General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Helping Co-worker return to work Update #18

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White Dragon:
I am currently working on a contract covering a maternity leave.
"Tanya" is returning to work in two weeks. There will be a brief (about 9 days) transition period and then Tanya resumes her old position.
I have been offered a contract extension and, after a holiday, will be moving to another temp position.

Tanya has been with the firm for 5 years. Shortly before she left, she'd been moved into a newly-created position and been building the list of tasks and procedures.

In the past year, the position has evolved a great deal and there is quite a bit that Tanya will have to learn.

I have been working on writing up all the various new procedures (that's actually why I'm being kept on, to complete the documentation) and I have a "cheat sheet" that summarizes the key things she'll need to be aware of.

I'm trying to find a way to make this as easy as possible.
But I have some concerns.

First, I'm not sure Tanya particularly likes me. She is polite, but has a habit of suddenly just ending a conversation in a way that feels very abrupt and dismissive.
Maybe  it's just me - I admit I'm not great at reading people, but it is kind of awkward being with her.

This idea that she may not like me has me worried that she may not want to listen to what I need to tell her.
I've worked really hard in the past year to get this role defined and get everyone used to the changes.
I want to make it clear how important it is to follow the new procedures, but I don't want to be pushy about it.

Any ideas about how I can approach this transition/training and deflect the awkwardness?

Yes. Keep it professional. List down what you need to cover with her, and then carry ite out one. By one. Do not worry if she likes you or otherwise. Your job is to hand over the responsibilities and knowledge that she needs to know. Go through what is important, ask her politely and professionally if she has any questions or doubts about the system or procedure. Once you have done everything in your list, you can discharge your duties happily.

Nemesis has the right idea. Keep it completely professional: don't go out to lunch together to discuss her new role and gossip like old friends. Do it in the office/wherever you work and stick entirely to what needs to be done.

Tanya may be socially awkward and not know how to end a conversation. Don't take her attitude personally, it's her problem not yours.

Also, give a list of all the procedures and a copy of the cheat sheet to her/your boss with a note saying this is what you plan to use to transition the role back to Tanya, but can add anything else she would like added. It's a bit of CYA so Tanya can't later say you didn't tell her. But it also makes sure the boss has a copy to reference if needed.

POD both Nemesis and Hmmmmm. There are any number of reasons why Tanya might be coming across this way. Whatever those reasons are, they're not your concern. Your concern is to provide her with the information she needs to do her job. Make sure your boss knows what you plan to discuss with Tanya and then present the same information to Tanya professionally regardless of her attitude. What Tanya does from there is up to her.


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