Last week we had a trainer in our office from out of town. She was conducting several two day sessions with the staff to help us all prepare for the close of our office and the demise of our jobs. She was from a placement service and I participated in the first two-day session.
On day one of the second session she got a call that a close friend had died unexpectedly. She left the conference room and was quite upset in the ladies' room. I heard the crying but actually thought it was someone being silly at the other end of the office. A few minutes later one of the staff came to me and told me I was needed, that the trainer was crying in the bathroom. I went immediately to see how I might help.
Trainer was hysterical and had difficulty getting the words out but enough for me to know there had been a death. When Supervisor (I have told you about her before - see Tissuegate post) came in to see what was going on I instructed her to tell the employees in the training session to go on back to their regular duties, that training was canceled for the day. I then guided Trainer into the conference room for some privacy and to make arrangements for a flight home. For about 20 minutes she was unable to function and I ended up having to take the phone to talk to her boss. I say all that to give you an idea of how dramatic things were for a while and disconcerting for the entire office.
Well, my boss (remember Sheriff?) had gone to the dry cleaner and when she came back it was in the big middle of the drama. One of the employees approached her to tell her what was happening and as she headed for her office the employee said, "They are in the conference room." (in the opposite direction) She did not turn but went straight to her office. In less than five minutes she came out and told her assistant to notify the five employees that were in the training that they were on their own for lunch. She had canceled the boxed sandwich lunches! Can you believe it??? No concern for the distraught guest. No empathy for the staff that had been shaken up by the drama. Nope. Her primary thought was, "If they are not having training then we don't have to provide the lunch." You can imagine how this attitude went over with the entire office.
I ended up driving the trainer back to her hotel and she had a local friend who came to be with her and to take her to the airport. When I got back to the office my boss said, "I am glad you handled that. I just don't have that compassion thing ... I'm missing that gene." Ya think??? My response, "Well, I'm glad I have it."
A little bit later one of the trainees came to me and told me that since she always brought her lunch and she knew lunch was going to be provided for the two days of training she had nothing to eat that day. That is when I learned about the canceled lunches. This employee is in a very tight financial situation and had no money to purchase lunch. I told her that I really did not think it was my place to challenge the decision but that she should go to Sheriff and ask what she suggested. Sheriff's response? "I can give you the $6 to get your lunch but when you go back to training you will not get a lunch provided." Unbelievable!!!!!! The employee declined and went back to her station. I offered to get her lunch when I went out but she declined that as well. I brought back a lunch for her anyway. Glad I have that compassion gene.
7 hours ago