Day 08 – Someone who made your life hell, or treated you badly.
Oh, man. As soon as I thought about this I knew exactly who to talk about. We’ll call her “H.”
Shortly after I became a trainer I started training a new employee named H. H was older, had never worked in dispatch and had a very friendly countenance. I initially really liked her. We spent a lot of time working together on call taking skills, general police knowledge, policy, procedure, etc. But it quickly became apparent that all the good intentions in the world were not going to make her a good asset to our team. Dispatching is a job that requires attention to detail and, more importantly, the ability to multi-task and retain information. H could hardly do either. I would train her and train her and train her on a particular aspect of the job, and the next week I had to train her all over again. Not to mention, I had to first convince her that I’d already trained her on it because she had already forgotten. It was incredibly frustrating.
I’m not the type of person that usually brings work home with them, but with H it became impossible. She devoured my life. I tried so hard to help her to succeed and just couldn’t manage. Eventually I started to come home stressed out and spend the day dreading coming to work and facing another day repeating myself and trying to help her while knowing that, while I had to give her a reasonable chance, it just wasn’t working out. This happened shortly after Justin and I were married and it started to drive him crazy too. I recommended termination because I couldn’t in good faith even advance her to her next stage of training. It was a liability to me and the department. It just wasn’t working and I saw it, my supervisor saw it, but she didn’t. Sometimes people recognize a job isn’t working out for them and they make contingency plans. She didn’t, her stubbornness made her believe she could do anything, when obvious (to us) she could not. She fought anything I said. She was finally moved to a different trainer, with similar results. And then another trainer, because heaven forbid we not give her another shot. Usually I agree – sometimes it’s just not a personality match. But with her, there was never very much hope. She fought the whole way, and she was eventually let go. But the entire process completely exhausted me and my new husband, causing many many conversations about what to do and how to do it and how to help her and oh my gosh is she ever going to realize this isn’t working?
I look back at it and realize that she had way too much power over my life, but it wasn’t so much her as it was my desire to help her. I really, really, really wanted her to succeed. To me, her success or failure was directly related to my ability to train. I felt like if anyone failed under my guidance it was my fault, not theirs. I still feel that way sometimes, and it’s something I have to fight. I have to let them have responsibility for their actions. I have to realize that while it is my duty to teach, it is theirs to learn.
Luckily, we survived. Hopefully we’re better for it.