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Author Topic: QUICK Need advice ASAP  (Read 8121 times)

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QUICK Need advice ASAP
« on: September 26, 2013, 10:44:26 AM »
I am so frustrated. I was promoted recently to a very complicated position that involved intensive training and will take months for me to learn. It is also a very, very busy time in my office. On top of that, they haven't found a replacement for me in my old role, so I'm still spending more than 1/2 of my day doing that job. The way it shakes out is I am spending about 5 hours a day on my old job and 3 on my new. During those 3 hours I am supposed to be meeting with students, catching up old work left by my predecessor and attending required meetings. All while trying to learn as I go.

Well, yesterday I made a minor error. And it really is minor. But apparently it is the end of the freaking world. My immediate boss wants to have a meeting with me and *big boss* to discuss it. Thing is they do this every single time I make an error. On the one hand, they seem to like me and tell me I'm doing a good job. They also tell me that they know I will make errors as I am new to this and still learning the ins and outs. Yet, when an error is made they do this to me! I think it's pretty rotten to beat me up over a mistake when all they have to do is say, "hey, just a reminder, please do it this way from now on."

I feel very, very pressured, I'm not being given adequate time to do the work, my training has been very slow since I've not been allowed enough time every day to actually do it...I currently have literally 48 assignments in my queue that I haven't even touched b/c the precious little time I have in my new office is inundated with other things.

I guess my question is, how do I not burst into tears of frustration when we have this meeting later today? I really think I'm going to like the new position a lot, but this pressure is really getting to me. I'm already teary and hormonal and don't want to make a fool of myself by getting all weepy, but I fear I might.

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Oh Joy

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Re: QUICK Need advice ASAP
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2013, 10:53:48 AM »
Can you request that they provide the feedback by e-mail, so you can focus on the information when you have your 'new job' hat on, and will e-mail back if you have any questions?

Hang in there!


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Re: QUICK Need advice ASAP
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2013, 10:54:40 AM »
Having been in somewhat similar positions, I'd go into that meeting with a plan. You need to take some control of this situation.

Go into the meeting. Listen to everything both bosses have to say.

Then have your say.

Point out the conflict between doing the old job and learning the new job. Point out that your precessor had 5 more hours per day to do the job. Point out that your training will take months.

Ask for help. Point out that micromanaging every small error with a sit-down meeting takes valuable time away from doing both jobs and learning the new one.

You want the following: enough time to learn the new job. A list of priorities for *both* jobs, so you know what you can let slide and what you can't. A stop to the micromanaging of small details--a quick email to let you know of a small problem instead of a huge sit-down, time-consuming meeting.

Push back on the pressure. It's the only way to stay sane.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


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Re: QUICK Need advice ASAP
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2013, 11:06:45 AM »
Calm down and breathe for a moment. You made an error and they said they knew you would make errors. They asked for a meeting to discuss the error.


So why are you jumping to the conclusion, before the meeting has even happened, that they are going to "beat [you] up over a mistake when all they have to do is say, 'hey, just a reminder, please do it this way from now on'"? Isn't it possible they are going to say "hey this situation isn't working right now. We need you to spend more time focusing on the new position instead of the bulk of you day on your previous one. Is there anyone else you think is knowledgeable enough to take on some of those 48 assignments so you can better transition to your new role?"

I agree you should go in with a plan, and you need to take control. But the first step is to forgive yourself and be confident they have/are going to forgive you as well. Errors happen. How an you avoid another error? Have some suggestions and assume they want the same outcome (avoiding future errors) and will be on-board with your ideas. You were promoted for a reason. Own it, live it, deserve it.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: QUICK Need advice ASAP
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2013, 12:28:44 PM »
Do they know how much time you are spending in your old role each day?

I wouldn't trot it out before they speak but I would be prepared with a list of the things you are doing in your old role (and the amount of time it is taking), the things you are doing in your new role, the things you need to start getting to in your new role and a list of training deficienies for your new role.

Present it to them, tell them that something's gotta give and let them figure it out.  And obviously, the easiest solution is to get somebody else trained for your old role who can do the basics until they get someone hired.

They aren't being very fair to you, in that you aren't getting enough time to learn what you need to do, let alone do it.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.


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Re: QUICK Need advice ASAP
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2013, 01:01:33 PM »
I agree with Outdoor Girl that this is an opportunity for you to make sure they know how important it is to get someone to take over your OLD job. So that you can concentrate on your new job, so you won't make mistakes.

Or to get their assurances that it's OK if you switch to doing your old job for 2 hours, and the new one for 5.

Love WillyNilly's advice as well.

As for how to not burst into tears of frustration, etc.  I'm not sure. ;)
But maybe go in with the mindset that these are your senior partners, and you are asking for their help, and getting their feedback, and you will be giving yours.

Also, do think about the mistake without panic. Is there a way it can be avoided? Is there a procedure, a checklist, a filing system, a communications pattern, a form, that can greatly reduce the chances it will happen again? What did contribute to it--did you not have enough time to "research" the task/person? See if you can identify causes.

It could be that they're aware, even if only subliminally, that this complicated and important new position is only getting a small fraction of your energy & time. And that has created a background feeling of "you're not doing your job right." or "things are out of control."
   So you can say, "I need to give you the confidence that I'm focused on my new job, and I can't do that unless it's true. Which means I need to offload my old tasks."

One thing about moving up: lower-level work is absorbing and seems important. It's easier to do, often. But it's actually less important. Efficiency experts often warn against getting sucked into the clearly defined, urgent-seeming tasks that actually are less important that the more complex, more thought-involving, more long-term tasks on the higher level.
    Mention that--you need to be freed up.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2013, 01:06:35 PM by TootsNYC »


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Re: QUICK Need advice ASAP
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2013, 01:45:22 PM »
Thanks everyone. You guys are the best  :)

We had our meeting and no, I didn't tear up or cry (yay!). I just put on a concerned face and told them that I would do my best to avoid such an error in the future and they seemed satisfied with that.

They are the ones who set the rule that I'm doing 5hrs old job/3hrs new job, unfortunately. The way our office is structured there is just no way around that until they get someone hired, and to their credit they are trying to find someone. I can't fault them on that score. And they also know that I'm absolutely overwhelmed with new job tasks, so they aren't giving me grief about not getting everything done right away. The problem, imho, is that they are looking for absolute, complete and utter perfection in every task that I do complete(and other employees, as well). It's an impossible standard to meet. And they have these meetings and make a huge deal out of each error, whether big or small. It's demoralizing.

I know I'm making it sound like a horrible sweatshop, but it's really not that bad...I actually like the work and once they get their personnel issues squared away and I'm on newjob full time it's going to get much better. I just wish they would ease up a tiny bit during this transition period.

Anyway, thanks again for the support. It really did help a lot!

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!