Author Topic: Same issue treated differently  (Read 5490 times)

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ILoveMyCello

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Same issue treated differently
« on: February 18, 2013, 06:18:35 PM »
Hi, I have a situation I wanted to run by you guys.

A few weeks ago, one of my coworkers was working on a pretty elaborate present for her boyfriend for Valentine's Day. It involved a lot of cutting, gluing, and markers, and took up a lot of space at her teller window. I didn't care that she was working on it because she is a hard worker and waits on customers the minute they come up. My supervisor didn't ask her to put it away and commented on how pretty it was.

The other day, I had my textbook open at my window. I was also in the drive thru. My supervisor flipped out, asked me to put it away, and accused me of not paying attention to customers. I work very hard, have a good scorecard, and just received an award for being the top teller in our district with referrals. I was pretty mad because she didn't say anything to my fellow coworker about her big project she had at her window when all I had was a textbook-but I took the high road and put it away. I'm wondering if I should do the same if the situation comes up again (I have the feeling it will) thanks

snugasabug

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Re: Same issue treated differently
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2013, 06:38:06 PM »
That's really unfair.  It happens a lot in workplaces...those who generally stick by the book are often prosecuted for minor infractions, while others who always bend the rules are allowed to continue. Sorry this happened to you.

WillyNilly

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Re: Same issue treated differently
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2013, 07:33:00 PM »
Is it possible someone else complained (either about your co-worker then, or you more recently) that required your manager to change the policy? Because quite honestly, I would absolutely complain about a bank teller having arts & crafts project out, it would strike me as unprofessional and distracting, and when it comes to banking and my money, that's not ok.

LazyDaisy

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Re: Same issue treated differently
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2013, 08:16:03 PM »
It could be that your boss did have a word quietly with the other worker away from where you would overhear. That is actually how managers should handle reprimands. It could be that the worker asked privately for permission or other reasons that you may not be privy to. If you do want to pursue this, I would ask your boss to clarify the rules and gently bring up that you have seen other workers with non-work related tasks at their window and thought that it was OK to do. It could also just be unfair treatment and that's the way of things sometimes. My guess is that the manager figured co worker's Valentine's Day card was a one-off incident since it only comes once a year but studying from your textbook could be a continual distraction and your manager was heading that off before it became a habit.
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Hillia

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Re: Same issue treated differently
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2013, 09:00:25 PM »
Is it possible someone else complained (either about your co-worker then, or you more recently) that required your manager to change the policy? Because quite honestly, I would absolutely complain about a bank teller having arts & crafts project out, it would strike me as unprofessional and distracting, and when it comes to banking and my money, that's not ok.

This.  When you're handling my  money, I expect your full attention, and I don't expect to have to work around your crafts project. 

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oceanus

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Re: Same issue treated differently
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2013, 10:58:48 PM »
Quote
My guess is that the manager figured co worker's Valentine's Day card was a one-off incident since it only comes once a year but studying from your textbook could be a continual distraction and your manager was heading that off before it became a habit.

This.

Miss Unleaded

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Re: Same issue treated differently
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2013, 05:22:57 AM »
It could be that your boss did have a word quietly with the other worker away from where you would overhear. That is actually how managers should handle reprimands. It could be that the worker asked privately for permission or other reasons that you may not be privy to. If you do want to pursue this, I would ask your boss to clarify the rules and gently bring up that you have seen other workers with non-work related tasks at their window and thought that it was OK to do. It could also just be unfair treatment and that's the way of things sometimes. My guess is that the manager figured co worker's Valentine's Day card was a one-off incident since it only comes once a year but studying from your textbook could be a continual distraction and your manager was heading that off before it became a habit.

I don't think that logic is really correct though.  True, Valentine's Day is just one day, but then she could bring in her Mother's Day project, one for Father's Day, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, birthdays, party invitations, etc etc.

I do, however, think your advice to go to the boss and ask her for clarification of the rules was spot on.

cicero

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Re: Same issue treated differently
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2013, 07:52:24 AM »
well you ain't in kansas anymore. Rules are rules and it doesn't matter that *everyone* or *someone* seems to be getting away with it. if you aren't supposed to be doing anything else at the window, then you aren't supposed to be doing anything else at the window.

you dont know what/if anything was said between your boss and co worker.

and I have actually found, in my old age, after a great number of jobs, that for the most part, those who are *easier* employees (the ones who do their job, who go the extra mile when needed, who are reliable) are the ones who get promoted and it's the ones who come to work late and hungover, or spend their shifts making valentines cards are the ones who will be made redundant when there are cutbacks.

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camlan

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Re: Same issue treated differently
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2013, 07:53:42 AM »
My take would be that the craft project was more distracting for the employee--all the different supplies scattered over the work area, the need to pay close attention to the cutting and pasting. And the need to complete parts of the project before dealing with customers--you'd want to finish gluing something together and move it aside before handling the customer's money. To say nothing of the risk of glue or glitter or whathaveyou getting on the customer's receipt or something.

Verus a book, that the teller can stop reading in an instant and easily and quickly put aside in order to deal with the customer.

And as a customer, I'd see a craft project at a teller's window and wonder what the heck was going on. It would appear massively unprofessional to me.

I'd see a teller reading a book and either assume he/she is in school and using their down time at work wisely, or that their job required them to do that reading. And if they were doing school work, I'd give kudos to their employer for allowing them to use their time at the window to study (as long as they still did all their required work), and think better, overall, of the organization.

So color me completely confused as to why a craft project was allowed and reading a book was not.

I'd want clarification of what was allowed/not allowed at the teller windows, and I'd quietly ask my supervisor to explain the rules to me. And maybe if there's a difference as to what's allowed at a regular window vs. the drive-up window. And, me being me, I'd want to know why.
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oceanus

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Re: Same issue treated differently
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2013, 11:48:03 AM »
Quote
you dont know what/if anything was said between your boss and co worker.

I suspect something was said.

OP, I feel your pain.  BTDT many times.  But I remember once when I complained about so-and-so ‘getting away’ with doing something I was told not to do, supervisor answered with a cold “I handled that situation.  If anyone – you, so-and-so, or someone else – doesn’t have enough work to do, I can take care of that.  Now, how are you coming along with (task)?”

In this case, asking for “policy clarification” will not go over well, imo.

Yvaine

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Re: Same issue treated differently
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2013, 11:52:32 AM »
If this is a pattern of different treatment, it's annoying. I've definitely worked places where this would happen, for example, if co-worker was related to the boss.

If it's a one-time thing, though, then either (a) boss thought better of letting co-worker do her project at the window in retrospect, and has decided to institute a rule, or (b) someone came down on Boss about it and she decided to institute a rule. If it's this, the treatment is likely to be more equitable going forward.

Oh Joy

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Re: Same issue treated differently
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2013, 12:27:28 PM »
My blunt truth?  What the other employee is doing doesn't matter.

Your supervisor - just like you and every other employee - has many important issues to handle each day.  Responding to them with the workplace equivalent of 'But Moooooooom!  You let Timmy stay up fifteen minutes past his bedtime one day last week.  Why can't I?' adds nothing to the organization's productivity or your own professional image.

If you would like to discuss studying between customers with your manager, discuss studying between customers with your manager.  Approach them at a time that is convenient for both of you to talk, apologize for the previous misunderstanding, and either ask permission to study or request clarification of the expectation of how to handle downtime.  I believe this would be well within the bounds of courtesy.

Best wishes.

TomatoBunny

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Re: Same issue treated differently
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2013, 01:28:31 PM »
My first thought was that the textbook was a bigger security risk than the craft project. The craft project sounds like it boils down to drawing/writing on a few glued together papers and the textbook is this bigger, set object, where one could easily slip money between the pages. Granted, craft-girl could glue money into her project, but it sounds like it was laid out, straight forward and possibly easier to monitor with security cameras, which I assume tellers have. I don't know your bank layout, but many around here have the drive thru tellers separated from the rest, so it seems like they wouldn't get as much direct human supervision, which means one just has to 'beat the security cameras'.

I don't know how security is run at banks; 1) if there's a person watching the cameras, 2) if someone reviews the footage after the fact or 3) if it's just stored on a 'as needed' basis, but 1) security could have told your supervisor that they couldn't fully see what you were doing with the textbook so that's why you were told or 2) security told your supervisor that craft girl shouldn't have been doing things at her station, hence why you were told... since you said a few weeks passed between the incidents.

Hillia

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Re: Same issue treated differently
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2013, 05:43:20 PM »
Totally unrelated to the OP's question, which I think has been addressed, but if I went into my bank and my teller had construction paper and markers and glue and glitter spread around her station (and a paper doily and some Hello Kitty stickers?) I would seriously wonder if I had somehow wandered in on Take Your Kids to Work day, and this was someone's 4th grader doing a craft.  Because really?  A bank is handling people's money; this requires your full attention and professionalism.  If you want to make pretty Valentine's for your boyfriend, do it at your own kitchen table on your own time.  It has zero place in any workplace, but especially a bank.  I would be seriously displeased, and both the teller and the manager would be getting an earful.

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Girlie

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Re: Same issue treated differently
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2013, 12:41:23 PM »
I am intrigued by some of the answers and thoughts of other posters here, because I'm a teller in a small community bank where it's understood that there's a lot of downtime at certain times of the month, and neither of the above activities would be that unusual (but the book reading much less so), and neither would be a problem so long as the customers and work were being taken care of appropriately. That's the culture where I work, but I would go so far as to say that it might just be the nature of the job, as well... I'm not sure what customers think it is that we do when they're not in front of us...

My first thought is that maybe the supervisor was in an exceptionally good mood on the first day, and in a bad mood the second.
Unfortunately, that doesn't really change the fact that OP has to do - or not do - as she's been told.