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Thread: "Well, then, stop beating your head against his wall."

  1. #1
    MissMuffins's Avatar
    MissMuffins is offline Senior Member
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    "Well, then, stop beating your head against his wall."

    At work, we had two different monitoring visits this week. "What's a monitoring visit?" you ask. A monitoring visit is when the grant monitors make sure your agency is fulfilling the grant requirements. Some monitoring visits utilize a very formal, nerve-wracking atmosphere. Others do not. Either way, a monitoring *is* a big deal and you want to put your best foot forward. Therefore, every time there's a monitoring visit, whether it's an end-of-season, end of year, end of grant, or any other type of monitoring visit, people freak out.

    I don't have test anxiety. I'm also a big believer in reading the directions and doing good work all the time, not just when someone is looking. In this case, the directions are the grant, the program manual and the state plan or mandate from which that grant is derived. Therefore, monitoring visits don't make me nervous or put me on edge. They can pull a file at random and that one is going to be put together just as well as the ones we knew they wanted to see.

    Both monitors asked about something specific to my work.

    In the first instance, the monitor asked about a specific document. I am intimately familiar with that document and everything to go with it, as that project became my baby even before I transferred to the department. I update the form, revise and order the materials for which it acknowledges receipt, and I am one of three people who deliver that service to our clients. Instead of coming to me to answer the question for the monitor, my supervisor went to the coworker with whom I share some responsibilities. My coworker has very pointedly had no involvement whatsoever with that aspect of our work. He doesn't even put those files together; a third coworker does, and I'm the one who worked with him to develop the way he wanted the files put together and then trained him on the final product because my other coworker can't be bothered to assemble the files.

    Instead of telling our supervisor that particular document is something I do, my coworker went and met with the monitor and muddled through finding the document. I just want to call the little f*cker out.

    Maybe when the boss is out and everyone else is in, that's what I should do. "Hey, 'George,' I hear you're doing ___ now. You're not? Oh, really. I thought when you met with the monitor like you're the one who's all over that, it meant you were taking it on and I don't have to do it any more."

    In the second instance, the monitor asked what a specific investor-owned utility company (IOU) does for us. I'm not sure why they asked, because that's not their grant. OTOH, in a way it is their business, because the state public utilities commission mandated that the investor-owned utilities take certain actions to benefit low-to-moderate income individuals. The program manager whose program was being monitored is new, and she didn't know because the thing the monitor asked her about is not her program. It's mine. So, in error she told the monitor that the IOU in question doesn't do anything for us. Internally, I was, like, ooo. Bad. Very bad. Major faux pas. "Actually, the IOU is a major supporter of Program A and funds Program B for the agency. They also fund my position. In its entirety. The X, Y, Z material you use with clients? I developed them. The A, B, C we've worked together on? Uh-huh. That's what [the utility] does for us." Yeah, that was kind of a big oops. Not sure how I'm going to fix it. However, that monitor will probably be up next week to monitor a different program and I may have a chance to see her & touch base then.

    Then, in the middle of all that, another coworker decides he needs to get in the middle of of a crisis application that our supervisor and I have been working on, with the state office, for about two weeks now. But he isn't aware of that, and when he went over our supervisor's head, he didn't make that person aware of it either. He's a known shyt-stirrer, and the person he went to is known to leap before she looks.

    The thing is, if people were in the habit of talking to me instead of talking for me, none of those things would have happened. I don't know how it became part of the management/leadership culture for people to talk for me, and I don't know how to change that. To my knowledge, I'm not known for being a loose cannon or going off half-cocked. In fact, I'm credited with repairing a heavily damaged relationship with the IOU and having my ducks in a row, so I don't know what the deal is.

    So, I'm having a tantrum and my panties are in a wad and I'm texting furiously to the grumpy guy. His parting advice in the exchange was, "Well, then, stop being your head against his wall."

    He gives good advice. That's why I love him.

    His comment makes me think: How many other times in life do we need to stop beating our heads against someone else's wall? Come on, 'fess up. Spill if you will.

    MM
    Last edited by MissMuffins; 07-11-2013 at 02:04 AM.
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    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

  2. #2
    gorillagirl Guest
    i beat myself up mentally/emotionally a billion times over every mistake i've ever made. even today. relentless self-torment. i know, i know, percy, just breathe, i know...
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  3. #3
    marklogan51 is offline Member
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    Well !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    In With The Good Air out with the bad air, anger and self doubt Etc



    Mark

  4. #4
    theREALTrish's Avatar
    theREALTrish is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorillagirl View Post
    i beat myself up mentally/emotionally a billion times over every mistake i've ever made. even today. relentless self-torment. i know, i know, percy, just breathe, i know...
    I do the exact same thing....

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    Faith's Avatar
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    I went to a Zen talk last night and came away with a profound piece of advice from the speaker...

    4 simple words to live by, one size fits all occasions:

    "Don't make things worse."

    Too bad it has taken me decades to even begin to learn that lesson... decades of making things worse, for myself and for others. I should tattoo those 4 words on my forearm.
    "Leave the gun...take the cannoli."

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    It's hard to let people "do their thing," especially when we know it's incorrect, and most especially when our job might be on the line because of it! Perhaps these co-workers didn't know that they could refer these questions to you. They may have felt that they had no choice but to try to answer the monitors on their own because *they* were the ones who were asked the question. They may have felt that an "I'm not sure, MM handles that" type of answer would make them and/or the organization look bad. They probably didn't realize that their muddling would make the organization look bad anyway.

    When I worked at Head Start, before our monitors came in, we would have staff meetings and it was made clear that we were to only answer questions regarding our areas of competency--anything else was to be referred to the person who took care of those issues. I was grant applications, anything budget related was supposed to be referred to Bruce in accounting, nutrition questions went to Susan (even if the question was relating to our own sites), etc. Perhaps this is something that your organization can do? Of course, some monitors don't like to be referred like that. I guess it depends on the monitors, too.

    Back when I was in my first marriage (and my son was just a baby, so this was about 10 years ago!), a friend of mine was visiting us and I was folding laundry while we chatted. She started helping me by folding towels. But they weren't done right, and apparently she saw me eyeing them up. She looked at my ex, smiled and joked, "Watch, I bet she will re-fold them!" I tried so hard NOT to, especially after that comment. But I couldn't help it! I had to do them right!

    That was a relatively minor episode. LOL Since then, I've learned to let things slide and that I can't control everything. I've trained myself to believe that it doesn't matter how the towels are folded, just as long as they're folded. It doesn't matter that I'd planned to make meatloaf out of the hamburger unthawing in the fridge, but my husband made spaghetti sauce instead. What matters is that he made supper and I don't have to! It doesn't matter if I didn't get a 100% on a test in school. All that matters is I passed and I learned.
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    Never try to fit in when you are meant to stand out.


  7. #7
    Angel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorillagirl View Post
    i beat myself up mentally/emotionally a billion times over every mistake i've ever made. even today. relentless self-torment. i know, i know, percy, just breathe, i know...
    I do, too, GG.

    There's a lyric to one of my favorite songs that goes, "There is nothing you can do to me that I have not already done to myself."

    I don't beat my head against anyone or anything other than the walls I built up around myself. I've been working hard to stop, but the process is slow going.
    gorillagirl and Air like this.
    there before the threshold, I saw a brighter world beyond myself

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  8. #8
    MissMuffins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkunicorn View Post
    It's hard to let people "do their thing," especially when we know it's incorrect, and most especially when our job might be on the line because of it!
    I don't have a problem with people using different means to achieve the same objective, when it's appropriate. Some things need to be done the same way, every time, no matter who does them. If we didn't do the same thing differently, there'd be no house specialties. OTOH, if there were no such things as uniformity and consistency, there'd be no such thing as a franchise. Sometimes, you want the chef to surprise you. Other times, you just want your Big Mac. Which I don't, because I hate McDonald's. For me, it would be a Wendy's single.

    I have a problem with people agreeing to something, then doing as they damned well please--never mind that you're both equally responsible for the outcome.

    I have a problem with people taking it upon themselves to speak for me, when they have no direct involvement with the project and have not touched base with me regarding what's going into the "official" response.

    MM
    Last edited by MissMuffins; 07-13-2013 at 11:12 PM.
    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

  9. #9
    MissMuffins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorillagirl View Post
    i beat myself up mentally/emotionally a billion times over every mistake i've ever made. even today.
    This made me think "do I do that?" Thank heaven, I don't. I just spend a lot of time bashing my head against walls...ones that I've built, or things that amount to other peoples' walls. Look at how much time I've spent bashing my head against walls that are the grumpy guy's.

    gg, why do you do that? stop it! (look up Bob Newhart Stop It on youtube)

    As someone who's worked in education and with the public, you know mistakes happen. It's part of our learning process. You also know how it's possible for a "mistake" to happen and for that mistake to be no one's or everyone's fault, yet one person takes the fall for it. Systems and the people within those systems contribute to our mistakes.

    Cut yourself some slack over mistakes of those varieties.

    Regarding those mistakes (and we all have 'em) that involve situations where we plain old, flat-out just plumb fck'd up: instead of beating yourself up, try "Yup, I did that. Here's what I learned from it, and here's what I'd do differently if I had it to do again."

    As for me and bashing my head against walls, I got no ideas how to stop that. It seems like they're straight out of an old Sunday school song, "so high, you can't get over it; so low, you can't under it; so wide, you can't get around it...you must go in at the door." Except, from where I stand there is no door and I'm for damned sure not staying where I am, so I try to make one with my head.

    Maybe I need to change where I stand?

    If I take a step back with regard to my PITA coworker and look again, maybe there *is* a door.

    When he and I and our supervisor were in HR, he said something about position description. When he and I moved to the department a year ago, we were both verbally instructed that we share responsibility for some functions. He's been using the fact that my written position description has not yet been amended to include those things as justification to either exclude or override me, with regard to joint-decision making and reporting upon the progress of things for which we share responsibility. There's my door: position descriptions.

    Late this spring, having seen no way around the situation, I decided to walk away from it as much as possible. For the first time since moving to the department, I put most of my effort into those things for which I am solely responsible. In doing so, I stopped picking up all the things he sets aside for someone else to do later. When something for which we were jointly responsible crossed my desk, I took care of it rather than putting it in the "in" basket, and then resumed working on my projects. If I set something aside to resume later and he found a reason to get into the middle of it, I left it for him to finish.

    On more than one occasion, anywhere there's overlap in our responsibilities, he has deleted, password protected or changed the electronic location of the electronic files we use for that task. He has also stopped ordering or physically relocated the materials we use for those tasks. I used to go to him and ask where it was. Now I just do the job without jumping that particular hoop. Since the hoops are all of his creation...

    He'll either learn to deal with it, or he won't. He'd best learn to deal with it now, while things are slow. I set my own schedule, and a big part of my job requires me to be out of the office. When things get busy again, I plan to be occupied elsewhere.

    Oddly enough, the ongoing headache I had from beating my head against his wall has lifted.

    MM
    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

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