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  • February 18, 2018, 12:26:55 PM

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Author Topic: Here's your office back...awkwardly  (Read 3549 times)

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TurtleDove

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Re: Here's your office back...awkwardly
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2018, 10:08:25 AM »
And, I wouldn't change the title. That's silly. You are a Teapot Manager. Why can't you call yourself that? There's no rule that there can't be more than one Teapot Manager in a company. Interim takes away your authority.

I would think this would be up to the actual company involved here. Maybe the OP is not supposed to have the same authority that Jane had or that other permanent employee Teapot Managers have. We don't know.

rose red

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Re: Here's your office back...awkwardly
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2018, 10:09:53 AM »
I'm also confused how Jane is able to convey her thoughts and feelings if she's on leave. Is the manager keeping in touch with her and passing things around? Or is Jane visiting the office?

Anyway, it still makes for an interesting discussion.

bopper

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Re: Here's your office back...awkwardly
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2018, 10:30:26 AM »
I would have boss talk about the procedure changes,not you...at least at a high level. You can go over the details.
If Jane complains about anything you are doing, then just  say "You need to discuss that with boss. I am doing what s/he told me to work on."

KarenK

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Re: Here's your office back...awkwardly
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2018, 12:31:10 PM »
Snip
Their preference would be for me to stay in the role and Jane to move sideways to something else.
Legally, they have the right to do so, but they know it would end up in a very unhappy employee.
On balance, they agreed that leaving Jane (who is very capable) in a role that makes her happy and looking for other ways to perhaps make use of my skills was best for the organization. I can't say I disagree with them.

(Boss did float the idea of a sideways transfer - Jane did not like the idea at all.)
Snip

No wonder Jane thinks the OP is after her job. If my manager "floated" the idea of a sideways transfer after I returned from leave, I'd probably not be happy, either, and think my replacement was angling for my job.

TurtleDove

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Re: Here's your office back...awkwardly
« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2018, 12:37:22 PM »
Snip
Their preference would be for me to stay in the role and Jane to move sideways to something else.
Legally, they have the right to do so, but they know it would end up in a very unhappy employee.
On balance, they agreed that leaving Jane (who is very capable) in a role that makes her happy and looking for other ways to perhaps make use of my skills was best for the organization. I can't say I disagree with them.

(Boss did float the idea of a sideways transfer - Jane did not like the idea at all.)
Snip

No wonder Jane thinks the OP is after her job. If my manager "floated" the idea of a sideways transfer after I returned from leave, I'd probably not be happy, either, and think my replacement was angling for my job.

Yep - I think the company is handling this very poorly. It is not up to the OP to protect Jane's job - that is up to the company. There is nothing wrong with the OP "angling" for Jane's job - the OP does not owe Jane anything. There *is* something wrong with the way the boss is apparently sharing information with the OP - a temporary employee - especially as it concerns Jane. The company should not be putting the OP in the middle of some sort of power struggle.

flyersandunicorns

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Re: Here's your office back...awkwardly
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2018, 09:26:50 PM »
Jane needs to learn to handle the fact that she took leave and yes, someone could replace her because what were they supposed to do? Get someone in there that would flounder and make a mess of the place so she could swoop in a year later and clean it up?? What an insecure woman, you cannot fix that. You have gone above and beyond. I'm glad that you've impressed the boss and wish you luck in landing the other open position they have!

TootsNYC

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Re: Here's your office back...awkwardly
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2018, 04:09:23 PM »
I think that the only way to make this less awkward is if she decides to make it so. She is returning to her job, you are applying for another one. I really fail to see how a rational person could feel threatened because of it.

Where's the boss in all of this?

Did the boss communicate the stuff about the "temporary" title? Were they even aware? It may be a cultural thing (I come from a minute country in Europe), but here, the person leaving for maternity leave would not be doing any of the decision or demand making and communicating, the immediate boss person would.

As for a title: how about just "teapot manager maternity cover"?

But in the U.S. you wouldn't be covering a 14-month maternity leave.


TootsNYC

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Re: Here's your office back...awkwardly
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2018, 04:13:56 PM »
Quote
(Boss did float the idea of a sideways transfer - Jane did not like the idea at all.)

I can't say I blame Jane for feeling a little threatened. This is not the most effective way to make her feel like her job is safe. (Given your country's laws, I bet EMPLOYMENT is safe, but it sounds like not necessarily the role.)


When Jane comes back, you could add her to your signature block


Outgoing Interim Teapot Manager
(contact Jane Nervous alone after 3/28)

Or,
Outgoing Interim Teapot Manager
(Jane Nervous has returned from maternity leave!
Please include her in all communication. I'll be leaving on 3/28.)

TurtleDove

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Re: Here's your office back...awkwardly
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2018, 04:31:49 PM »
Several posters have asked but I donít see an answer - what does the boss/company say the OPís ďtitleĒ should be? It makes zero sense to me that any employee - let alone a temporary employee - would be allowed to make up her own title. It makes even less sense to me that a temporary employee would be the one to make procedural changes. What does he boss/company have the say about the changes the OP made? Any changes should be presented to Jane as something the *company* did, not a temporary employee!

blarg314

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Re: Here's your office back...awkwardly
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2018, 08:06:33 PM »
Quote
(Boss did float the idea of a sideways transfer - Jane did not like the idea at all.)

I can't say I blame Jane for feeling a little threatened. This is not the most effective way to make her feel like her job is safe. (Given your country's laws, I bet EMPLOYMENT is safe, but it sounds like not necessarily the role.)

Yeah, that stood out to me to. I can definitely understand Jane feeling threatened after her boss talked to her about taking the job away from her and giving it to her substitute. She's not making up a paranoid fantasy here.

However, in your position, I'd stick to being professional. When you send out emails to clients, note that Jane will be returning to the position as of X date, and further communication should be directed to her.

As an aside - your boss may be a lovely person, but hasn't handled things well as a boss. Both the above conversation, and then over-reacting in the other direction with things like insisting that you keep up Jane's personal decorations for *14 months* of leave.



siamesecat2965

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Re: Here's your office back...awkwardly
« Reply #25 on: February 09, 2018, 07:54:32 AM »
Several posters have asked but I donít see an answer - what does the boss/company say the OPís ďtitleĒ should be? It makes zero sense to me that any employee - let alone a temporary employee - would be allowed to make up her own title. It makes even less sense to me that a temporary employee would be the one to make procedural changes. What does he boss/company have the say about the changes the OP made? Any changes should be presented to Jane as something the *company* did, not a temporary employee!

I was wondering this as well. I know I've temped before, and was always told what my title (if any) was. Nor was I able to make any changes to anything. I could make suggestions, but nothing set in stone

White Dragon

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Re: Here's your office back...awkwardly
« Reply #26 on: February 10, 2018, 02:04:32 PM »
OP here - I have more background, and, in the interest of full disclosure, other relevant details

We have an elected board of Directors.
Boss works for the board. He is their only direct employee. All other staff (70 or so) fall under him.

Jane and I are/were boss's assistant. It's a rather unique niche role.
Not only are we privy to a lot of stuff, boss also asks our thoughts and opinions.
We don't have any control whatsoever, but we play 'devil's advocate' and remind him of other factors and details.
It's a position of special trust and rapport.
(It also has its drawbacks - boss has called me twice this morning (Saturday) while I was writing this post.)(Three times.)*

That interaction creates a quasi-social component.
Throughout her leave, Boss made time to check in with Jane and have lunch with her every 3 months or so.
I believe that she expressed her concerns at this time.

Which is why he made sure to keep her office the same and so on.

Someone asked why a 14 month maternity leave.
I started mid-December and we almost immediately went into holiday hours. Neither Jane nor boss would be around, so I didn't get much training.
Real work started in January and Jane started her leave Jan 22.
Baby was late and arrived early Feb.

I was supposed to end on Jan 22. But due to childcare issues, Jane had to wait till baby was 1 before she could put him in care.
That extended my contract.
Add in a massive and complex project and it was decided to hold me over until end of March until (we hope!) the project wraps.

Which is how a normal, 13 month (accounting for overlap before and after the leave) ended up running 15 months.

Title: Boss tends not to think about details like this unless we ask.
Jane wanted it to say temporary and boss agreed. I later got him to reconsider, for operational reasons.

On Jane's return, I did use 'interim' until Jane was back full time. Then I suggested it change to "Administrative Support to Boss and Board". Boss was okay with it. (Jane also suggested I add a phrase pointing others towards her and I added it - and realized I should have already have done so.)

The job: Jane and I

The Board expressed to boss that they prefer my work over Jane's.
They were pretty good about not saying it directly to me, but it was implied.

Boss did speak out of turn and say that he finds my style of support easier to work with than Jane's.
He shouldn't have and we both acknowledge that.

And in Jane's defense - and in the interest of full disclosure - boss and my husband have been friends for 30 years.
In and out of contact over that time, but longstanding friends. (There was a 20 or so year hiatus where they exchanged occasional Christmas cards and that was it, but have since rekindled their friendship.)

Boss and his wife, along with husband and I, socialize together.
Jane knows and - completely reasonably - wonders if this connection will affect boss and I work together.

And yeah, it sort of does. I was reminded this week of how that outside element creeps in and I've resolved to shut it down.
I realize that I haven't done that well and it probably feels to Jane like she's left out.
(When I started last year, I actually didn't know boss nearly as well as Jane did - she definitely had an insider's view that I didn't).

It's complicated.

And finally, an update:

Things are going well (as near as I can tell.)

Jane and I are communicating well and she has been openly appreciative of the notes and information I prepared.

I have asked her which tasks she wants to take over immediately and which ones she wants me to wrap up.
As things come in, I give her the background and let her take it over.

For example:
"That meeting that just wrapped up on Teapot Spout Crack Mitigation? That was an issue brought up by Fergus. He will want to be kept updated on the outcome and his contact information is XXX@YYYY."

It's not perfect - in one case when she took a phone message I had to say "Boss will want to see that." When she said "He's in a meeting, I'll give it to him later," I overruled her "I'm sorry, I missed telling you that that caller is from the Handle Review Agency and is a top priority caller. Boss will want to know right away."

As I said - not perfect but we worked through it.

It's still awkward in parts and hasn't been handled perfectly by any of us, but I think we'll muddle through.



*One call he meant to call a different staff person, the other two were a new booking system that I haven't had a chance to show Jane yet. That's actually on our calendars for Monday.
"I think her scattergun was only loaded with commas and full-stops, although some of them cuddled together for warmth and produced little baby colons and semi-colons." ~ Margo