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Author Topic: How to handle it?  (Read 5297 times)
countrigal
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« on: February 23, 2012, 03:59:37 pm »

Ok... I'm needing some unbiased, not involved, advice in a situation here at work.  Basically, I need to know how to handle an upper management person who appears to be "out to get me".

Background info:  About 3 years ago, I transitioned into the management team.  I became an Assistant Coach, then a Coach in charge of my own team of employees, and, due to my feelings on how upper management treats their managers (Coaches and Asst Coaches) I stepped down last Sept to my present position, back in the realm of regular employees.  Prior to my taking the Asst Coach position, myself and "Coach A" got along fairly well.  I worked for her on her team, and we both said that we made a good team.  When I took the Asst Coach position, and moved to being one of her peers, she was cold to me, and did everything in her power to tell me I didn't know what I was doing, that what I was doing was wrong, that she was better than me.  Now, I never said I was even her equal, as she'd been a Coach for years before I got that post, and so I had a lot to learn from her, and even said as much to her.  What I came to believe is that one of the other Coaches and "Coach A" did not get along and the other Coach was mentoring me, as she was directed.  Since those two Coaches are not civil to each other, I got the same treatment, no matter what my actions were, or so I came to believe.  "Coach A" put in for and got the open upper management spot (directly over the Coaches, in pecking order, answering to only 2 people before the Director), and was a big part of whey I decided to step down from my position.  Of course, I played the political game and used the fact that they "need" long hours from their Coaches and I'm not willing to give them those hours due to the way I want to raise my kids (ie: be there for them, go to their school functions, be a Scout leader for them, go on field trips).  Did not tell anyone that my real reason is that I didn't appreciate missing my kids functions because they felt that I needed to be on hand to run my team, that Coaches are frowned upon if they take their earned leave, that if the Coaches do not come in atleast 2 Saturdays or Sundays a month they are seen as shirking their duties, or their belief that the best way to treat their Coaches is to brow beat them.  We have certain production and quality standards that each Team is judged by, and thus that team's Coach.  I put 8 hours in and went home, treated my team with respect, didn't brow beat them or act like they were my enemy, treated them like adults, and my team's numbers were no worse than those Coaches' teams that were here 12 hours a day, every weekend at least 8 hours, and who treated their team like they were pre-schoolers who had to be instructed on every detail of work they had to do.  Yet I was told that my numbers sucked, that they'd be better if I was here more, didn't take so much (earned) leave, etc.  I decided I did not need the additional issues that I suspected would come up with Coach A now in a position over me and where she could harangue me even more than she was as a 'peer'.  Unfortunately, when i stepped down in September, I did not get assigned to a team right away, and still had to report directly to Coach A.  I treated her with respect (kill them with kindness type of response), always did what i was told, did my best work, etc... and still got grief from her on the smallest issue.  In January, I was assigned to a team, and siince this assignment, she's called me up to her to 'answer' for somehting I've done at least 2, and she questions everything I do or request.  We have implemented mandatory OT of 20 hours a month, and I told my Coach that I may not be able to do 20 hours, due to my childcare issues, and he is required to report this up and get direction on whether this is acceptable or not from Coach A and her boss.  After 2 weeks of delaying, she finally gets back to my Coach and the e-mail was ugly... something about "with 20 workdays a month, she's saying she can't do 1 hour a day, each day? Or any Saturday?".  She and her boss are aware of my situation, my husband just started a new job and he's working on Saturday's now, and works long hours Tues thru Sat, and my daycare hours are limited and my outside resources are even more limited.  I did not say I wouldn't work OT, did not ask for an out-an-out exemption, but was notifying them that I did know if I could do the full 20, but would give all I could.  Another sidenote:  Coach A was a single mom through most of her career, was willing to miss school functions and such, works weekends religiously and even has remote access at home so when she's on "leave" she's working from home or on weekends from home, so we are as opposite in that aspect as can be, but I have never said a negative thing about her or her way of raising her child or doing her work.  I figure, each person has to do what they feel is right.

This OT e-mail was just yesterday.... and I'm starting to wonder if Coach A is still 'out to get' me, or what??  And how to handle her/the situation.  So far, I'm just maintaining my professional conduct, being respectful of her just like I am to all the other Coaches and above (ie: not treating her any different, even if it was more "kind" than others).  What more can I do???  I just want to put my head down, stay off her radar, as well as the radar of the rest of the management staff, but seems anytime I turn around I'm pulled into something and it's blowing up and putting me back on that radar.  Help!?!
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Brighton Rock
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2012, 04:56:08 pm »

Countrigal,

I'm afraid I have seen a similar situation replicated even in my current company.

There are lots of issues here, which you are best placed to know.  For instance, your labour laws are very different to those in the United Kingdom, where I am based.  In USA you have, in most States, "At Will" contracts, so I guess you have to step carefully here. 

Another issue is the green-eyed monster.  Once you step out of the ranks of "just another employee", you can be seen as a threat to other people, and much more so if you have been promoted within the company.  Having chosen to go back to being "just another employee" and choosing to set boundaries about the time-contribution you can make to your work, you may be perceived as not being quite committed enough.  There seems to be a culture of presenteeism.

Your colleague's behaviour may simply be a result of character (I would perceive this individual as not being personable) or pressure is being put on this person from above and the behaviour shown is a knock-on effect of that.  However, presenteeism is never a good way to run a business, and any company that runs along those lines should probably take a reality check and maybe consider not being in business at all.  People have lives and external commitments.  I firmly believe that what you do outside work (Scout leader, church choir member, mom etc) is at least as important as what you do in work.

What you do about this is a difficult thing partly because of your labour laws - you want to keep that job - and partly because you don't want to damage your chances for the future.

Action plan - you need one.  Talking to this person direct will probably not be very productive.  That The first thing you do is to keep a diary of any interaction with or challenging behaviour by this person, including notes of conversations and copies of emails.  Secondly, you might consider discussing this in confidence with your manager or HR people at this stage, or hang in there until you have managed to compile your diary for two or three weeks.  I would begin this sort of diary with a catch-up statement noting that you are keeping the diary because you have concerns about the way this individual is treating you. 

I remember you, CG, from way back here on DeskDemon, as someone who is very conscientious and diligent.  I am so sorry about this situation; it must be awful for you.  I

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Brighton Rock
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« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2012, 05:00:39 pm »

 Grin Hit return too quickly there, and not sure if I can edit my post, but not much more to say.  Briefly, confronting that person will do no good, unless you feel you have a better opinion of them than comes across in your post.  I hope that you can resolve things in time. x
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JessW
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2012, 09:56:07 am »

CG - take it from someone who knows.  Get the flock out of there with your dignity, health, sanity and self respect in tact.  Brush off your CV and really really sing your own praises.  and get looking for a company that is less draconian.  Chances are the 'policies' of this firm you are with are totally contrary to most employment laws and would not stand up to even the most basic scrutiny (or even under common law for that matter).

Whilst the pay may (or may not be) good/bad/indifferent, your health and your child's upbringing is far more important.  Coach A obviously has issues that are probably very well documented amongst the upper management (only digging into the history of her employment/the firm will tell you some of what may have happened to/with her in the past, but never tell you the whole story and how many victims she has behind her or if she herself has adapted  her behaviour because of being a victim of the same thing).  You cannot change her or her methods.

Remember she can do you a lot more damage than you can do to her.

I am really sorry you are going through all of this.  I had this with 'big boy' at a previous firm who, as soon as he realised I could be promoted to a similar managerial position as himself, started to put the boot in (especially as he realised that I knew where all his 'bodies' were hidden).

Good luck and big hug!

Jess
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countrigal
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2012, 03:36:14 pm »

I forgot to mention one thing that is very different for me than most folks... I'm in a government job, so the 'at will' and other issues like that  don't really apply.  It takes A LOT to get anyone fired, so I don't expect to lose my job over this.  However, that does mean that she can just keep making my life miserable for as long as she remains in her position.

As for moving on... being a government employee limits my options for a new job.  I am looking at possibly trying to get back to the Hospital side (though non-medical) of the house (I'm in the Administrative side) but I'm not sure that there will be a post I will qualify for at the GS grade I am at here.  Add to that, this job is really a great fit for my personality, my skill set, etc. and I would hate to leave it.  Since my husband retired from the military, we don't have the next military move to look towards as a potential change in jobs for me, so I'm basically stuck right now.  That being said, I do know that Coach A is actively looking to move up in the ranks and she AND her husband have been applying for jobs out of state.  So I'm going to be praying that they get their desires and move upwards, putting more distance (and levels of management) between myself and her -- soon.  :-)  Still doing the killing-her-with-kindness routine.  And praying that I survive her term until she moves on... 

Thanks all!  And if there is any other input on how to survive until she does move on, please send them my way.  Already started the documentation trail (forgot about that, so thanks for the reminder) as a CMA, so looking for the next step.
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StephanieP
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« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2012, 11:05:43 pm »

I can sympathize with you, countrigal.  I suspect lots of us have been in similar situations.  I think your approach of "keep your head down and do your best" is a good one, and as for the mandated OT, I would suggest one of the following:

  • See if there is an opportunity for you to obtain remote access, citing your child care constraints as an issue (I assume you could do an hour or two in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed/are working on homework);
    See if an alternate work schedule is available to you - perhaps working 2-3 extra hours on Mondays and then taking a 30 minute lunch T-F can get your 20 hours in?;
    See if it's possible for one or two of your colleagues to take some of your OT requirement.  I'm sure there is someone who would love the extra pay and may not have the time constraints that you have;
    Arrange with a nearby parent to do drop-off or pick-up from school/daycare for your kids in exchange for a little cash.


I think that it's probably a matter of you outlasting Coach A - it looks like she's trying to get out of the department anyhow, so your agnoy may be short-lived.  I'd be more concerned about finding a solution to the overtime issue at the moment, as it is more likely to come back and bite you, especially after you made the choice to step down from your Asst Coach role.  You don't want to run the risk of appearing that you aren't a team player, or that you're trying to minimize your work contributions.  I absolutely understand about wanting to devote more time to your family, but I think that you're going to have to make some tough decisions right now about finding ways to put in the extra time at work or run the risk of sacrificing your job security.  I'm sorry you find yourself in this situation.
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countrigal
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2012, 03:40:24 pm »

Thanks StephanieP... great ideas, even if some we're unable to do here (already only get 30 minutes lunches... yippee! NOT!  Smiley ).  They are still great suggestions that others might be able to use in similiar situations....includiing some of my co-workers.

An update, which dovetails with what StephanieP suggested...  I have requested to go on a compressed work tour, which would have me working 8 days at 9 hours each, 1 day at 8 hours, and then having a day off, so every other week I'd have my day off to work OT on.  Then put 8-9 hours of OT in on those 2 days of the month, and have a majority of my OT covered.  So now I'm waiting on Coach A to approve my request... yet another way for her to cause me issues!.... and trying to work an hour here and there until then so no one gets upset with me.  I put the request in over a week ago and still haven't heard a response, so wondering what the hold-up could be.  This is normally just a formality, very easy to approve and nothing that should be holding it up this long...
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