...a piece of your mind?!
I work for a small pharmaceutical company. Being the lowest ranked, I handle the occasional administrative task. I don't mind at all and I really enjoy my job, as it requires me to wear a few different hats and I get bored easily, so variety is good.
We're moving (original date Dec. 18th, which changed to Dec. 20th) and I have to arrange to have our chemical waste taken away. Apparently, this has proven to be a Herculean task because of the incredible uselessness of the person who manages our account. I will call her ARGH. In the past, I sent an email to our rep and the pickup would be arranged. I sent my first email on Dec. 6. No response. On Dec. 11, I sent another one. I made my first error here, as I should have called, but it's a simple pickup and I thought it would be a no-brainer as it normally is.
On Dec. 12, I call our rep. Turns out she transferred our account to ARGH. She told me she's been forwarding all of my emails and doesn't know why ARGH hasn't called me back. ARGH finally calls on the 13th. In my first email, I said that in addition to our normal waste, we will have some heavy metal waste to dispose of. ARGH tells me that they need to build a profile to add to our account. Basically, it's a report on what the waste is, how we used it, and what other things it might have come into contact with. ARGH tells me it will take a couple of days and they can't pick it up until after we move. She keeps asking me how long we have possession of our facility. I tell her if she can arrange for Thursday or Friday, that would be good. I would get back to her about the heavy metals, but we might have to split the waste into two pickups. I get back to her within ONE HOUR of our call. Now, if ARGH had gotten back to me earlier in the week, we could have waited. But since she took 8 days to get back to me, we can't wait. I tell her that we need our typical waste pick up and we'll just move the heavy metals to the new place. I emphasize that we do not have possession of the facility nor can we go back once we move out. (This isn't necessarily true, but I don't want to have to go back and sit in an empty lab just because ARGH can't put our name on a schedule) I ask her to put us down for the 14th or the 15th.
ARGH calls on Dec. 14 and says she scheduled the pickup for Dec. 18th. Since this was a message on my machine, I call her back and say "Look, we're moving that day. We don't want your staff to have to manuever around the movers, so if you can schedule for 8am-10am, let me know. If you cannot, please call me back so we can work something out."
Note that I did tell her to call me back. Our move date changed, but because ARGH has been so irritating, I decide to keep the waste pickup on that day. Today is the 18th. I've been at work since 8am. I have nothing to do.
Now it is 11:19am. No pickup yet. My boss called at 10:30am and demanded to know why the pickup has not occurred. He told them that since we have NOTHING to do but wait for this move to happen, we refuse to sit and wait for their staff to come and pickup. The person he spoke with said that she'd check on things and call us back.
My phone rings and it's ARGH. She said, "I got your message and I did put in the request, but I couldn't guarantee a pickup at that time."
WHAT?! That's fine, but I did ask her to call me back! Through all of that, she made no apologies until today and it was an insincere "Sentence, sentence, oh I apologize."
My boss' instructions are "Give her hell."
My question? How do you give people hell while sounding sane? I went off on her (sort of), but my voice CRACKED! I said that I'd been her since 8am and that everyone's been out of the lab and working on contracts and meetings. We cannot simply wait at the lab all day for this to happen and she does need to at least give us a window of when this will happen. When I get mad, I get jittery and stammerish. My words made sense, for the most part, but I was talking really fast and I started to stutter. I also tend to become really wordy. I doubt this will make anyone take me, or my annoyance, seriously. Any tips for calming down and sounding really upset without sounding really upset?
Quick update: While I was writing this post, I called our old rep, who apparently seems to be higher up now, and explained the whole chain of events. I also asked for a new point of contact. I was calmer and definitely tried to emphasize that I enjoyed working with her (the old rep) and since the new rep is so hard to reach, we'd prefer that our waste pickup not be an ordeal each time it's needed. Still, it sounded weird basically saying, "Well, she's useless... can we have someone else?" I also feel bad getting people into trouble and I wish I can ask my boss to handle this. However, he's emphasized that I should handle the phone calls, etc. because I think he wants to see how I can handle these kind of interactions as a whole. I can't say no, or else I might jeopardize my own future, but I'm not good at it, either, and could look horrendously unprofessional.