*polishes her Spine of Not-Quite-Steel to a high shine*
I generally like my job, and the people I work with, and am sad to be facing a layoff due to my nonprofit agency's permanent closure at the end of this month, but that doesn't mean I haven't had to deal with some pretty dingdangity frustrating people in the past five years!
It seems that J., a manager I mentioned in passing in one of my earlier Spine Stories, has put me on her poo list... because I've said no to her latest less-than-reasonable request!
She sent me an email earlier this afternoon with "If you find extra time this month" in the subject line. The request was for translation of a 15-page document into Lavenderese--and since I couldn't edit the document in the format sent to me, I would have had to retype the entire document from scratch
as well as translate.
If we had more time, I would have given it some thought--but we only have about 3 weeks left before we close down, and my days have been taken up with answering inquiries from staff about more pressing stuff like continuing medical/dental coverage, 403(b) withdrawals and rollovers, and unemployment benefits. I also will be taking a few days' vacation time, which I would otherwise lose because I've accrued too much without using it. My last week at work will be taken up with packing up my office and making arrangements for storage of records.
So here was my response to J.:Hi J.,
If this were a smaller project—and I didn’t have to retype the whole thing—I would say yes. But I will be on vacation later this month and it won’t be possible for me to finish all 15 pages before I leave. Maybe if you could let me know what the most critical parts of this to translate are... I could do only the most critical 3-4 pages in the limited time we have left before I go on vacation.
She complained that she had gone through our list of translators and interpreters and asked them to do the project for her... and to a man (or woman), they'd all told her no. (I suspect THEY found her request about as reasonable under the circumstances as I did
People do tend to underestimate the amount of time needed for a translation project of this size and scope. A project like this--given my other responsibilities and the current situation--would end up taking me about two weeks, done a couple of pages here, a couple of pages there when I had time.)
She told me verbally, "Oh, if you can only do part of it, don't worry about it then," in a VERY hacked-off, PA tone, before leaving for the day.
I do feel bad about not being able to do this project--but this manager has a history of making less-than-reasonable requests, and in particular asking me to do projects for her that take up MUCH more time than she's led me to believe. (One other incident that comes to mind immediately is a subject for a whole 'nother Spine Story!) The sad thing is, I get the sense that she's basically a good person, but has no idea how these requests come across to others.