Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: Isilleke on January 17, 2014, 03:41:16 PM

Title: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress) #39 (info + update)
Post by: Isilleke on January 17, 2014, 03:41:16 PM
Ever since I started my job my boss is telling me that I'm too polite and that I have to strengthen my voice since my weak voice makes me seem like a pushover.

I feel that it would be better to make my voice louder (although I have to admit I have no clue how), but as to the politeness I strongly disagree. Yes, he gets them to do much more than I'm able too, but there is also the small fact that he has worked with them for over 4 years and I've only been there 2+ months. He says that they won't respect me since they aren't used to be talked to in that way. (emphasis is his) I don't believe this, but maybe he's right?

Another thing is, that I'm trying out for the military (got through the first round, fingers crossed!) and he's always telling me that these are things that won't work there either. Is this true? Do I really need to toughen up my language and my voice?

I work with workmen if that makes any difference.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: Venus193 on January 17, 2014, 03:48:55 PM
What exactly does "too polite" mean?  If it means you speak grammatically and don't use censorable language he's off his rocker.

If you need to speak more loudly, that can be done. 

http://www.wikihow.com/Talk-Loudly
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: camlan on January 17, 2014, 03:55:57 PM
If you seem "like a pushover," it's probably a combination of things. The words you use, your tone of voice, the volume with which you speak and your overall attitude.

You don't have to start being rude. But you can cut down or eliminate the number of times you say "please" and the like. You can stand with a more authoritarian stance. Speak more firmly, instead of more loudly.

There's "Could you please move this heavy crate over to the loading dock when you get a moment, please?"

compared to:

"Bob, move this crate to the loading dock as soon as you can."

Both are polite. The second one is more authoritative and firm and shows that you know you are the boss and that you expect Bob to simply do what you've told him without questioning. Even if you don't feel sure of yourself, you have to act as though you do.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: Library Dragon on January 17, 2014, 03:57:12 PM
You can speak politely and with authority (here's one article written specifically for women http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2011/10/26/how-to-speak-with-authority-hillary-clinton-michelle-obama/ (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2011/10/26/how-to-speak-with-authority-hillary-clinton-michelle-obama/)).

One trick I learned was to take a deep breath to relax my jaw and lower the register of my voice.  I can speak loudly, but in a deeper voice.  It carries more authority. 

I know you're outside the USA and my experience is in the US Army, but politeness is very much valued in the military.  Speaking respectfully to others of higher or lower rank is expected.   
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: shhh its me on January 17, 2014, 04:08:24 PM
  Can you give a few examples?

You can be so "polite" you give away all your authority.   " I appreciate you're busy today but when you get a moment could you please ......?"  that sounds like a choice to me.  I'd like vs I need .  Can you do this ? vs Do this.

There are times when you don't say please " could you pass me the scalpel   , please " comes to mind. I had a boss once who was a VP and during a meeting with the bank financing the project started making everyone's coffee, that was being too polite.  Because they were on a construction site , she could have either directed someone to make coffees or let everyone get their own but doing the "Do you take cream and sugar?" and serving the coffee routine diminished her to the point the owner stopped her.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: bah12 on January 17, 2014, 04:20:42 PM
I imagine that by saying you are "too polite", your boss is trying to nicely explain that you do not project the confidence and authority you need to get clients, coworkers, etc to respect you and listen to you.  While I don't want to pretend what kind of events are leading him to say this to you specifically, some examples might be saying "Would you mind doing this for me and can you tell me how long it will take you." when you really should be saying "do this by 5pm today". In business, sometimes, we have to be tougher and more direct than maybe what we prefer to be in our social lives.  In addition, you're often going to run into people who will buldoze you to get what they want.  You have to be able to deal with those people and push back without worrying about how "politely" you might come accross.  At the end of the day, it's a balancing act.  You don't want to be rude, but you definitely need to direct, loud, and 'bossy.'

And yes, this is very true of the military.  Even in peacetime operations, the military functions as it might on the 'battlefield', at least when it comes to working climate.  While there has been a lot of improvement in how the lower ranks are treated and shown respect by their leaders, there's a lot more 'direct orders' than there are times when people are going to stop and make sure they haven't said anything that upset you. 

I would talk to your boss and try to get some clarifications on what he's saying and some suggestions on what you can do to improve in his eyes.  It might be that your ethics don't match his or the company you are working for, or it could just be that you need to learn how to project more authority. 
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: artk2002 on January 17, 2014, 04:26:59 PM
As far as the voice is concerned, take a basic acting class. It can also help you with how you come across physically. You should be able to find one at your local adult education center, junior college, university extension, etc. The tools of the actor have a big overlap with the tools of a public speaker. Even if you don't stand up and give presentations, learning how can give you a boost of confidence. I don't know if they have Toast Masters in your country, but if they do, join your local group.

The other thing to do is to examine how you phrase things. As Shh It's Me and Camlan pointed out, giving people choices when they don't really have one feels "nice" but really comes off as weak. Remember this: The other people don't have to like you, they just have to do what you're asking. Or they have to listen to what you're saying. Or whatever is the situation. If you worry about them becoming upset, then you've already lost.

Sadly, women in modern society are socialized to be "nice", to be pleasers. That's likely what's coming through and being noticed by your boss. It's very hard to get rid of, but I'm sure that you can do it with some determination.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: veronaz on January 17, 2014, 04:56:32 PM
Maybe “too polite” isn’t the correct term.

There is nothing wrong with being polite (Please, Thank you, Excuse me)  and using good manners; it’s expected and appreciated in a civil society.

But if you have a soft voice, you need to speak louder and stronger so everyone can hear you.  They shouldn’t have to keep saying “Excuse me?  Pardon?  What did you say?"  Speaking with a strong voice is not rude.

Also, do you preface lots of statements with “Sorry, but……”  If this is the case, work on not apologizing so much when there is nothing to be sorry for.  It makes a person seem weak and timid.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: LEMon on January 17, 2014, 07:10:52 PM
Perhaps tape recording yourself giving directions might help you hear what your boss hears.  It may be tone (the up tone at the end of a sentence that can make a direct request almost a question), the wording (too much softening of what you are asking rather than directness), rather than volume.

I would think that if it is you being too cautious and apologetic, this will be a problem in a direct order type situation such as the military. 

My suspicion (based only on my own character) is that you may ask as we might ask a friend, rather than how one would give directions that need to be followed.  I would have this problem.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: veronaz on January 17, 2014, 08:13:03 PM
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Sadly, women in modern society are socialized to be "nice", to be pleasers. That's likely what's coming through and being noticed by your boss.

Things are not as bad as they used to be, but women are still conditioned to be “nice” and often they fear that disagreeing with someone or saying the wrong thing might upset people.  Well, being upset sometimes is a fact of life and people need to deal with it.

I know someone who always says “I’m sorry” prior to stating a different opinion.  That, in addition to her soft almost inaudible soft voice gets annoying.  But she says she's just trying to be "nice".
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: TootsNYC on January 18, 2014, 12:27:05 AM
Don't get louder; pitch your voice lower, and slow down a tiny bit. Think of your voice as rising out of your gut.

you need "authoritative," not loud. Strong isn't  necessarily loud. And of course you don't want to shout, so you'll want to project more; again, think of your voice as rising not from your through but from the middle of your chest perhaps.
http://www.speakingaboutpresenting.com/delivery/project-your-voice/

http://www.tipsontalking.com/2012/03/how-to-project-your-voice/
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Instead, imagine that the inside of your throat and mouth are large, as large as the room you’re speaking in.  That will cause all the muscles around the inside of your throat to pull away, just as you do when you are yawning.  The bigger the space inside, the bigger the voice outside.
*NEVER* let the end of your sentence rise, w/ that "I'm a question" inflection.

Also watch for the speech patterns everyone is pointing out.

You could try phrases like, "this box needs to be over there; please make that happen" if you don't feel comfortable ordering people around. Then you're not being the bossy one, particularly.

And watch your boss, and listen to him. How does he act w/ the folks you both give directions to? What phrases does he use? Does he use a quick cadence? Practice copying him, then let it slide into your own voice eventually.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: Iris on January 18, 2014, 03:22:29 AM
One thing I have found works is to replace "please" with "thanks".

Rather than "Oh, Bob, can you move the crates please?" which could be interpreted as a request, "Bob, move those crates thanks" maintains some politeness but *assumes* that the action will be carried out.

I also tend to have a high pitched voice. When I want to sound more authoritarian I stop, take a breath, and deliberately pitch my voice slightly lower. Not so I sound like I'm trying to impersonate a man, just speaking more from the diaphragm so that I'm at the lower end of my own natural register.

And POD to the idea of taping yourself.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: Steve on January 18, 2014, 04:07:09 AM
I would like to offer another point of view here:

It might be that the Boss is only used to male management styles. When a woman all of a sudden comes in and starts managing a team, he will not understand her style at all. He will only see the differences, and conclude that "it will not work at all".
Studies show that female management styles are equally effective.

Maybe, instead of changing yourself after 2 months (so you have not been able to prove anything there yet), you need to give yourself some time (and convince your boss to give you some time) and just see if the  staff will respond to your manner of approaching them.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: Isilleke on January 18, 2014, 08:50:37 AM
Thanks everyone!

I believe in my case he's aiming at my being too cautious and apologetic. I do tend to say a lot more "could you" and "thanks for doing this/that", while the rest of my team is more "you will work".
I'll need to work on that and will look into an acting class as well, since that could only benefit me!

It's the second time he said it to be honest and the first time I was just thinking "I don't want to be rude", but I see now that wasn't what he was pointing at.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: shhh its me on January 18, 2014, 10:56:02 AM
Thanks everyone!

I believe in my case he's aiming at my being too cautious and apologetic. I do tend to say a lot more "could you" and "thanks for doing this/that", while the rest of my team is more "you will work".
I'll need to work on that and will look into an acting class as well, since that could only benefit me!

It's the second time he said it to be honest and the first time I was just thinking "I don't want to be rude", but I see now that wasn't what he was pointing at.

Have you been using the actual words "thank for for doing *insert task*"  try just "thanks"  you'll still feel polite.   Think of it like this "could you please pass me the salt"   " thank you, for passing the salt"   its just a bit too much.     "Could" is a question , its how you start if you're asking a favor.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: SamiHami on January 18, 2014, 11:41:09 AM
It's got more to do with bearing and confidence than anything else. I recall a woman at my former place of employment. She was about 5 foot nothin' and had a very high, squeaky voice (I always thought she sounded like Betty Boop). But she was a former officer in the military. She had that bearing and confidence around her. I can guarantee no one teased her about her voice and there was never any question of her authority. She was polite-always-but she was also no-nonsense. She was not shy about telling someone what needed to be done but she wasn't rude about it either. She would just tell them politely with what to do with obvious confidence that they were going to do it. I think that is what you need to work on more than anything else.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: mbbored on January 18, 2014, 12:33:17 PM
Thanks everyone!

I believe in my case he's aiming at my being too cautious and apologetic. I do tend to say a lot more "could you" and "thanks for doing this/that", while the rest of my team is more "you will work".
I'll need to work on that and will look into an acting class as well, since that could only benefit me!

It's the second time he said it to be honest and the first time I was just thinking "I don't want to be rude", but I see now that wasn't what he was pointing at.

Being too apologetic can definitely come across as lacking authority. Try to avoid apologizing or saying you're sorry unless something is actually your fault.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: TootsNYC on January 18, 2014, 04:30:29 PM
Re: the cautious and apologetic idea:

I think you'd really benefit from thinking of this as "the job needing something" or "the team needing something" and not "me personally asking someone."

You're the person in charge of keeping an eye on what needs to happen, so therefore you see it.  They're the people in charge of doing it, so you alert them to stuff they don't know but would *want* to know.


Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: CookieChica on January 18, 2014, 09:29:55 PM
Ironically, I think your boss was being too polite in his feedback. But I'm glad you're understanding the crux of it.

Not sure what type of work you do but this is something we coach lots of women on where I am. Appearing too timid is a huge barrier to most career progression.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: JeanFromBNA on January 18, 2014, 11:27:54 PM
I've found that men don't think the same way about direct orders as (many) women do.  Men tend to be focused on the objective, and less on the message.  "Please do this by 5 PM" is fine. 
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: Arila on January 20, 2014, 01:29:16 PM
You could also try toastmasters. Yes volume is important as well as projection.

I also had to start rephrasing things at work. Many times there's a bit of a polite fiction that things people 'request' are optional, but they are really required. I was asked once to re-write an email which 'ordered' something to be done rather than 'requested' something to be done, because it was seen as optional, and they were having trouble exercising that authority.

My dad also has this annoying habit (and I've picked it up, apparently) of phrasing things as preferences "Do you want to wash the dishes?" The answer of course is "NO" no one EVER wants to do dishes...but will I? Yes. Yes, I will.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: SCMagnolia on January 20, 2014, 03:32:13 PM
Basic manners and being kind are never out of place.  Manners, politeness, and kindness show respect, not weakness.  On that, I think your boss is quite mistaken.

However, if you speak softly or you have a little-girlish sounding voice and you end all your sentences with that little upward lilt that sounds like you're asking a question even when you are making a statement, then yes, I can see how you would come across as less than confident and that can translate across in the workplace as less than capable.

Your posture and body language can also say a lot.  If you use a little girl stance with your toes or knees turned inwards and look at the floor, for example, you will look less than confident. 

I agree with taking the acting class or any kind of vocal coaching class.  I've also seen classes on communication skills for women that might be helpful.

Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: MissRose on January 21, 2014, 06:54:23 AM
I'd rather err on being too polite vs not being that way.  I know some people have said I use terms like please, thank you, ma'am and sir too much in my verbal communication with customers.  But I think part of it was the fact that I've spent some time around those who grew up and/or spent a good deal of time in the Southern US & military where using those terms and a certain level of politeness is excepted.  I sometimes overhear fellow co-workers who do not use much if any of the terms I've referenced beyond maybe a please and a thank you one time per call.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: camlan on January 21, 2014, 07:01:12 AM
I'd rather err on being too polite vs not being that way.  I know some people have said I use terms like please, thank you, ma'am and sir too much in my verbal communication with customers.  But I think part of it was the fact that I've spent some time around those who grew up and/or spent a good deal of time in the Southern US & military where using those terms and a certain level of politeness is excepted.  I sometimes overhear fellow co-workers who do not use much if any of the terms I've referenced beyond maybe a please and a thank you one time per call.

Socially and in some business situations, this is a good idea. But the OP and her boss have both noticed that the workmen do not get as much done when the OP is giving them instructions. That's a problem. The boss's instruction to be less polite was most likely his way of solving the problem.

I don't think the OP has to be rude. But she does need to be seen as an authority figure, someone who has the right and responsibility to give orders and expect to have those orders carried out. You can be polite without using "please" and "thank you."
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
Post by: Isilleke on January 21, 2014, 08:30:26 AM
So, I'm trying to change how I say things. I make sure I don't say too much thank you and try to be just factual.

So my conversations are going more like "you will be doing this at that hour. Is that possible? OK, good, I'll see you then." when before I was more like "can you work from that hour? You can, that's great, thank you very much!"

I don't know if this is correct language, but I'm translating it from my own language. Now to continue working on my standing and my voice!
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
Post by: veronaz on January 21, 2014, 08:53:28 AM
So, I'm trying to change how I say things. I make sure I don't say too much thank you and try to be just factual.

So my conversations are going more like "you will be doing this at that hour. Is that possible? OK, good, I'll see you then." when before I was more like "can you work from that hour? You can, that's great, thank you very much!"

I don't know if this is correct language, but I'm translating it from my own language. Now to continue working on my standing and my voice!

Still not good.

"Joe, I need you to xxxxx at 3:00."  is better.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
Post by: TootsNYC on January 21, 2014, 09:19:29 AM
So, I'm trying to change how I say things. I make sure I don't say too much thank you and try to be just factual.

So my conversations are going more like "you will be doing this at that hour. Is that possible? OK, good, I'll see you then." when before I was more like "can you work from that hour? You can, that's great, thank you very much!"

I don't know if this is correct language, but I'm translating it from my own language. Now to continue working on my standing and my voice!

Still not good.

"Joe, I need you to xxxxx at 3:00."  is better.

Great switch in language, OP.

Here's another thing for your arsenal.

And sometimes, "Joe, this needs to get done at 3:00. Do you foresee any snags?/Do you see any reason it won't?"
So, you're not asking, personally--it's something that needs to happen for bigger reasons than you.

And love the "Good, see you then" switch.

Have you seen any change in their response yet?
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite
Post by: Yvaine on January 21, 2014, 09:28:11 AM
My dad also has this annoying habit (and I've picked it up, apparently) of phrasing things as preferences "Do you want to wash the dishes?" The answer of course is "NO" no one EVER wants to do dishes...but will I? Yes. Yes, I will.

At one of my jobs, where we were all pretty informal and jokey with each other, we actually started answering these questions honestly. Supervisor: "Yvaine, do you want to wash the dishes?" Me: "Nope! But I will!"  ;D
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
Post by: dawbs on January 21, 2014, 10:40:13 AM
OP, you also might find that focusing on some of the non-verbal language helps too (and makes the verbal language sound more firm--both in how you speak and in how it's perceived).

I work with (supervise) young people who are often at their first job, they're in a quasi-authoritative position, and the position attracts young people who are going into elem. education (who, if I'm going to egregiously make a gross stereotype, tend to be a particularly soft-spoken lot)--and when needed, we have mini-sessions of "Dawbs's lessons on commanding authority/assertiveness/dealing w/ creepy people (or people who claim they don't take direction from women well)"

What your parents tried to teach you about good posture is a good place to start--shoulders square, straight spine, don't slouch.

If you're standing while speaking, take a slightly wider stance.  You know the stance people tell you to take if someone keeps pushing their shopping cart into your heel?  when you take a 1/2 step forward but still have your leg behind you?  do that.   (this is opposite of what young ladies were taught about good posture--make yourself take up more space!)

If someone is questioning your authority/being creepy, I find that 'look big' translates well from the animal kingdom--have you arms at your sides, but a little bit farther way than normal, elbows slightly bent, etc.  Not necessarily hands on hips, but hanging loose and wide at the side
(Look, science:  http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/bmag/sbsm0711/kn-dominance.html on the topic :)

Don't be apologetic or, like someone else said, do the 'uptalk' that makes your statement into a question.  You can say please and have it not be a question.  "Don, can you please take out the trash?" can be replaced with "Don, take out the trash please"  Almost the same, minus the question mark--tone of voice makes a difference in that.  And giving the expected deadline as a statement ("I expect X to be done by 3) followed by "is that possible?" or "do you forsee any problems with that?" instead of "can you do this by 3?" is a world of difference

Good eye contact is helpful.

I find looking and posing assertively makes me default to more assertive language --and even if my language doesn't change, the perception does.
(Fake it 'til you make it!)
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
Post by: shhh its me on January 21, 2014, 12:48:28 PM
So, I'm trying to change how I say things. I make sure I don't say too much thank you and try to be just factual.

So my conversations are going more like "you will be doing this at that hour. Is that possible? OK, good, I'll see you then." when before I was more like "can you work from that hour? You can, that's great, thank you very much!"

I don't know if this is correct language, but I'm translating it from my own language. Now to continue working on my standing and my voice!

Still not good.

"Joe, I need you to xxxxx at 3:00."  is better.

Translating may be altering it a bit so I would advise getting second opinions in the actual language.

but my suggestion would be "  I have you scheduled doing X from hour 1 to hour 2. Please, confirm that there are no conflicts.1 Reply to via email to acknowledge 2"  , "Yes, I am available and will do Task. "   ,  Very good , I'll see you then."

AS it is you're still asking . now if you are actually asking if they are availing use 1  if are asking for a reply use 2
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
Post by: veronaz on January 21, 2014, 02:10:40 PM
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AS it is you're still asking

That was the problem I saw. 
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
Post by: shhh its me on January 21, 2014, 02:44:12 PM
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AS it is you're still asking

That was the problem I saw.

Exactly.  Since OP is using a translator , I'm not sure what "Is this possible?" is asking(is it asking for reply? to inform OP of conflicts?asking an opinion if task can be completed in that time frame or actually asking "can you do this?")   But you're right "is that possible?" leave room for "no , that's not possible"
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
Post by: TootsNYC on January 21, 2014, 04:21:05 PM
Then again, "not possible" doesn't mean "I don't want to"; it means "It's not possible"--something like "It cannot be done," perhaps because "  won't be finished with the other job by then"; "The missing part won't have arrived yet" or "I don't have the certification to do that job."

We use "It's not possible" here at EHell to really mean "I don't want to," but that isn't actually what it means. Especially not through a translation program.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
Post by: shhh its me on January 21, 2014, 08:07:39 PM
Then again, "not possible" doesn't mean "I don't want to"; it means "It's not possible"--something like "It cannot be done," perhaps because "  won't be finished with the other job by then"; "The missing part won't have arrived yet" or "I don't have the certification to do that job."

We use "It's not possible" here at EHell to really mean "I don't want to," but that isn't actually what it means. Especially not through a translation program.

Yes Toot I know "I don't want to " is an Ehell use of "not possible".   I'm asking if she intends to ask "is this possible?" or is she politely saying "confirm this appointment" or something in between. 
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress) #33 (additional background)
Post by: Isilleke on January 21, 2014, 11:04:27 PM
OP here.


To answer the question about the "is it possible". I try to give them as little room as I can, but the thing is, I work with unemployed people. When a big company doesn't have enough people, they call us and we look for people to fill in. Most of the time they are willing to reschedule (since working means about 3 to 4 times the amount of money they would have received otherwise), but I recognize that's not always possible.

Which is why I feel uncomfortable about giving them no choice at all.


I have started to be more firm and to let people know when something's bothering me. E.g. one out of two weeks I'm responsible for getting people out of bed and to their jobs. Before when they didn't answer I didn't call them on it, now I do. (And yes, I think it's very strange I have to call grown men out of bed because they can't be bothered otherwise.)
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
Post by: SCMagnolia on January 30, 2014, 09:44:55 AM
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E.g. one out of two weeks I'm responsible for getting people out of bed and to their jobs. Before when they didn't answer I didn't call them on it, now I do. (And yes, I think it's very strange I have to call grown men out of bed because they can't be bothered otherwise.)

It's not just very strange, it is absolutely ridiculous.  You aren't their mother.  Getting out of bed and getting to work is THEIR responsibility, not yours, and if they can't do it, I am sure there are quite a few other people that will. 

Same with giving them an option about a job.  If they really want the job, they'll take it.  If not, someone else will.  There are plenty of people in this country looking for work.  Those that are serious will take the job you call them about, get out of bed, and be on time without any additional prodding/assistance from you.  Those that aren't serious will hem and haw about the job, sleep in, and skip work.  It's not your responsibility to rescue people from their own irresponsible behavior.

Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
Post by: shhh its me on January 30, 2014, 10:29:32 AM
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E.g. one out of two weeks I'm responsible for getting people out of bed and to their jobs. Before when they didn't answer I didn't call them on it, now I do. (And yes, I think it's very strange I have to call grown men out of bed because they can't be bothered otherwise.)

It's not just very strange, it is absolutely ridiculous.  You aren't their mother.  Getting out of bed and getting to work is THEIR responsibility, not yours, and if they can't do it, I am sure there are quite a few other people that will. 

Same with giving them an option about a job.  If they really want the job, they'll take it.  If not, someone else will.  There are plenty of people in this country looking for work.  Those that are serious will take the job you call them about, get out of bed, and be on time without any additional prodding/assistance from you.  Those that aren't serious will hem and haw about the job, sleep in, and skip work.  It's not your responsibility to rescue people from their own irresponsible behavior.

Wait we dont know what OPs job is , some "life skills/training" classes , service providers do help people just get to work.

I think asking if someone is available for temp assignments is appropriate.  The wording may still need to be firmer.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
Post by: veronaz on January 30, 2014, 11:34:59 AM
Quote
E.g. one out of two weeks I'm responsible for getting people out of bed and to their jobs. Before when they didn't answer I didn't call them on it, now I do. (And yes, I think it's very strange I have to call grown men out of bed because they can't be bothered otherwise.)

 ??? :o

That is outrageous, but I want to make sure we understand.

OP, exactly what do you mean when you say you’re “responsible” for doing these things?

Do you have to call them and offer a job and give details so they can accept or refuse?

OR

Do you have to call them and wake them up, go to their home and physically get them out of bed, and physically take them to work?  And is that written in your job description?
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
Post by: SPuck on January 30, 2014, 01:34:52 PM
Isilleke, I would like to know more about what you do for a living, but when it comes to speaking "Are you available on A, B, and C dates at X, Y, and Z times" is a firm response that does give your clients wiggle room. If they reject your times that is their choice.
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress)
Post by: Isilleke on January 30, 2014, 02:29:27 PM
Hi everyone

since there seems to be much confusion about what I do, it basically comes down to this.

We have clients and they call us when they don't have enough workmen. Then we call some of our guys and tell them "this job tomorrow, those are the hours, can you do it." (Except I shouldn't say can you do it)

The ones who are going to work that day, we call about an hour before they have to start working, to see if they are up and/or ready to go. If they aren't responding, we have to make sure that we have a backup plan.



Now for a positive update
I did get a compliment about my wording this week. My boss said that I seemed to be working here for years (instead of 3 months) the way I talked at the phone that day, so that's a good thing!
Title: Re: Boss says I'm too polite #24 (progress) #39 (info + update)
Post by: veronaz on January 30, 2014, 03:29:48 PM
OP, I appreciate your clarification.  However, it changes the picture considerably.  You are not “responsible for getting workers out of bed”.  You make a confirmation call to assure they are going to report to work.  That is very different.  When you call, they may/may not actually be “in bed”.

I know someone who used to work in the scheduling office of a labor pool.  He did the same thing – not fun but not unreasonable.  It was part of the job.