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### Author Topic: "Dumb" insolence  (Read 14741 times)

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#### jedikaiti

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• A pie in the hand is worth two in the mail.
##### Re: "Dumb" insolence
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2012, 12:19:06 AM »
I have been trying to document.  The problem is that she is very selective in which emails she will respond to.  If it doesn't suit her she will just ignore the email, which means I have to speak to her in person and there is no record.

I have started writing confirmation emails after these conversations eg " R - to confirm, I am not overly concerned with 5 mins rounding up, I believe this was an honest mistake and is easily rectified. Thank you for drawing it to my attention.  I am however very concerned that you are allowing hundreds of dollars of potential over-payments because you are not checking invoices before passing them for payment"

The trouble with this is that she will bring up the first part of the email as me saying that I am not concerned with overcharging by contractors and ignore the second part completely.   I probably should not have put the first part in but I was insulted and I was angry that she diminishes my responsibilities to being about nit-picking about the odd $5. I have spoken to her boss. I think her boss is part of the problem; they have a very strange dynamic where R behaves like a teenager and her boss scolds her like a child without seeming to realise that the behaviour has very real implications for the business. Can you get request return receipts for all e-mails you send her? Or CC/BCC someone on all emails you send her? Even if they just file them away in a folder and never look at them, you have evidence later, if needed, that a) you sent it, b) what you sent, and c) that whoever it was sent to at the same time got it? What part of v_e = \sqrt{\frac{2GM}{r}} don't you understand? It's only rocket science! "The problem with re-examining your brilliant ideas is that more often than not, you discover they are the intellectual equivalent of saying, 'Hold my beer and watch this!'" - Cindy Couture #### HonorH • Member • Posts: 2907 ##### Re: "Dumb" insolence « Reply #16 on: June 11, 2012, 12:24:59 AM » I suppose poison in her coffee would be rude, but I honestly can't think of a better solution short of nuking the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure. William wondered why he always disliked people who said "no offense meant." Maybe it was because they found it easier to say "no offense meant" than actually to refrain from giving offense. --Terry Pratchett, The Truth #### jedikaiti • Swiss Army Nerd • Member • Posts: 2865 • A pie in the hand is worth two in the mail. ##### Re: "Dumb" insolence « Reply #17 on: June 11, 2012, 12:30:28 AM » I suppose poison in her coffee would be rude, but I honestly can't think of a better solution short of nuking the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure. You could nerve gas the whole nest. (I <3 Aliens) What part of v_e = \sqrt{\frac{2GM}{r}} don't you understand? It's only rocket science! "The problem with re-examining your brilliant ideas is that more often than not, you discover they are the intellectual equivalent of saying, 'Hold my beer and watch this!'" - Cindy Couture #### Iris • Member • Posts: 3249 ##### Re: "Dumb" insolence « Reply #18 on: June 11, 2012, 03:13:43 AM » Example One We are at a manager's staff meeting. She walks in late, crunching on a carrot ( a big carrot, not a carrot stick). The chair of the meeting asks if she could finish up her lunch so that we can get on with the meeting. She rolls her eyes and says "I finished my lunch hours ago"; the chair says "OK, well could you put the carrot away?" "This is not my lunch, I don't eat carrots for lunch, this is my snack (crunch, crunch,crunch)" "I don't really care, just get rid of the carrot" "But you said finish your lunch, this is not my lunch... Oh alright then (big sigh) I suppose we're not allowed to have snacks now, I'll make sure everyone knows this is a new rule..." Example Two I am an accountant; part of my job is to monitor expenses and to ensure, where possible, that we stay within budget. Part of her job is to forward invoices to me for payment, after checking that all paperwork is in order and that we have actually received what we are being asked to pay for. There have been a number of times when I have had to query things that she has authorised as she has a habit of letting things pile up and then going on a mad 'authorisation spree" where she just initials everything as OK to get it off her desk. These queries are never well received and there is a very strong implication that I am wasting her valuable time, it is important to note that these queries relate to hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars. Last week she forwarded an invoice on which nothing had been checked, there were obvious large issues with what we were being asked to pay and she wrote on the invoice " One of the contractors has rounded up his time by .09 of an hour (ie 5 mins); I am drawing this to your attention because I know this kind of thing is very important to you". When I deal professionally with people who act like this, I usually give them a detention or phone their parents to discuss their attitude. Oh. Wait. You mean you're NOT a school teacher like me? Goodness gracious. I'm going to assume that she uses these tactics because they work. Actual 15 year old girls do things like this because it gives them a sense of power, an ability to manipulate the world around them. I should point out that most 15 year old girls are not even really like this at high school, they save it for their parents. For a teenaged girl to act like this at school would indicate there are significant issues and I really can't imagine them carrying it on to the workplace. For real 15 year old girls the best strategy I have found is to remain calm at all times, not respond to the drama and continue through with consequences. "R, there are problems with a few of these invoices, can you be sure to check them thoroughly in future, thanks?" Ignore any drama completely. If she carries on just look at her completely blankly until she runs out of steam and winds down. Then say "Mmm-hmm. Now don't forget, you need to check x, y and z." Walk away. Send a confirmation email to create a paper trail. Next time "Thanks for pointing out that discrepency, it's great that you're paying more attention to the paperwork [patronising smile]. However, you forgot to check x, y and z. Make sure you do that next time, thanks." Send a confirmation email. Lather, rinse and repeat until either she creates enough drama that you can report her to the boss or you drive her stark staring insane because her juvenile behaviour doesn't affect her. Always remember she is not worth raising your blood pressure for "Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said. Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so. #### Venus193 • Member • Posts: 17087 • Backstage passes are wonderful things! ##### Re: "Dumb" insolence « Reply #19 on: June 11, 2012, 04:59:37 AM » Not just return receipts, but does your e-mail program have a feature that alerts you to when an e-mail has been deleted unread? I had that at a few companies. Use that feature as well. People who do these things are so pathetic. #### ishka • Member • Posts: 105 ##### Re: "Dumb" insolence « Reply #20 on: June 11, 2012, 06:26:56 AM » People who do these things are so pathetic. I don't know Venus. I'm the one who gets agitated (my blood pressure does go up) R just eye-rolls her way along, jerking chains and rattling cages,not doing her job, taking no responsibility for anything and with, as far as I can see, not a worry in the world. I think this will all catch up with her fairly soon, I'm not the only one who is very close to having had enough of her. Even those who don't have much to do with her, and are therefore more likely to laugh and say that's just the way she is, were pretty gob-smacked at the carrot meeting. Here's hoping. But until that day arrives, I'm going to try and take the very good advice I've been given here - totally cool, totally professional. But I am going to allow myself a couple of Iris's patronising smiles, just for my own satisfaction. #### artk2002 • Member • Posts: 13859 ##### Re: "Dumb" insolence « Reply #21 on: June 11, 2012, 11:03:41 AM » I have been trying to document. The problem is that she is very selective in which emails she will respond to. If it doesn't suit her she will just ignore the email, which means I have to speak to her in person and there is no record. No, you don't have to speak to her in person and I recommend that you don't. Instead, send a follow-up e-mail, CC her boss: "I haven't received a reply to the attached email. If I don't receive a reply by <date> I will be unable to pay the invoice on time. Please respond ASAP with the required information." Do this twice and then e-mail the boss: "I am unable to process the invoice due to a lack of information. This is about to go past due. Please assist in getting this resolved." In other words, make her failure her problem (and the bosses problem.) Quote I have started writing confirmation emails after these conversations eg " R - to confirm, I am not overly concerned with 5 mins rounding up, I believe this was an honest mistake and is easily rectified. Thank you for drawing it to my attention. I am however very concerned that you are allowing hundreds of dollars of potential over-payments because you are not checking invoices before passing them for payment" The trouble with this is that she will bring up the first part of the email as me saying that I am not concerned with overcharging by contractors and ignore the second part completely. I probably should not have put the first part in but I was insulted and I was angry that she diminishes my responsibilities to being about nit-picking about the odd$5.

The solution is to keep each e-mail to a single subject. If that means a dozen e-mails, so be it. Raise your concern in a separate e-mail thread (again, copying the boss, since this is a serious breach of responsibility by your CW.) CW is acting like a teen-ager, so treat her that way: Simple, declarative sentences with clear, literal intent. "I must have this information by <date> for the invoice to be paid." Leave all the extra stuff like "I'm not overly concerned..." off -- she can just latch onto stuff like that

Quote
I have spoken to her boss.  I think her boss is part of the problem;  they have a very strange dynamic where R behaves like a teenager and her boss scolds her like a child without seeming to realise that the behaviour has very real implications for the business.

Then make the implications real, as I pointed out above. Phrases like "will become past due unless paid by the 32nd of the month" can be very effective.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

#### O'Dell

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• Posts: 4382
##### Re: "Dumb" insolence
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2012, 11:15:42 AM »
I've been following this thread and I keep thinking "Maybe she isn't playing dumb. Maybe she *is* dumb!" Well not that she really is dumb, but that you should be treating her as if she is.

I think Iris's suggestions might be a polite way to go about it.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

#### lilfox

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##### Re: "Dumb" insolence
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2012, 12:48:39 PM »
I have an eye-roller at work too - she does it in meetings to discredit the speaker non-verbally, then she latches on to something the speaker has said, twists it around and talks about how it will never work, and refuses to be side-tracked by any clarifying response.

I really like the suggestions of putting absolutely everything in email, especially when you have to escalate, and also treating her as though she really isn't that bright and needs to be told things in very simple form.  Iris's bit about "That's great that you caught <tiny problem>.  However, you missed <much bigger problems> so please take another look at the invoices."  Recognize achievement + offer constructive advice + professional tone = genius!

I plan to do that if I ever catch Eye-roller doing that to me again:  "You look confused, do I need to explain it again?"  In as kind a voice as I can manage.  After all, people who are confident in their abilities don't need to behave this way, so the eye-rollers must need extra help.

#### Slartibartfast

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• Posts: 10801
##### Re: "Dumb" insolence
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2012, 12:50:52 PM »
As is often the case when we get stories of terrible co-workers on eHell, unfortunately you really don't have the authority to call her on her behavior.  All you can do is to address the portions of her behavior which affect your job directly.  I think that's doubly important in this case, because asking something like "Please be more professional" would probably backfire on you - it's got nebulous criteria (what exactly does "professional" mean?) so it would play into her need for attention.  Every time she did anything, she would be able to make a big deal about "Well nobody TOLD me chewing gum while on the phone with a customer was unprofessional!  Would eating a carrot stick instead be more professional?  Are my shoes professional enough today?  Nobody ever tells me anything!"

Instead, focus on smaller, concrete things like the expense issue.  "Thank you for keeping me informed re: the rounding up on timecards.  However, I see this expense sheet has several things left unchecked and we do not appear to have received the items we're paying for.  Please investigate this and send me a revised expense sheet once you have made sure everything is correct."  Or, for the closing early thing: "It has come to my attention that you closed two hours early yesterday.  This is not an acceptable solution to the budget crisis.  In the future, please use your discretion to [send someone home, increase the job duties of some of the people left so they aren't sitting around, etc. - basically whatever your interpretation of the company's party line is] instead of cutting in to business hours."

Oh, and do all of this by email if possible.  Go to her in person as well if you need an actual response to a question, but otherwise give her assignments via email so you have a paper trail.  Then you can point to it and say "This, this, and this are affecting my job.  I can't do Y until she does X, and she refuses to do anything about X even after I sent three emails which she won't acknowledge reading.  If you want X and Y to happen, you need to talk with her and ensure she starts doing X."

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##### Re: "Dumb" insolence
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2012, 05:32:26 PM »
When she does this  , it would be a lot of fun to ask if her contacts are bothering her.  If she responds with insolence, explain that you notice she does that with her eyes a lot and you were wondering if she needed some eye drops.
It takes two people to play tug of war. If you don't want to play, don't pick up the rope.

#### Yvaine

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##### Re: "Dumb" insolence
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2012, 06:40:34 PM »
When she does this  , it would be a lot of fun to ask if her contacts are bothering her.  If she responds with insolence, explain that you notice she does that with her eyes a lot and you were wondering if she needed some eye drops.

I'm now reminded of Professor McGonagall offering a cough drop to Umbridge when she did her PA throat clearing thing.

#### PastryGoddess

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• Posts: 6460
##### Re: "Dumb" insolence
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2012, 12:40:15 AM »
You could play Bingo with her most commonly used antics. Whenever you get a full card, you could go and buy yourself a massage or facial

#### Venus193

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• Backstage passes are wonderful things!
##### Re: "Dumb" insolence
« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2012, 06:19:28 AM »
When she does this  , it would be a lot of fun to ask if her contacts are bothering her.  If she responds with insolence, explain that you notice she does that with her eyes a lot and you were wondering if she needed some eye drops.

I like this.  It calls attention to her childishness and potentially traps her into making a bigger fool of herself that someone else may decide to address while leaving you in the clear.

#### Oh Joy

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##### Re: "Dumb" insolence
« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2012, 06:29:42 AM »
...It's very much in line with a kid who points his finger an inch from your face and says, "I'm not touching you.  Why are you upset?  I'm not touching you!"...

Perfect description, weeblewobble!

Is it a bad thing - even though I've never met her and know the lesson would be lost on her - that I've REALLY been wanting to do this to her since I first read this reply?

Edited because my fingers clearly weren't working in conjunction with my brain on one word.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2012, 10:12:47 AM by Oh Joy »