Author Topic: UPDATE pg 1,4,5: How to avoid socializing with subordinates outside of work  (Read 19364 times)

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HorseFreak

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Quick background: I have posted about this woman before. I will try to dig up the thread, but to make a long story short she is pretty incompetent at her job, often has a poor attitude and demands to be taught procedures. For example, "I need you to show me how to do Z with X and Y. Are you busy? Can we do it right now?" I think the demands are just poor social skills, but they drive me nuts. She wants to teach my students how to do these procedures, but I'm pretty sure I'll never be comfortable with that or so busy that it's necessary. Besides, I have an intern for that. She has improved recently with much coaching, but I'm too distracted with another huge training issue to worry about her.

The problem: She wants to be friends and hang out outside of work. I REALLY don't want to. First, she doesn't know I have recommended her termination and I feel funny acting buddy-buddy at home and having to be a supervisor at work. I don't think she can handle the division. I feel bad since she expressed she doesn't have any friends in the area except her husband and his friends, but it's not my responsibility to be her social circle. Second, she never shuts up. It's hard to find a break in conversation to escape and I can only take 5-10 minutes of her at a time before nails on a chalkboard sounds more appealing. Finally, I'm introverted as heck and I really need my time alone with my cat at night to wind down after interacting with people and teaching all day. It's incredibly draining and exhausting and spending my precious spare time with her makes me want to weep.

She has really started pushing being buddies this weekend and I'm too much of a spineless wimp to just say, "No." I had an out last night since I had to go in for an emergency. Unfortunately, it passed away immediately before I arrived and she discovered that I was free last night this morning. I passed it off as hanging out checking on my other patients for a couple hours and going home and right to bed. She looked really hurt and kind of angry that I didn't call her right up. I have told her that I really need to wind down or work out when I get home, but I don't think she grasps that I need ALONE time.

Any suggestions for avoiding becoming her one friend while at the same time preserving a tensionless working environment? I'm too darn nice for my own good sometimes and I know I can be a complete doormat to avoid confrontation which I'm working on. :)
« Last Edit: July 07, 2012, 09:53:10 PM by HorseFreak »

O'Dell

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Re: How to avoid socializing with subordinates outside of work
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2011, 08:50:21 PM »
Do you socialize with other coworkers? If not, then tell her that you like to keep work and personal time separate.

Or be honest about your real reason that you can tell her...that you need time alone...away from work and coworkers.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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ShadesOfGrey

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Re: How to avoid socializing with subordinates outside of work
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2011, 08:59:35 PM »
If she's truly a subordinate, tell her you just dont think it's appropriate.

Tell her that you really need your alone time after work.

Tell her that you keep professional and personal lives separate. 

Tell her that you arent really interested/have other plans every.single.time.

how does it usually come up? does she ask you if you want to grab a drink after work?
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

HorseFreak

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Re: How to avoid socializing with subordinates outside of work
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2011, 09:13:09 PM »
If she's truly a subordinate, tell her you just dont think it's appropriate.

Tell her that you really need your alone time after work.

Tell her that you keep professional and personal lives separate. 

Tell her that you arent really interested/have other plans every.single.time.

how does it usually come up? does she ask you if you want to grab a drink after work?

I think I might go with the "I need alone time" line since it's completely true. She brings it up via text or directly to my face at work while we're chatting. I'm going to have to seriously cut back on the non-work chatter since I think it's leading her on. The only problem is she is kind of aggressive about it and doesn't seem to quite get social cues that would make most people drop the topic. It's a fine line between hurting her feelings by being direct and hurting her feelings by trying to sidestep the attempts. She's dying to be friends with a person who's also interested in her hobby, but I'm an expert in said hobby and her lack of understanding on a technical aspect grates on me.

My mom taught me to be way too nice and it's showing. Sway, I socialize with only one other coworker and he was previously my supervisor (but our levels were MUCH closer together) and now I've been promoted to his level. She's only aware of us going to lunch together, but nothing outside of work. I would have actually been a little more open to "let's get Chinese for lunch today" but she's come on too strong and I want to bolt.

Sharnita

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Re: How to avoid socializing with subordinates outside of work
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2011, 09:29:42 PM »
lol, I have the opposite problem.  My superior wanting to carpool to a conference or inviting some of us to share a drink.  The person with the power to evaluate me is not somebody I want to spend that kind of down time with. It makes me feel like I am "on the job" even when I am not.

gramma dishes

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Re: How to avoid socializing with subordinates outside of work
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2011, 09:39:08 PM »
I think any of Digital Pumpkins ideas would be fine.

And you're absolutely right.  It is not your responsibility to provide her with a social network.  If she can make friends at work who are closer to her level, fine.  If the only friends she has are her husband's friends, then so be it.  (Maybe there's a reason for that.)  But it's not your problem.

Don't feel guilty about not wanting to socialize with her, especially in your 'off hours'.  Honestly, it would be quite inappropriate for you to do so because of the differences in your relative positions in the workplace.

bopper

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Re: How to avoid socializing with subordinates outside of work
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2011, 10:30:04 AM »
"Annoyingwoman, I just realized something.  I know that I am an Introvert and you are most likely an Extrovert.  Being an Introvert, I need downtime alone especially after teaching and interacting with people all day. That is how I recharge my batteries, so to speak.  As an Extrovert, you recharge your batteries by being around other people.  So don't take it personally, but even though I am free tonight I won't be getting together with you as I need time to just chill.  "

camlan

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Re: How to avoid socializing with subordinates outside of work
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2011, 02:10:54 PM »
"Sorry, AnnoyingCoworker, but I have plans tonight."

Eating dinner by yourself, petting your cat and vegging out in front of the TV or computer--that equals plans. Just repeat as needed.

"Sorry, AnnoyingCoworker, but I have plans tomorrow night. And the next night. And this weekend."
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


pierrotlunaire0

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Re: How to avoid socializing with subordinates outside of work
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2011, 04:12:54 PM »
I have been discussing some issues with my mentor (what? E-hell is a mentor), and she really discouraged socializing with subordinates.  She said it is a very tricky path to maneuver, and I am going to try her advice.  I do know that I need some alone time in order to be able to function, so it was kind of several factors.
I have enough lithium in my medicine cabinet to power three cars across a sizeable desert.  Which makes me officially...Three Cars Crazy

TootsNYC

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Re: How to avoid socializing with subordinates outside of work
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2011, 09:53:52 PM »
If she's truly a subordinate, tell her you just don't think it's appropriate.


Tell her it's not fair to her. That since you supervise her, it would mean that she has to be too careful of what she says and does, because her boss is right there. That's what's most likely to get her to stop.

And it might help her to see you as more scary, and she might be more respectful of you on the job.

jimithing

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Re: How to avoid socializing with subordinates outside of work
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2011, 10:04:45 PM »
I think it's pretty common for supervisors to not socialize with their employees outside of work. I would just take that tact, that you have a policy to not do that. End of story.

HorseFreak

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Re: How to avoid socializing with subordinates outside of work
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2011, 10:21:00 AM »
I think part of the problem might be solved since she's "mad" at me. Annoying Annie today started telling me what my intern would and would not be doing in the future in regards to support for a certain complicated procedure and stated that she was going to a training lab that day to learn how to fill that role since Intern shouldn't have to do it. She also told me to call her in if we have to do it after hours so she could learn. I told her, "No, Intern needs to do [procedure] and learn how to do it well. It is a huge part of her job. You are not licensed to perform [that procedure]." She got mad and huffed off.

I think she thinks she's making me happy by being proactive and learning new things, but really she's just pissing me off by stepping outside her legal boundaries to do the fun things, while repeatedly telling me she isn't planning on getting licensed any time soon. This woman does not need the social-work line blurred any further and I plan to significantly reduce my chatting with her to a strictly "necessary to be polite" basis. Becoming comfortable with me does not mean you get to decide the parameters of your job and what I let you teach my students.

still in va

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Re: How to avoid socializing with subordinates outside of work
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2011, 12:21:38 PM »
Horsefreak, you say you have recommended her for termination.  is she to be terminated soon?  that would solve one problem for you. 

HorseFreak

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Re: How to avoid socializing with subordinates outside of work
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2011, 12:32:19 PM »
Horsefreak, you say you have recommended her for termination.  is she to be terminated soon?  that would solve one problem for you. 

Unfortunately not. Our department head thinks she's just a "nice young lady" and doesn't have to work directly with her. He's over his head and is pretty ineffective. HR doesn't do much except process what the individual departments ask for.

HorseFreak

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Re: How to avoid socializing with subordinates outside of work
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2012, 01:43:34 PM »
I have an update to this saga: Annie hasn't really improved all that much in the last few months and it came to a head last week. She put me in a seriously dangerous situation due to her lack of attention span and her burning desire to do everything the students do and I ended up with a very mild injury to my head that could have been fatal in slightly different circumstances. I yelled when it happened and she didn't even know I had been hit until I told her what happened since she was looking at something else away from where she should have been! No apology, no real concern, which I think might be a defense mechanism to try to stay out of trouble by downplaying the severity of the situation.

I was so shocked I kind of let it go at first, then a couple days later there was a close call while she was admittedly daydreaming. No one was hurt thankfully. Even against my mother begging me to "be a friend" and sit her down and talk to her first I sent a memo to and had a meeting with Boss and Big Boss about it. I'm done being nice since she can't focus long enough to do these basic tasks that put me in a seriously compromised position. It would be similar to the person holding wobbly ladder you were standing on saw a butterfly and wandered off chasing it.

I had a meeting with all the people currently in my department who might be involved in safety and had a demonstration about working safely. Annie got teary when I demonstrated and was very clear to the whole group that leaving your post for even a second is Not Acceptable, including acting out some of the very dangerous things she had been doing. No names were named, but I think she went off to cry after. Annie's extreme sensitivity is no longer my problem and never should have been. I have become aware she does have some diagnosed mental conditions that make performing these tasks more difficult, but it's beyond any accommodation we can make for this position. I won't say more to avoid legal territory, but we're completely covered in that respect. We will be having a meeting with the department and her about her performance soon with clear-cut expectations of her performance. If these are not met she will be demoted to only the duties she currently thinks are beneath her. This ought to be interesting because she cries at the drop of a hat and simultaneously has a pretty awful entitlement complex about what she thinks she should be allowed to do. I don't think she realizes that she probably would have been fired by now if I weren't here as a buffer. 

I am still way too darn "nice" for my own good. Annie has shown up at my door twice in the last month after I didn't answer my cell when she called. I need to start refusing to answer or turning her away. I have been working 70+ hours per week and she doesn't get that I'm too exhausted to entertain her. In addition, she cannot separate work and personal life. It never should have gone this far. I'm being put in a tough management position and I am in no way qualified or have the personality to be a manager.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 01:46:00 PM by HorseFreak »