How Lying To My Manager Trashed My Day

*My response is my responsibility.*

I’m at a difficult place in my faith walk lately.  It’s apparent to me when I’m living in the right way, but I’m not always aware when I’ve stumbled or made a mistake.  For so long, I’ve denied my feelings and emotions as weaknesses and liabilities.  I’ve tried to control them, to hide them, to shove them out of sight and mind.  All this effort has caused me to be detatched from my feelings.  There are times, like last Tuesday, when I can tell something is wrong, but I can’t express what I’m feeling.

Most days of the week, I work out of my office, but every Tuesday I travel to the next county to attend meetings with my manager and the supervisor (Kim) that I manage.  I’ve been working for my new manager for about five months now, and she gives me a lot of freedom to perform my job, which I like, a lot.  However, she had blown-off the only scheduled meeting that I have with her for the past three weeks in a row.  So I was a bit upset when I found her sitting in an impromptu meeting with one of the other area managers.  Too much freedom can start to feel like neglect.

Things didn’t get better when I returned to the production floor.  I learned from Kim that there had been some lay-offs there at the manufacturing campus.  Some of those that had been let go were from the quality teams of other departments – my colleagues.  Now I was really upset with my manager.  Why hadn’t she notified me about these lay-offs?  I decided that I definitely needed to meet with her.

Here’s where I started to stumble, although it would take me almost 24 hours until I figured it out.  I left a note on my manager’s desk.  “Hey, it has been a while since we met.  Thought it would be a good idea to touch base.  I’ll be in the building all day.  Give me a call.”  About half an hour later I got the message that she had half an hour for us to meet.

We exchanged some pleasantries and small talk, then she asked, “Did Kim tell you about the lay-offs that happened yesterday?”

“No,” I said.

Why did I say no?  I’ve thought about that a fair amount since then.  It wasn’t a well thought out, carefully calculated response on my part.  I should have seen that question coming – it was what I wanted to talk about – but I was unprepared for it.  I may have thought that I was protecting Kim; it wasn’t really her place to give me that sort of information.  But I think mostly that I was hoping that my statement of ignorance would be embarrassing to my manager.  If the roles had been reversed and I had forgotten to give my subordinate important company information, I would have felt terrible.

If I was looking for that reaction from my manager, I was going to be disappointed.  She related all of the information that Kim had given me earlier without the slightest twinge of regret for my situation (of course she was sympathetic to the poor employees who had been let go).  I now realized that my lie had painted me into a corner.  I couldn’t tell her about the embarrassment I had felt at being out of the loop.  I no longer could ask if she had forgotten me.  We could have used this bad experience as a departure point to building a stronger working relationship.  Instead, after a short summary of what I’d been up to for the past three weeks, I picked up my planner and headed back to my desk.

All that day and on into the night, my spirits slid slowly but surely into a funk.  I was bitter about the way that I had been treated.  I blamed my manager for how I felt.  I knew that holding a grudge does no good, that I needed to forgive, but I couldn’t seem to accomplish that.  Journaling and working out didn’t help the situation either; normally I can rely on those activities to snap me out of my moods, but not this time.

Things got worse once I got home.  Our relationships within my family have been improving over the past few months, especially between my wife and I, but Tuesday night Carol was upset with me for getting home so late from my workout; why hadn’t I called to tell her I’d be late?  More layers dropped on the Dagwood sandwich of garbage that my day had become.

It was all still there when I first opened my eyes Wednesday morning.  I carried it with me into the study as I started to journal.  The answer was almost instantaneous – a statement from the Love and Respect course that I’ve been attending Sunday at my church:

*My Response is my responsibility.*

Understanding the answer took me quite a bit longer.  My funk the previous 24 hours was caused by my lies to my manager.  The passive-aggressive note I had written requesting a meeting and my lie during our meeting, they were the cause of my situation.  I should have been honest with her about the way that I had heard and how that made me feel.  My lie undermined my integrity.

I wrote in my journal, “I’m sorry for my poor choices.  I want to do better.  I’m grateful You’re showing me this aspect of myself.  My ability to compartmentalize my emotions causes me stress that I can’t pinpoint.  Now I know that I need to come to You to help me understand it.  I shouldn’t ignore it – its important.  It’s not a sign of weakness or punishment.  It’s my body’s attempt to communicate with me.  Thank you for Your guidance for me interpretting ( and listening in the first place).”

My mood immediately started to lift, like a thick fog slowly dissapating on an early summer’s morning.  I know I’m back on the right track.  However, I can’t claim to own this wisdom; the fog still obscures the deeper valleys of my soul.  I don’t have any good advice or answers to share you.  I’m still learning from this experience, really just getting started. 

I’m thinking a great deal about honesty.  In fact I’m currently reading a book by Brad Blanton called Radical Honesty – How to Transform Your Life by Telling the Truth.  I believe his book holds some deep Truths, even though I don’t always agree with his delivery of those Truths. 

I’m resolving to be completely honest from this point forward, and that frankly scares me to death.  Honesty means full disclosure; no white lies, no hidden truths, no concealment.  It’s an all or nothing sort of a deal.  You can’t be honest most of the time; lying even very occasionally still makes you dishonest.  At least, that’s the theory.  Can a person be completely open and honest.  More to my selfish point, can I be completely open and honest?  Am I willing to state the truth and then deal with the consequences?  Do I have the strength and courage to always tell the truth?

I’m not sure.  That’s a tough choice.  Still, the alternative, as I learned Tuesday, also holds severe consequences.  Right now, I’m feeling stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

Thank You, Lord.  That’s where the real growth happens.



2 Responses

  1. Jesus told us that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life…

    He also told us that Satan is the Father of lies…

    The direction we need to go and the choices we need to make to get there are pretty clear. Somethimes they’re very, very difficult, but clear !

    You might also enjoy following this link…

  2. I’ve learned over the years that honesty is always the best policy no matter what the end result is. As a child I was taught to tell the truth and let the Lord love you.
    This statement sets your mind and heart free.

    I understand how you felt, to be backed into that corner. You and I have both been in that position so many times it was an endless, daily occurence. But,
    through this badgering I learned a lesson, it brought out one of the Ten Commandments; you do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    You as my Manger, we had a wonderful open door policy as well as a friendship that did not interfer with our jobs. I Thank You for this, you taught me a lot. You always had the time and the patience to teach me from day to day. This I carried over into my leadership role. You were my inspiration.

    Everyone isn’t cut out for leadership positions, this is where the pit falls start. People can make you become someone you really don’t want to be and you don’t realize what you have said and done until later.

    We are all human and learn from our mistakes!

    God knows what is in our hearts.

    Your Friend.

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