Tuesday, May 01, 2007

"All My Children," chapter 2

I work in a small plant. "Small" is relative, I know. In this case it's defined as fewer than 120 employees.

Like a small town, little that's done by an employee goes unnoticed. Especially those things that involve at least one other employee.

Martha (not her real name) and John (not his, either) were both married, but not to each other. John began seeing Martha after work, and over time Martha decided to leave her husband and take up with John on a more permanent basis. Her divorce recently became final. John, who enjoyed having AND eating the proverbial cake, told Martha he too would divorce but never did.

Last weekend John and Martha had a less-than-amicable parting of the ways. Yesterday at work, little time elapsed before things came to a head.

First Martha was in my office telling me of being threatened over the weekend and subsequently calling the police. Nothing came of the threats, but she now felt vulnerable at the plant and wanted assurances that "we" would keep John away from her.

I asked John's supervisor to bring John to my office next to hear his version of events, and to guage his emotional state. But no; it seemed John had come to work on time, but had then alleged illness and gone home for the day.

This morning though, I had my time with John. He assured me that he was neither angry nor belligerent, and would be happy to have no contact with Martha at the plant for the next few weeks. I suggested to him the it would be a good idea to do just that. I was careful not to take sides, nor to assume that it wasn't really Martha who was playing the aggressor, trying to get John in trouble. You never know!

For now we seem to have a truce. At least, at the plant. What happens off the plant site is out of my control, and none of my business.

Martha wanted me to ask John for her house key, because, she said, "I know he won't give it to me." I did not accept that assignment, but rather advised her to change locks as soon as possible since there was no way of telling how many copies he might have made. I do not intend to be an intermediary nor an arbiter.

No, these employees are not (chronologically) high-school age; they are both in their 40s.

That fact did not stop me from wanting very badly to tell them both to "Grow up!"


Karyn Lyndon said...

I didn't know you worked on the set of a soap opera...As The Sea Drifts.

If you don't have a no fraternizing policy, maybe you should get one.

kenju said...

Isn't that over and above your job description?

Anonymous said...

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I agree with you not getting involved and hope that you have heard the last of their problems.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

Peter said...

Peyton Place hey John, good idea to not get involved.

Candace said...

You are a wise man!

Anonymous said...

There is added baggage to being in management. Not always pretty or enjoyable.

Duke_of_Earle said...

To all the above:

Yeah, this goes with the territory of HR management. Intervention to prevent either workplace violence or workplace disruption really is part of my job. As I'm frequently reminded, that's why they pay me those "big bucks." (Perception of the non-management types, a few of whom last year earned more money including overtime than I did!)


Anonymous said...

You could add marriage and family counseling to your resume.

It sounds like it was a little messy. Good that you kept your sense of humor.

Christina said...

Oh. Brother.

I can't believe she asked you to get her keys back for her. I would never ask my boss to help me with a breakup. As you know, I don't agree with "no fraternizing" policies. What people do on their own time is their own business. But if these two bring their shit to work and it affects their performance, they should be disciplined. They made the mess, they should be held accountable if they can't do their jobs properly. (In my humble opinion.)

Monica said...

First, it's a good thing you have two newer posts so maybe people won't notice this.

I read through this twice. She got the divorce, he didn't, right? It's always been my firm belief that a single person who cheats with a married person is cheating. A LOT of people in blog land don't agree with that. It boggles my mind. But I believe if a single person doesn't respect a marriage vow, they won't respect their own.

But then, I'm single and have been displayed as the "bad guy" in a triangle with a single man, a married woman and myself.

I choose to no longer date anyone outside of my own home town. :)

As for YOU? I LOVE that you are a guy who is crazy about his wife...that's why you are on my blogroll...that and your writing. :)