Author Topic: If You Had Asked I Would Have Cleared It Up  (Read 7555 times)

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BeagleMommy

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If You Had Asked I Would Have Cleared It Up
« on: June 18, 2014, 03:42:29 PM »
The Players:
Me
Jim - my direct supervisor (about 95% of my job is admin support for Jim)
Dee - another supervisor (I supported her more when I started, but as Jim's responsibilities grew my support for Dee was diminished.  I only support her when everything for Jim is done)
Director - over all supervisors and admins.

One of my duties to support Jim is to assist new grad students with their registration.  Mostly it is the same classes for everyone, but there are some that are more complicated.  When I get a complicated one, I discuss it with Jim and he tells me what classes the student will need.  I then relay that information to the student.

Dee has been quite vocal about the fact that I am required to support Jim more than her.  This came from the Director.  It was not my choice.

Yesterday, Jim calls me into his office.  Apparently, Dee overheard me on the phone "advising" a student about which class they should take.  She was appalled that "a secretary" (her words) was advising a student and went to Director to voice a complaint.  Director spoke with Jim.

I am now required to make sure I tell students "Jim recommends that you take (insert name of class)".  Okay, fine, whatever.

It seems rude to me that she went to Director instead of asking "How did you know what to tell that student".  I would have said "Jim gave me the classes to recommend to the student".

I hesitate to call her behavior PA, but it feels like she's trying to start trouble.  Do you think this is rude?

TurtleDove

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Re: If You Had Asked I Would Have Cleared It Up
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2014, 03:57:19 PM »
I think Dee went about this inappropriately, but I don't know that there is anything you can or should do about it.  Apparently the director agrees with her that you should not be advising students but rather making it clear you are conveying Jim's advice and not your own. I am sorry this happened in the way it did - I bet it feels icky - but I don't think escalating this will help the situation and could actually harm it.  I would just happily get clarification from the director and not make an issue of Dee's actions.  The director knows what Dee did and will address it if he thinks it needs addressing.

jmarvellous

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Re: If You Had Asked I Would Have Cleared It Up
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2014, 03:59:40 PM »
I don't know what she's trying to do, but I see why you don't like what she did. It was presumptuous and an unnecessary escalation.

The only solution I see is to not let the trouble "start." Do what you're supposed to do, with the latest modifications, and if she starts making more demands on your time or performance, then ask her directly to address problems with you (or Jim, maybe?) before she goes to the higher-ups.

BeagleMommy

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Re: If You Had Asked I Would Have Cleared It Up
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2014, 04:01:08 PM »
I think Dee went about this inappropriately, but I don't know that there is anything you can or should do about it.  Apparently the director agrees with her that you should not be advising students but rather making it clear you are conveying Jim's advice and not your own. I am sorry this happened in the way it did - I bet it feels icky - but I don't think escalating this will help the situation and could actually harm it.  I would just happily get clarification from the director and not make an issue of Dee's actions.  The director knows what Dee did and will address it if he thinks it needs addressing.

Believe me, I won't make an issue out of it.  It's one of those "choose your battles" deals.  BTW, Director never had a problem with the way I help the students.  She knows how I support Jim.  Director is a bit of a waffle who hates conflict and will usually capitulate to whomever is more strident.

shhh its me

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Re: If You Had Asked I Would Have Cleared It Up
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2014, 04:10:58 PM »
  I think it was presumptions and showed very poor interpersonal skills to go above not just you're head but in essence Jim's' too.  But I don't think it was rude people can be wrong and/or unlikeable without being rude.

doodlemor

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Re: If You Had Asked I Would Have Cleared It Up
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2014, 05:10:09 PM »
Dee escalated this, but I do think that the advice is sound. 

Some SS grad student could cause problems if they take the wrong classes and then claim that they were ill advised by someone without the proper qualifications.  That wouldn't be fair, of course, but people do stuff like that all the time.  Since you are working for Jim with his approval, [and he probably makes more $$$], let him take the fall if someone is unhappy or gets their schedule mixed up.

I'm sorry that you have had this annoyance, but think you are very wise to choose your battles.

Craftymom

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Re: If You Had Asked I Would Have Cleared It Up
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2014, 02:12:36 PM »
Yes, it is probably better to quote the info as being from Jim. I wouldn't have one issue in the world with that. We live in a crazy sue happy world for the silliest things, so OK.

That being said, why on earth didn't Dee approach yourself or Jim? She could have pulled you aside and said helpfully, "Just to cover our tushies, here's a head's up. You should always tell the students the recomendations were from "proper person A" or "proper person B".

The fact that she didn't let you know directly, or go to Jim if she felt she had real concerns, tells me you need to keep an eye on her. She went out of her way in the workplace to make sure that you, who have been appearing competent and productive up to now, got a tiny blip on the radar higher up for this little faux pas in wording?

To me, she felt you were getting a bit too big for your britches and tried to take you down a peg. It may have been a tiny peg, but she still got the satisfaction of getting you spoken to.

She should now be on your radar to watch for future occurences.

bopper

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Re: If You Had Asked I Would Have Cleared It Up
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2014, 09:53:10 AM »
You need not to directly talk to Dee about any issues with you and your situation she might have.
If she says anything to you, then just say "This is what I was told to do by Jim.  I will check with him on that."

Lynn2000

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Re: If You Had Asked I Would Have Cleared It Up
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2014, 10:40:25 AM »
I could see someone having an honest concern, but I agree with Craftymom that it seems overly punitive for Dee to go to the director. She could have either spoken to you directly or checked with Jim first.
~Lynn2000

JeanFromBNA

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Re: If You Had Asked I Would Have Cleared It Up
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2014, 02:51:42 PM »
Dee also communicated to the director that she is a tattletale.  So, don't feel too bad. >:D

BeagleMommy

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Re: If You Had Asked I Would Have Cleared It Up
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2014, 02:57:27 PM »
I'm resurrecting this thread because something interesting happened today.

I got an email from a student (not a new one; one who's been in the program for a while).  Seems she was unable to make contact with her advisor regarding classes she needs for the fall.  She called Dee.  Guess who Dee told her to contact?  Yup, me, because "she should be able to tell you what you need". :o

Nope.  I'm not qualified to help established students; only first-year students.  I have no idea what the advisor may want the student to do.  Rest assured that I will be telling the student that I am not the person able to help, but I will pass her email to the appropriate person.

 ::)

Surianne

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Re: If You Had Asked I Would Have Cleared It Up
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2014, 01:33:37 PM »
I'm not sure what's inappropriate about Dee passing on your contact information to the student in that case -- if you're Jim's admin assistant, and contact with students usually goes through you, it seems logical that she'd think you'd be the one to contact?

gmatoy

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Re: If You Had Asked I Would Have Cleared It Up
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2014, 02:41:10 AM »
I'm not sure what's inappropriate about Dee passing on your contact information to the student in that case -- if you're Jim's admin assistant, and contact with students usually goes through you, it seems logical that she'd think you'd be the one to contact?

I think that Dee knows BeagleMommy doesn't help established students. Therefore, to give out her info is time consuming for the student and for BeagleMommy.  The student has to wait for BeagleMommy to respond with the correct info and then either contact or be contacted by the correct person. And BeagleMommy has to waste her time passing on the information.

Surianne

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Re: If You Had Asked I Would Have Cleared It Up
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2014, 11:39:27 AM »
Ah, I misunderstood -- that makes sense, thanks.  I'd be annoyed too.