Thursday, December 20, 2007

mr Mark

I was talking with Ron S and mr Mark at the front desk yesterday. The three of us were joking about playing hockey a dozen years earlier. I reminded Ron how I'd kicked his ass in a race on the ice back in the day but he said I had it all wrong. We were both a couple of hacks but In closing our conversation I replied that there was a labor/management war going on around here and that I couldn't be seen talking with them. A totally tongue-in-cheek remark. I didn't think anything else of it.

I was sitting in the area a couple hours later waiting to go home when mr M came up to me, leaned in and said softly, "I have never disrespected you as a controller." I didn't know what to think as I wasn't sure where he was coming from. A couple minutes later he came up to me once again and repeated what he'd just said. I asked him what he was referring to. He said that I was disrespectful when I was talking with Ron and him. He said that if I had a problem with the way things were going around here that I should write my letters and do whatever but that he wasn't to blame. Oh, I see where this is coming from. I totally disagreed with his approach and although he wasn't making sense I was able to understand how his angry mind was working.

A couple months earlier I'd had a conversation with mr Mark about the imposed work rules; management calls it a contract. What I did without realizing it at the time was committing a fundamental sin against mr Mark. You don't disagree with him. I'd heard several others say this in the past but I'd not seen it or experienced it directly. Mr. Mark had been waiting for his opportunity to try and put me back in my place. My conversation with him and Ron was apparently the moment he'd been waiting for.

It was (my) Friday afternoon and I was on my way out the door when mr Mark laid that on me. I wasn't sure what to make of it. I contemplated his comments on my way home trying to make sense of it. Was I really disrespectful? Maybe I wasn't getting it. I picked up the phone when I got home and called Ron at work to ask him if he felt I was being disrespectful. He laughed and thought I was joking. I told him I was joking earlier when the three of us were talking but that I wasn't now. Ron said, "absolutely not, Kevin". He said there was nothing disrespectful about anything I'd said. That's what I thought. I told him not to mention the situation as I didn't want to make an issue of it.

This morning I was riding my rollers and still thinking about the comments mr Mark had made to me. I interrupted my workout and decided to call him at work and see if he could elaborate more as to how I'd disrespected him. I called the desk and he answered. I politely told him that I was troubled by what he'd said yesterday and that I disagreed with his interpretation of our discussion with Ron. His response was that he felt disrespected and that's all that mattered. I told him that there was no disrespect intended and he said it didn't matter; just that he felt disrespected. I said that it was his choice; he could believe what he wanted but that he was wrong.  I was bewildered because my comments were directed at Ron in the first place and not at mr Mark. If Ron wasn't feeling disrespected by my poking fun at him then how was it that mr Mark took it the way he did? 

I climbed back on my bike and tried my best to work off my frustration but to be honest, I wasn't very successful.

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