This negotiation happened over the course of a few conversations, which helped by splitting the process into bite-size chunks. When I applied to a certain fast food restaurant, I knew that they would want me to work on registers (they did). However, I had been a cashier before and knew that it was difficult for me because I am deaf in my right ear. As a result, I decided beforehand that I would ask to work in the kitchen, where I could read off the tickets instead of talking and listening to customers. Because I had spent time planning, I told the hiring manager of my concerns in a well-thought-out manner, and she agreed to my suggestions.
The Problem Arises
After a while, they did put me on registers, but I was willing to try it. It was fine until I was on the far right register. I could hear all the cashiers, but not my customers, because they would stand more towards my right. As a result, my shift was frustrating because I had to ask customers to repeat themselves or stop ringing in order to read their lips.
After the shift, I talked with my manager again, reminding her that I was deaf in my right ear (she had forgotten by then). I explained the problem, emphasizing that it decreased the quality of the customer experience in order to demonstrate that I understood the manager's point of view. I asked to always be on a left register. My manager was sympathetic and said that she would talk to the scheduling manager to ensure I am on the left. In order to clarify my next step, I asked what I should do if I was assigned to the right register again, and my manager said to let her know.
A couple weeks later, I was assigned to the right register because that was the only register available. I immediately went to my manager and gently reminded her of our conversation and asked to switch with someone on the left. She talked to the cashiers and switched me to the left side. After we finished, I explained to my coworker why we had switched because she was confused. Once she understood, she was extremely understanding. It is important to clear up misconceptions of each other's intentions in order that all can understand the situation. Because I did not get accusatory or make unreasonable demands, but instead calmly reminded people of my situation and made some allowances, I was able to come to an agreement that worked for everyone.
See Facts About Negotiation in SESSION FOUR and some helpful videos. To choose another personal conflict resolution session click on Personal Alternatives to Violence Guide.
Submitted by Hannah Yackley
John Looney Intern 2015