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Author Topic: I need of perspective AKA: I'm not 5  (Read 5691 times)

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rashea

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I need of perspective AKA: I'm not 5
« on: January 11, 2018, 01:52:00 PM »
I'm upset about a work situation, and I want to handle it politely and professionally, which does not match how I'm feeling.

Background: I work in high pressure and fast paced job. It results in mountains of paperwork, but in the end, clients always come first for safety reasons.

This last year has been exceptionally busy. And the workload has been beyond what I (or anyone) can keep up with. As a result, paperwork suffered and I got behind. I documented asking for help multiple times, and have finally been given enough assistance to attempt to catch up. But, months of paperwork are not going to be fixed in a few days.

Current issue:
I've been working my way through the pile as fast as I can. No one is complaining about the lack of speed, at least not to my knowledge, and they have actually complimented me a few times on getting it done. But, it's taking a long time (in part because I don't usually get uninterrupted time).

Yesterday, I was told to take my things and go work at my boss's spare desk.

I was clear at the time that this feels punitive, and have previously stated that being taken out of my office (I have a private office, and if I shut the door and post that I'm doing paperwork I am never interrupted short of a real emergency) would not feel helpful. I feel punished for not being able to keep up, while they knew that it was not possible and that I was asking for help.

I was also told the order in which to do paperwork, which sadly means someone wasted a lot of time figuring out which things haven't been done yet. I have a list and could have given it to them. I'm happy to have someone double check at the end, but it seems wasteful to have someone do that research when I know there are a lot of outstanding reports.

I'm hurt, and embarrassed, because several people asked why I was downstairs and not in my office (she keeps her door open, and people were in and out to talk things over with her all day). I feel like this was punitive, and while I understand that it was not their intention to be hurtful, it seems that they did not care that I felt it was, even when they knew that that was the case.

I also get that as an employee, it's up to them what I do with my work time. But, I've given a lot to this company that goes well above and beyond. I want to respond to my supervisor. Part of me is tempted to write an email or speak with her in person and let her know that I am hurt and angry. Part of me feels that I should let it go. Part of me feels I should just find another job and be done with this place. So, I'm looking for prospective, and trying to decide if, and how, to address this.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

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goldilocks

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Re: I need of perspective AKA: I'm not 5
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2018, 02:45:40 PM »
I'm upset about a work situation, and I want to handle it politely and professionally, which does not match how I'm feeling.

Background: I work in high pressure and fast paced job. It results in mountains of paperwork, but in the end, clients always come first for safety reasons.

This last year has been exceptionally busy. And the workload has been beyond what I (or anyone) can keep up with. As a result, paperwork suffered and I got behind. I documented asking for help multiple times, and have finally been given enough assistance to attempt to catch up. But, months of paperwork are not going to be fixed in a few days.

Current issue:
I've been working my way through the pile as fast as I can. No one is complaining about the lack of speed, at least not to my knowledge, and they have actually complimented me a few times on getting it done. But, it's taking a long time (in part because I don't usually get uninterrupted time).

Yesterday, I was told to take my things and go work at my boss's spare desk.

I was clear at the time that this feels punitive, and have previously stated that being taken out of my office (I have a private office, and if I shut the door and post that I'm doing paperwork I am never interrupted short of a real emergency) would not feel helpful. I feel punished for not being able to keep up, while they knew that it was not possible and that I was asking for help.

I was also told the order in which to do paperwork, which sadly means someone wasted a lot of time figuring out which things haven't been done yet. I have a list and could have given it to them. I'm happy to have someone double check at the end, but it seems wasteful to have someone do that research when I know there are a lot of outstanding reports.

I'm hurt, and embarrassed, because several people asked why I was downstairs and not in my office (she keeps her door open, and people were in and out to talk things over with her all day). I feel like this was punitive, and while I understand that it was not their intention to be hurtful, it seems that they did not care that I felt it was, even when they knew that that was the case.

I also get that as an employee, it's up to them what I do with my work time. But, I've given a lot to this company that goes well above and beyond. I want to respond to my supervisor. Part of me is tempted to write an email or speak with her in person and let her know that I am hurt and angry. Part of me feels that I should let it go. Part of me feels I should just find another job and be done with this place. So, I'm looking for prospective, and trying to decide if, and how, to address this.

Don't do anything right now.   while you are upset, you are likely to say something that you may regret.    This may be beneficial in the long run - to let the boss know just how much you are being interrupted, or maybe no one will interrupt while you are there.

If you are otherwise happy with this job, I'd let this blow over and see how things are after that.   I'd set up a meeting after you are all caught up, to talk about how to prevent in the future, etc.

Getting a new job always sounds like a great idea, but often, the grass isn't really any greener on the other side.

Take2

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Re: I need of perspective AKA: I'm not 5
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2018, 03:05:53 PM »
Once you are calm, you can frame this as a clarification. Feeling scolded isn't really an actionable request to your boss. But ensuring you have a shared understanding of the current situation and required next steps is perfectly reasonable and responsible.

"Boss, I want to make sure we are on the same page based on what happened yesterday. I am aware that there is quite a backlog of paperwork that I am working diligently to address now that I have the support I needed to allow this. I had assumed that my steady progress on this since X date has been sufficient. But when you called me down to work in your office yesterday, I now wonder if I have missed something? Is my current progress from my own workspace not at a sufficient pace, in your opinion? If not, may I suggest [solution A] rather than moving my workspace? I find working in an alternate location a bit distracting, and I want to focus on resolving this backlog as quickly as possible.

JeanFromBNA

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Re: I need of perspective AKA: I'm not 5
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2018, 07:06:11 PM »
Time for the 24-hour rule.  If anything makes me so upset that I'm overthinking, I go into a 24-hour lockdown on communication until I've sorted it out. 

And you need to sort this out.  You don't have enough information to make a decision about anything yet.  Take 2 has a good plan. 

TabathasGran

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Re: I need of perspective AKA: I'm not 5
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2018, 09:47:53 PM »
How long do they intend for you to spend in her office? I think it’s reasonable to be upset by this. Is there any benefit to sitting in a different office? (Less distractions , easier access to other resources, etc?). If not I would focus on that. “It is distracting to be in an office with an open door, with frequent visitors. I cannot work as quickly this way.”

This would probably be something I’d grumble about and then let go. It doesn’t sound personal, more like they know they screwed up letting it get this backed up, and now they are trying to do something to feel like they are actively helping to resolve it, even though it sounds like there is nothing more than can do than give you the resources and time to get it finished. So if someone above asks what action they’ve taken they have an answer.  Even if they answer is they did something that doesn’t actually help.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 10:00:29 PM by TabathasGran »

TeamBhakta

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Re: I need of perspective AKA: I'm not 5
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2018, 09:55:50 PM »
I would frame it as "It's very disruptive to getting the work finished faster when I have to keep answering 'Hey, Rashea, why are you working in the boss' office this week ?' "

Margo

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Re: I need of perspective AKA: I'm not 5
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 07:37:27 AM »
I would not frame it as 'I was hurt and angry'.

I would frame it as "can you clarify for me why you anted me to work downstairs? I know that a backlog built up due to the very heavy workload I had, and now I have support I am working through that. I'd be happy to provide updates about what's been completed and is outstanding, and I am keeping records as I go along so I can give you details of what's still outstanding at any point, if you need that.

I felt that I want able to work as efficiently while I was in your outer office, as there's more traffic which can be distraction, and I was fielding lots of questions about why I was there.
You gave be a list of the order yo wanted me to work in. Obviously I will do the work in the order you want,  - would you like me to let you have a copy of my work in progress list so you can see what is still outstanding, and the order I've been addressing things in, and let me know if you want me to adjust how I am approaching this task?"

I think you can also legitimately ask whether your boss is happy with the work you've done so far, and the pace at which the backlog is being cleared. It may be that they have different ideas about how long it ought to take, and if you raise that specifically then you can either have a conversation about how you can make that happen ( e.g. ask for extra help, ask for explicit instructions to allow you to do the backlogged work as a priority before dealing with your other work, or as appropriate) or alternatively clarify why their expectation isn't achievable.

Runningstar

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Re: I need of perspective AKA: I'm not 5
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2018, 05:48:17 PM »
But, it's taking a long time (in part because I don't usually get uninterrupted time).

Yesterday, I was told to take my things and go work at my boss's spare desk.



I wonder if your boss has a reason to have you with her, are other employees having you do work for them?  What interrupts you? (other than the questions/greetings).  And, although you are probably more able to say what needs to be done and in what order, your boss might have a very different need. 

I'd say for you to just "grin and bear it", do what you are told, when and where.  Assume that your boss knows best, and I hope that this soon passes!  Hugs if you want them - this type of thing can be very unsettling.

SamiHami

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  • No! Iz mai catnip! You no can haz! YOU NO CAN HAZ!
Re: I need of perspective AKA: I'm not 5
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2018, 06:56:39 PM »
One of the things that is both good and bad about being female is that we tend to invest ourselves more emotionally in our jobs that men do. At least, that has been my observation after 34 years working in an office environment. Sending a hurt and angry email is not a good idea.

You do, however, need to clear the air and see where you stand. PPs have given you great advice. Just stay professional, not emotional. It may very well be-and is probably likely-that they thought they were doing you a favor somehow by moving you. It's hard to believe that they would be punitive without ever saying anything at all before it got to that point. I really think you might be misreading the situation.

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

browzer11

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Re: I need of perspective AKA: I'm not 5
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2018, 12:13:15 AM »
"Yesterday, I was told to take my things and go work at my boss's spare desk.".

The time to ask why, and for how long, was yesterday. Why did you not ask these questions?

There may be more going on here than we are privy to.

Mikayla

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Re: I need of perspective AKA: I'm not 5
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2018, 04:09:29 PM »
I would not frame it as 'I was hurt and angry'.

I would frame it as "can you clarify for me why you anted me to work downstairs? I know that a backlog built up due to the very heavy workload I had..."

I agree and like this approach.  It's also what I would use.  But everything depends on the dynamics between Rashea and her supervisor.  Maybe I've been lucky, but I've only had 1 supervisor I couldn't address this with directly, either in the moment or after the fact.  Not everyone has this, though.

I don't see why a quick personal discussion wouldn't work, but I do agree you (OP) wouldn't want to talk about your reaction.  It's more about why this happened and if there's any way to avoid it in the future.  If it was me, I'd tell them it slowed me down  and created other distractions.

rashea

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Re: I need of perspective AKA: I'm not 5
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2018, 09:31:22 AM »
"Yesterday, I was told to take my things and go work at my boss's spare desk.".

The time to ask why, and for how long, was yesterday. Why did you not ask these questions?

There may be more going on here than we are privy to.
I did. Her statement was that this was to help me. I reiterated that I did not feel this would be helpful, but did not argue further.

My boss and I have a strained relationship. I think she doesn't know what she's doing, and a lot of the extra fell on me when I didn't have the capacity to absorb it. I cleared the fact that I was falling behind on paperwork with her directly while it was happening, but I think she didn't really pay attention. Now, it's a matter of the company getting paid, and now she's in a hurry. So, her not doing her job added to my already overloaded position (the person who did this job before also stated it was an overloaded position, and she had 1 day a week to do paperwork, something I didn't get) and she approved a temporary solution while she figured out an option (I do crisis work, so not responding when the phone rings isn't an option). Now the temporary solution has caused other problems and I feel like I'm expected to just fix the issue and make it go away. Which is making me resentful because I didn't cause the situation in the first place.

I think I've decided next time she's in the office to sit down with her and ask what the push is, and what we can agree to do to get this work done. I'm willing to do quite a few things to get this off my plate. But, I also do want to gently ask that if they are trying to do something helpful they ask me. I can generally give decent estimates of when the work will get done, barring calls. And I think it would be worth me asking if they are not satisfied in the progress. I did get a gut check, and my co-workers agree that I'm clearing things at a decent rate.

Almost all my distractions are clients. When the phone rings, paperwork just doesn't matter.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

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ClaireC79

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Re: I need of perspective AKA: I'm not 5
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2018, 11:10:21 AM »
You've said you can't just ignore the phone when it rings because when it rings it is clients and they need to come first. 

The fact that she has removed you from the phone (unless you are still having the calls at her desk - if so ignore me) suggests that is not the case - if other people could deal with the phone and clients then maybe that is why she's trying to help by removing you from the client work

rashea

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Re: I need of perspective AKA: I'm not 5
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2018, 08:04:54 AM »
You've said you can't just ignore the phone when it rings because when it rings it is clients and they need to come first. 

The fact that she has removed you from the phone (unless you are still having the calls at her desk - if so ignore me) suggests that is not the case - if other people could deal with the phone and clients then maybe that is why she's trying to help by removing you from the client work

Someone is doing my job (in some form) 24/7. To pull me off working, and put me on paperwork (something we've done several days recently) just takes assigning the work to someone else and letting the reception or answering service know. They just paged someone else. So not sitting at my desk doesn't matter in those terms.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

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bah12

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Re: I need of perspective AKA: I'm not 5
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2018, 10:45:39 AM »
You've said you can't just ignore the phone when it rings because when it rings it is clients and they need to come first. 

The fact that she has removed you from the phone (unless you are still having the calls at her desk - if so ignore me) suggests that is not the case - if other people could deal with the phone and clients then maybe that is why she's trying to help by removing you from the client work

Someone is doing my job (in some form) 24/7. To pull me off working, and put me on paperwork (something we've done several days recently) just takes assigning the work to someone else and letting the reception or answering service know. They just paged someone else. So not sitting at my desk doesn't matter in those terms.

Clearly, you need to have an open and honest talk with your boss which would include her giving you her perspective without you getting defensive.  Her management style may very well have caused you to fall behind on paperwork, but physically removing you from your desk and making you sit with her communicated that she does not believe you are behind because of workload, but that you are behind because you are not giving the proper attention to the workload.  Even if this is inaccurate, you need to fully understand her perspective on the situation in order to move forward.   From there, you can offer up a plan that will both get you caught up as quickly as possible and  avoid a future lag/catch-up period.  If the paperwork is needed for the company to get paid, then it is just as important as answering the phones.  So, perhaps someone else needs to answer the phones with you as a backup only once the paperwork is complete.   If you are more productive at your desk, then perhaps you can suggest that your phone or other distractions be removed and then have a daily or weekly follow up on your progress.  For example, you can lay out how much paperwork you would need to complete, per day, in order to be fully caught up by some suspense date that you and she agree to.  Then send her an email at the end of the workday with your actual progress compared to where you are supposed to be.  Hopefully, you'll be able stay ahead of the curve and gain her confidence, but if you aren't as productive one day, you can let her know what the issues are and how they are being resolved.

It's crummy working for someone that doesn't have it all together and then blames employees for the results of that, but unfortunately, unless you are going to quit and get another job (which doesn't guarantee better conditions), then you can't expect your boss (who has already proven not to be fully aware of the situation) to correctly assess and come up with a workable solution for everyone.  Since it's effecting you the most right now, you will need to take the steps to fix it and change her perspective.  Not easy, but definitely possible.