I am a long term employee of a large social service agency. At one point in time, I had a conflict with a supervisor who was a good friend of our Director of Human Resources. The nature of the conflict was that she wanted me to engage in behaviours against another employee,and I refused. She questioned my level of respect for authority, and I told her that I respected her position and understood that she was the boss, however I was in no way obligated to respect her personally- that kind of respect is earned. She was very upset by this and my "non-compliance". She spread some rumours about me and set me up to look bad in front of my peers.
I am a very high performing individual, who at the time had some learning to do around being too outspoken. I went to my HR director and I vented. In hind sight, I would have done things differently, in terms of framing my thoughts instead of speaking with emotions. I was labelled a squeaky wheel.After several failed attempts to transfer to a different service area, I decided it was easier to leave the agency, than fight against the bad reputation that was preventing me from moving into other service areas. I asked for assistance from my HR department,and no individual came forward with any issues, and non of my performance appraisals were negative. No one had any idea why my transfers were being denied. I quit my job. Several months later, I was offered a part time job within a small program that is part of that same social agency. I decided to take it,as it was in a program I felt I could contribute well to. I was identified as a high performer and got promoted quickly. I disclosed my past issues with my new supervisor and she indicated that she never observed any behaviours that supported this "reputation of being a squeaky wheel".
Recently our program recieved money from the funder to increase service. I applied for one of the supervisory positions. There was a newer member of the team who also applied.She was good friends with the HR director and the supervisor. She was a past employee who had recently been fired from a job, and as a favor, was rehired and given a position without having to apply for it. We both interviewed for the supervisory positions along with 2 other candidates. In my feedback from my interview, I was told by both my supervisor (who was transferring) and my new manager that the HR director, who participated in the interviews had told the other interviewers that she didnt' want me in the position. Both told me that my interview somehow served as redemption, as the HR director now thought differently of me, but I still wasn't hired for the job. The successful candidate is a bully. She tells people to shut up in meetings, she openly gossips about employees, she dresses inappropriately, wearing shirts that reveal her breasts, she talks about "breaking her vagina" when her boyfriend comes to visit.... the list goes on. She had been made privy to the information about my interview, and has now went to the manager and told her that I am insubordinate.
The manager was invited into our supervision meeting and the two of them cut me down, telling me that I need to learn my place and criticized my skills in teamwork. I asked why she wasn't directed to speak to me directly and they reponded vaguely indicating that I am difficult to supervise. They now have a "framework " for dealing with me in supervision and the manager threatened to report to HR that I am continuing with my pattern and that will jeopardize my ability to move up in the agency. I believe my supervisor is threatened by my skill level and is abusing her power as she is aware that I would like to be seen as capable of moving up the ladder.