Thursday, January 6, 2011

Being the Boss

The cleaning lady quit today. Her teenage daughter left the keys on my desk along with an angry letter about how disrespectful I had been to her mother--and me being a minister and all.

She threatened to tell on me.

She had saved up all the memos I had written her mother and she was going to turn them in to the, and I quote:

"Better Bisuness Buro."

I'm relieved. She was doing a terrible job. Even I noticed, and that's saying something.

Even so, I shielded a lot of negative talk from the congregation about her. I've been working for churches for thirty years. In every congregation there's a gray haired cadre of women who are unhappy about the hygiene of the church building. I hadn't even put my books up on the shelf of my office in this present church before one of them came to me with a "real problem." With all the construction going on at the time, it was hard to expect a spic and span facility.

Besides, I didn't care.

As time went on, it was clear even to me that she wasn't getting the job done. Any other employer would have fired her a long time ago. But I worked with her a lot. I didn't want her to lose her job. However, she found a reason to quit when she saw I was going to insist she actually work while she was here.

I hate supervisory work, but it's a necessary evil, I suppose.

I've cleaned a lot of the building these last few days. I like it. It's not hard like, say, being a supervisor.

I like making the building look spiffy. I've written about my ambivilance concerning lavish church buildings, but I also think if we have something, it should be taken care of.

And now I'll be able to write up a better job description for the next person.

Once a member of the church becomes an employee, the relationship changes, and it's hard to be both boss and pastor. I try to have a supervisory committee in place, but it still comes down to me having direct contact with the employees. If this lady had been working somewhere else, she would have come to me to vent, and I would have given her my support.

Now, she'll be venting to someone else about me.

It bothers me. I didn't do anything wrong. In fact, I feel like I was extra patient and kind. I even protected her.

But as in many cases, when you try to be the hero, you're going to be treated like a villain.

Gotta go clean the windows now.