer asked how much the drinks were. She said that they were $1.99, and we had two. He started to add the drinks and the two bills at $7.95, and said it came to about $22. I agree to pay that, so the manager finally relented, saying that she didn't want to go to court, and figured I didn't want to either. I thanked the officer and left. Little did she know that if she did take me to court, I would have gone to defend my rights, and still paid her nothing more than what she originally told me.

In all honesty, she really just wasted the police officer's time by calling them in the first place. She just refused to admit that she made a mistake in what she told us. I really didn't have to negotiate it at all. I could have simply stood my ground on what she initially told me, and she would have been forced to accept it and/or take me to court, where she really wouldn't have had a leg to stand on. Had she swallowed her pride and just tried to negotiate it down a bit more in the first place, I might have accepted the 30% discount she offered when the officer was there; had she offered it earlier, and the police wouldn't have had to be involved at all.

You've gotta choose your battles wisely. It's not wise to raise your armaments for a battle, when you know you are wrong. If you've got to lie to try to get the upper hand; get ready to experience some humiliation.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Labyrinth of Relationships: How are you with first time meetings?

I have my faults. I'm not perfect. I can be headstrong and selfish, but usually, I'm pretty easy to get along with. I tend to be more of a loner, and perhaps that is why I communicate in written form so well, because I certainly stumble about sometimes in direct personal interactions.

My friends and acquaintances would laugh and have laughed when I tell them that I'm a bit shy. They can't even believe that this is true. Not to say that I'm a motor mouth; but the people that know me get a pretty good view of my personality. If I'm comfortable with you, you'll have a lot of fun around me. I'm always joking around.

However, unlike my deceased brother, (it'll be 1 year on the 6th) if I don't know you that well; if I haven't let you in, then I'm a lot more quiet and guarded around you. He always welcomed everyone. I don't know how he did that, but he was well received, and very loved by many people. He probably majored in Golden Retriever. (See the second post of this series for the animal references)

Whenever I go to some social event, and, mind you, I'm not the social butterfly; I pretty much am a wallflower, unless I know people there. I don't tend to just walk up to people and start talking. Actually, I like to observe. Unless of course, the topic for the evening happens to be centered around something I know very well, like massage.

But outside of something like this, I tend to be reserved around people I don't know. However, I think there is a distinct difference between being reserved, and being nasty. People have different reasons for being reserved, but nothing justifies nastiness.

Take, for example, the new employee that's greatly overweight. That person is usually very reserved because they are very self-conscious of their appearance. They are conscious of spacing; fitting and not fitting. Unless that overweight person is one of those that has a really great sense of humor and has learned to not only laugh at themselves, but also to joke about themselves too, which is a defense mechanism; they will be very quiet, and keep to themselves in a new setting.

I recently encountered someone like this at one of my jobs. A very nice lady, but I could see how uncomfortable she was because the spacing of the rooms where I work are very small. Even the break room is way too small to accommodate more than 4 people comfortably, so I'd see her fly up out of there often when a few people enter the room.

Sensing her discomfort, I tried to talk to her, to make her feel a bit more at ease. This situation is very different from the situation with my other employer. I saw the real personality of one individual in my first week working at this particular job, when I asked this person if they needed a particular piece of equipment that was in their room. Due to my work style, I needed it very much, but this person, who had never seen me prior to that moment, snapped at me, "YES! YES, I NEED IT!"

Needless to say, I was quite surprised at this reaction, and made a mental note concerning this person's disposition. Did I try to forgive? Yes, I did, but forgiving means letting go of the hurt or anger. However, it does not necessitate continued association. After observing this person over several weeks, I came to realize that this person is very bitter. Comments made by this co-worker towards other workers and even clients are usually very sarcastic and rude; and this is the predominant style of communication this person uses.

There is a scripture that urges that we do our utmost to live at peace with everyone. In my ____ years of existence on this earth, I have come to realize that sometimes, maintaining the peace means leaving certain individuals alone. So that is what I have done in this case. Some, within church circles would argue that I should be charitable and reach out to this person.

One person at that job attempted to defend her rude behavior as a defense mechanism. "Against what?" I asked. "I was new. She didn't know me. I wasn't rude. What is she defending herself against?" If it were only that one incident, I probably would be more understanding, but this is how this person is on a daily basis.

I've noted that this person has some sort of insecurity that results in a very aggressive, competitive spirit; like she's always got to one-up everyone. So when you add bitterness, which seems the result of possibly envy; and then top that off with a layer of sarcasm, it gets pretty nasty. On the personality type scale, I'm thinking definitely strong in this lion's name is Scar.

In looking for a biblical reference, I recall that there were certain people that Jesus referred to as "Snakes and Vipers." He knew their hearts, and I don't recall seeing him specifically reaching out to them. Yes, he taught in their synagogues and preached within their earshot, but he didn't specifically reach out to them. You see, he was looking for the lost that desired salvation.

There are lost people who want nothing to do with salvation. They don't want to change. They love living in sin. The bible speaks of people like this. The people that I saw Jesus specifically reach out to were the ones that sort of went above and beyond to reach him. Don't get me wrong. He reaches out to everyone generally speaking. His message is for all, but that doesn't mean all will hear, or turn around. But there were some that were struggling, whether it was for healing or for faith that were blessed because they went above and beyond to get it.

The crippled man lowered through the roof; the centurion who demonstrated great faith in Jesus' power and authority; the woman at the well; Zacharias, who climbed a tree to see him; the woman who touched the hem of his garment; the leper; the blind man; the man possessed with demons; Mary who washed his feet; the list goes on. All these people struggled to get to him, or reached out to him mightily with faith.

Do I reach out to people about God? I certainly try to, however, I don't chase after anyone. Usually, I try to let the Spirit do what the Spirit will do, and send whomever to me. I share, but I don't push. If someone is not receptive, I'm not going to beat down their door, or try to shove anything at them.

So with that individual, I'm still observing. I haven't totally written this person off, but I'm most certainly reserved. Now, on the other hand, there were two others on this same job that I met. Stories that were circulating by staff labelled both as a bit on the nutty end, but one much more so than the other. I was warned about the erratic behavior of one of them. So I have been observing. However, none of the ones I was told were so crazy have been excessively rude.

The one I was told was crazy...well, the jury is still out on that one. I have seen a little strangeness, and I've also noted that there is some sort of negative spiritual thing going on with this one, possibly santeria or something similar. The other one, I've been told, is Wiccan, so she is actually a witch. She was very rude the first day as well, although not directed at me, but about my bookings. She did apologize and made numerous circular attempts to explain and then not explain. Yeah...a little strange.

On another occasion, she came in and attempted to offer the receptionist and I some crackers she said were really healthy, but tasted good like junk food. Now, it was nice of her to offer, however, no matter how many times we politely refused - I'd say a minimum of half a dozen times or more; she continued to insistently ask, "Are you sure? They're really good; trust me." Both the receptionist and I got a bit exasperated.

Outside of the obvious, insecure need to feed people to feel comfortable around them, she seems more or less harmless. However, I see a lack of the general camaraderie in this establishment that I experience in the other with my co-workers, so I have decided that it is best not to get too chummy with this bunch.

There are one or two in this establishment that are really very nice, and whom I speak to without reservations. However, for the most part, I'm pretty reserved around these people; with exception to the receptionists; most of whom are really nice. I try to steer clear of drama, but it always seems to find me while I'm minding my own business. Sometimes, it's good to be the strong, silent type.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Labyrinth of Relationships: What Type Are You?

Back in 2009, I was just beginning to discover the differences in personality types. I first wrote about it here. Dani Johnson, referred to 4 types, and she identified them as Gems. She had a video about a seminar she had done, in which she identified these 4 types. At one point in the seminar, the song, "Everybody Dance Now," just started blasting from the sound system. At once almost everyone in one particular group (she had the types separated in their seating) jumped up and began to dance and gyrate to the song as if on cue, but none came. It was funny, but insane at the same time, but it so aptly demonstrated the "life of the party," mindset of that particular personality type.

Since getting that understanding, I have also started reading Mentored By A Millionaire. In this book, the author, Steven K. Scott, gave a 5 minute personality test, and described the 4 personality types as Lions, Otters, Golden Retrievers, and Beavers. He identified the natural strengths, weaknesses, basic disposition, time management, communication styles, decision making, how they handle pressure or tense situations, greatest needs, and what each type desires. He also identified a few areas of improvement for each type.

Since taking this test, and understanding my own personality a lot more, I understand why I view certain things the way I do. One of the exercises was not only to ascertain your own personality, but the personality of others around you; family members, friends, coworkers, bosses, and any other person that you tend to interact with.

My son and I easily figured out the types of many of the people we knew, laughing as we isolated their dominant and sub-dominant types. Knowing this information did help me to some extent. I tried, according to my own personality types, to be more patient with people in opposing type combinations. But even with people who had a similar dominant, I still struggle.

It's also difficult because when you come across someone who is extremely unbending in their personality, but talks like they are; talking the talk, but not walking the walk - that person is very hard to deal with. It's difficult because after giving that person many opportunities to prove your initial or even general impressions wrong, and they don't; you just want to disconnect, especially if that person's word...their trustworthiness has come into question.

For me, I find it very difficult to deal with people for whom, I have totally lost respect. The situation is often complicated by the fact that much of the time, that person turns out to be an employer. Some of the worst employers I've had still tried to put on the nice face, or act very jovial and fun after stabbing me and my coworkers in the back or pocket for that matter. And the worst thing is, they expect you to smile and want to make small talk with them after they have repeatedly mistreated you.

Your memory is expected to be fully functional whenever they want to lay out their mandated regulatory changes, or self-centered policies; but it is expected not to function about those same oppressive demands when you encounter the policy maker (the boss). For example, I find that many bosses are micro-managers, so without identifying the sex or time frame that I experienced these situations, I want to give examples. I will just identify them as Boss #1, 2, 3 etc.

Boss#1: Threw reliable monthly customers in the toilet because of running behind 1 customer with a once or twice large yearly order of 20k items/pieces. This boss thought it was ok to kick the bread and butter of the business to the side in favor of this one customer.

This boss also left money on the table because of failure to properly utilize employees that were designated to handle certain aspects of the business. So an order that was taken via one employee, and could have been fully processed by that employee, with copies sent to both the secondary department, and the boss; was instead completely missed, because the employee was instructed to take the order and send it to the boss to process, as opposed to the employee handling the entire issue and getting the order out.

This cost in an aggravated customer, who called the business 2 months later asking why they had not received this customized order that they had paid for. The boss, with all of the responsibilities of running the business, did not have the time to address this order, and shouldn't have been trying to do so, but was so controlling, refusing to entrust that to the employee, who was embarrassed in having to make excuses to a regular customer about a missed order that was not the employee's fault.

In addition, this boss failed to demonstrate any loyalty to an employee who was wrongfully blamed for an incorrect order, when the employee had provided proof that the error was the fault of the client. Because an email with a statement of reprimand concerning this employee was sent to the client; this caused the employee to feel ignored, disrespected, humiliated and unappreciated, because this was a regular customer that this employee handled.

 Despite the fact that this dismissal of the employee's objection was this boss's efforts to schmooze the client, and save the account, this account and many others were eventually lost anyways, after this employee left by mutual agreement, due to dissatisfaction. The expansion that this business was in the midst of failed after this employee left.

Boss#2 Ran a seasonal business and repeatedly, during the slowest season, would betray employee trust by hiring more employees, when there wasn't enough work for the employees already on the books. This employer would then rearrange the schedule to squeeze the new hires in, bumping loyal workers out of hours, and justifying it by manipulating bookings and giving regular customers of the loyal workers to the new hires.

Once again, this employer ran a small business and was a control freak; manipulative and micromanaging the employees. This employer would also take the same petty, vindictive actions complained about by employees after they brought up an issue or complaint; all the while claiming that it was something that "never would be done." 

There was enough self-centered policies and vindictive actions against employees from this employer, that many employees never wanted to even see this boss on the premises, and were in total misery whenever this person made an appearance, especially because they were underpaid. 

Many left disgruntled, several sending in letters of complaint that this boss ignored, even after at least one of these letters circulated to all the other employees, embarrassing this boss with the realization of not being liked. Other employees were later told the propaganda that their co-workers left for a variety of reasons, and that it was never the same; when in reality, the workers did communicate with each other, and the sentiment was the same across the board.

Boss#3 was a seemingly jovial, fun person, but secretly, a manipulator, who apparently thought employees were too stupid to see through these antics. This was the boss that was always joking around, and had the big booming laugh that could be heard several offices away. However, this boss was extremely cheap, and cut corners in supplies and business practices that didn't go unnoticed by customers. This employer was extremely unprofessional.

And although this boss could recognize skills in the employees, and always talked about how great "we" could be, there was never any "we" involved in the pay scale, even if employees produced more for the business. There were many promises made of compensation for extra marketing or products sold, but those promises were empty and self-serving. 

The reality was that this boss unpaid, and sought ways like Boss #2, to undermine employees and justify taking pay from them. This employer did not care about employees until the issue of a benefit for the boss came up. The catch phrase of this boss was, "What's in it for me."

Boss#4 was generally a nice guy. However, this boss really had no business acumen. This boss claimed that the business was purchased because of a seen business opportunity by this employer. The reality was that the bosses parents bought the business to keep their somewhat spoiled child occupied. This boss wanted the business to succeed without spending any money. 

Therefore, the business looked like it needed an overhaul, particularly due to the service oriented industry this business was in. There was no visual appeal in the locations, and the supplies were often old, beat up or damaged, and certainly not professional.

Additionally, because of lack of organization, the employee schedule was in constant flux; partly because of unprofessionalism among certain of the employees, and partly due to the passive attitude of the boss. When replacements were needed, this boss played the woeful lost pup, and whined about what services wouldn't happen on those occasions, or the possibility of having to close early due to low staffing, in order to manipulate other more reliable employees into filling in. Yet the unreliable employees were still scheduled regularly as opposed to hiring more reliable people.

These are just a few examples of people I have worked for and how they treated me and my co-workers. I lost respect for most of them, which made it all the more difficult to look them in the eye, or pretend that I enjoyed having a conversation with them.

When you are a person that is direct in your communication, and more real in your personality, it can be a real struggle to fake it around people who you have no respect for, and who have some measure of authority over you. How do you manage this without coming off as phony?

I know that forgiveness is a daily battle, but how do you battle disgust or loathing a person? After all, we can't like everyone. Perhaps the answer is in changing your position, which brings us back to TD Jakes, who constantly talks about re-positioning yourself. It may seem difficult, but other options may have to be examined, and a plan of action made.

Scripture advises us:

Pro 16:7 When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Hbr 12:14 Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

But in the interim of even taking action to change your situation, you still have to deal with the individual(s) that may disgust you, aggravate you, and make you generally nuts. It's unfortunate, but it seems to me that the best way to keep your sanity in a situation like that where you are clearly disgruntled, is to simply come in, do your job, and go home. Limit your communication.

 It seems that communication with other coworkers socially will only bring to light that which makes you miserable, and the entire atmosphere will be poisoned with negative conversations. If there are unhappy people, conversations about it won't really change the situation, and it's best to focus in on what your purpose in that situation is, and leave immediately without involvement in other topics. The statement I've heard often is, "I'm just here to do my job, and then go home. I don't want to get involved in anything else."

Until you are physically able to change the miserable circumstance you may find yourself in, this might be the only way to get yourself through. Focus on doing what's necessary, and on your plan, and work it out.