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Thread: At work: am I being paranoid, or is this weird?

  1. #16
    gorillagirl Guest
    AZ- have you ever considered taking a meditation class or maybe some non-violent communication training? This might help you to deal with idiots.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mskitty View Post
    ...something is amiss there. Someone is keeping you out of the loop for a reason..sabotage or the fact that he committed plagiarism may be the key. This guy really sounds like a man on the edge ..grasping to keep his position or maybe he thinks this type of betrayal is going to land him in a better position than he currently has or maybe just wants to keep..
    I think he believes it makes him look good; so far, it has--he's managed to make himself look good enough to get away with it for nearly 5 years.

    Some people see through it immediately; others don't, and I'm one of those who didn't. I had to work closely with him for several months before catching on to it. Yeah, he had his quirks, but we all do. When I realized this was not just a "difference" (which I can tolerate) but an actual issue (which must be addressed), I tried to deal with it one-on-one, then I went up the chain of command. Meanwhile, I tried to maintain the camaraderie which had existed between us. It became clear the situation was not going to be resolved, so I distanced myself while from it while trying to keep things cordial.

    Quote Originally Posted by mskitty View Post
    I would seriously consider having an audit done of his work.. When you create a policy or implement a process that no one else can do it means you are trying your best to be invaluable to the company by deceptions or not divulging or teaching the process in case you kick the bucket over night... that is an old school thought pattern which employers find counter productive to a company these days. The new policy of employers is "team work" and obviously this man is NOT a team player.

    don't let him get by with this but do not compromise YOU...
    If I were in a position to request or suggest an audit of his work, I would. Perhaps in this instance, it's a good thing I'm not. I know his math isn't always correct--his computations may be, but his method isn't--because I caught it during training and addressed it. He understood that he needed to follow the process I described in order to get the software to work, but he didn't understand why the method he employed resulted in an error.

    In his position, it's not enough to know where to plug in the numbers. You have to know why that number gets plugged in there.

    I suspect he made a similar error somewhere else; if my suspicion is correct, it will soon come to light and I won't have anything to do with it. Some people have complained to me about a situation, I've said "'they' need to check his work" and this is the time of year when everyone's work gets checked.

    I know some people think if they're the only person who knows or knows how to do something, that amounts to job security. Trying to make oneself invaluable and being unwilling to cross-train, partner or share responsibilities is a red flag behavior. Further, I question why competent management would encourage/allow someone to take on that much "exclusive" responsibility.

    There are parts of both processes I would gladly relinquish. There are other parts that I'm happy to explain our process to anyone who asks and show anyone who wants how to do it, but I don't trust his work enough to include anything derived from it in my report.

    Quote Originally Posted by mskitty View Post
    Does this guy continually step out of the chain of command?
    Gee, how'd you guess?

    Quote Originally Posted by mskitty View Post
    that would be a big no no to me for him to go to another department to seek advise or use someone there as a sounding board... What is company policy on those issues? Do you have staff meetings?
    He's constantly schmoozing around in other departments to get their feedback or use them as sounding boards. We don't have company policy on those issues, and we seldom have staff meetings.

    I've asked if the three of us who work together to provide program support could meet with our supervisor every couple of weeks, just to touch base and make sure we're all on the same page. It didn't go over well. At that point, I knew the situation wouldn't be resolved and would just have to run its course.

    MM
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  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
    Your situation is difficult. I understand that it hurts if tasks are getting taken away from you, especially when you have completed them well. Maybe you should really view it in that way that your boss is providing some rief for you. For those tasks that you may have to work on with this colleague I would keep a logbook of what you have done. If you consistently keep away from those task that were taken away from you, over time people will see whether that guy does a job as good as you.
    I would be hesitant to talk to your boss abou this decision - for multiple reasons
    I - for jealous people it might get the aftertaste of "it is her ego thing"
    - bosses get paid for taking decisions, and they also get paid for making mistakes. We employees do not get paid for preventing our boss from making mistakes -and rarely will they thank us if we try. Most bosss do not want to hear that their decisions are not good.

    Shortly before I went on vacation my boss made a very unwise decision. I tried to talk him out of it (I know I need to listen to my own advice but this is why I am telling you...because I got this brandnew experience), but my boss cannot say no to things that do not cost him money at first glance, and he always wants to be most people°s darling - so he said "i agree with you" to me and "okay, we will do as you want" to that colleague (and he wanted to opposite of me).
    I nearly got ulcers, figuratively speeking, but then I realized that it is not my job to prevent every ship from sinking and that I have to let go to keep my sanity, to stop getting a headache, so I made a concious decision to stay away from this matter (like from a chocolate cake that will land right on my hips) in order to be good to myself.
    the whole department knows that my boss took this decision, and sooner or later the administrative difficulties and consequences will become aparent to everyone.

    I let the ball roll downhill now, and like in those anonymous self-help groups (I used to go to ALANON) I say "only today for 24 hours I will not stick my nose into my boss§s decision.".
    I have missed you--and your common sense--so much! I'm so happy you've returned!

    Thanks for that--I'm trying to look at it like my supervisor is freeing me up to focus on other things instead of taking something away from me, and it helps to have you say that.

    I think I do need to talk to my supervisor, and I need to be careful to make sure my meaning is clear on these points:
    -I welcome the opportunity to turn certain tasks over to my coworkers...a third coworker could also perform these tasks, and this particular sequence should really NOT be left in the hands of one person (for the purposes of built-in checks & balances in the system)
    -I would like the opportunity to review a specific process with my coworker so he's provided with some "pass down" before he becomes responsible for carrying it out
    -I'm concerned about how my reporting will be affected if certain tasks are delegated to my coworker, and would like my supervisor's suggestions on how to address that concern.

    If I keep the focus there, I think the conversation will go well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
    ...bosses get paid for taking decisions, and they also get paid for making mistakes. We employees do not get paid for preventing our boss from making mistakes -and rarely will they thank us if we try.
    ^ this, right here was sooo helpful!

    MM
    Last edited by MissMuffins; 09-12-2013 at 01:45 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

  4. #19
    mskitty Guest
    " bosses get paid for taking decisions, and they also get paid for making mistakes. We employees do not get paid for preventing our boss from making mistakes -and rarely will they thank us if we try. Most bosss do not want to hear that their decisions are not good."

    Good statement Red...


    Boy that is the truth....and the more someone sticks their neck out the easier it is to get it chopped off...
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  5. #20
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    @mskitty
    Yes, exactly. And I have been in situations where I finally convinced a boss to do something the way I felt it
    is best although he thought otherwise, and if then something did not run smoothly nobody thought about it that the in my opinion wrong way may have caused even more problems (nothing runs perfectly after all), and I ended up having to hear "well, if we had done it my way, we might not have had this problem".
    My issue is not that I have a problem with being corrected. Really not. But I have not made good experiences with "force-convincing" (I am a little sarcastic now) someone against his will. Any positive windfall of such a conviction did not come back to me but any negative windfall for sure.
    (I am not sure whether I am using the right words. My mind is getting more tuned into Italian.)

    MM@
    I am glad that you appreciate what I said. On my way to class I was thinking "I hope she does not get the impression that I am trying to lecture her."
    I would like to know more about what exactly you want to talk with your boss regarding the last point of your plan. Does the task that was moved to your colleague bring valuable information for you for your other tasks? I just want to understand the context better, because I am concerned that you might be waking a sleeping dog.

    1. If anything you want to say can be boiled down to "do you not think the task might get done better by me" - it will not cast a favorable light on you.
    2. If indeed that task gives you information you need - your boss might simply make you and your colleague work together more. He will see your point but he will not suggest anything that you ever wanted to hear. In the end you maybe have to do more tasks together.
    And I know what it feels like to work with somebody with whom I have a bad chemistry. There is a lady in my department who likes me so much and does not notice that I do not reciprocate. She always pronounces my name as if she was a cat and I had stepped onto her tail. *headachesmiley*

    I may not know your situation well enough but I have a feeling in the back of my head that you will be better off not talking with your boss about this. It will lead to results that you never wanted to have.
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  6. #21
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    This morning another situation occurred, which made it necessary for me to talk with my supervisor.

    I asked him if there was a problem with my work that I wasn't aware of. Much to my relief, there is not. It is very much a matter of me being freed up to resume focus on my primary area of responsibility.

    I explained that I'm very happy to let my coworker(s) complete Tasks A-E. It had been necessary for me to perform those tasks for a while, in order to relieve a "log jam", but now it's time to return responsibility for those tasks to my coworkers. I mentioned that I appreciated the opportunity for cross-training and that we have a "transparent process" (an idiomatic expression from the business environment; it means everything is out in the open, one person can step in for another and the transition between coworkers is almost seamless). I also mentioned that I am completely fine with not being the person to perform Tasks A-E, because any time anyone tries to create a situation in which he or she is responsible for an entire process from start to finish, that is a big "danger" sign to me.

    However, I would like to retain responsibility for Task F, because that is the part of the process which gives me the information I need to improve my program. I was willing to take on Tasks A-E because they are precursors to Task F, but Task F is the part I need for my job. It helps me identify those clients to whom I would first offer future one-on-one education. I had to set that aside for the time being, but now I'd like to get back to it. If someone else performs Task F, I'm presented with a one-digit numerical ranking but I don't know if that ranking resulted from high energy use or extraordinarily low income. As I am meant to focus on helping people reduce their energy use, that is an important distinction.

    Not only has responsibility for Task F has been returned to me, you should have seen my supervisor's facial expression when I touched on one person being the only person responsible for an entire process, from beginning to end.

    Which means the entire training segment my coworker developed for use next week is now "out the window" because he based almost all of it on Task F.

    We present the training segments on Wednesday. I have decided that I shall inform him of my content and candidly state that I appreciate him restricting the contents of his presentation to Tasks A-E, as I will be addressing Task F in my presentation. My dilemma is: shall I inform him of this first thing Monday morning or wait until Tuesday afternoon?

    I'm thinking that Tuesday afternoon, after our supervisor has left, would be a really good time to stop by my coworker's desk and drop an "oh, by the way..." I don't know if I want to be the person who's capable of doing it, though.


    When he huffs and puffs about it, I'll say "I don't see why that would be the case--the content of your presentation includes Tasks A-E, because those are in your purview, correct? All you *should* need to do is cut the material on Task F. Task F falls within my purview, and I will cover Task F in my training segment."

    Incidentally, earlier this week I was asked to proofread the content on Tasks A-E that he submitted for inclusion in the conference binder, which staff will take back as a "quick reference" tab in their own program manual for use this upcoming year. I had time to go over it late this afternoon. When I "skimmed" it the other day, I immediately spotted two errors that needed to come out. Having now read it thoroughly, I'm shocked by the incompleteness and inaccuracy of his work, yet not surprised that portions of it contradicted the policies and procedures outlined in our program manual.

    I suggested revisions to the program manager who is coordinating the training conference and does not work in our department. I explaining each revision briefly; with every suggested revision, I also included a reference to our program manual. I then suggested the program manager touch base with our program director (my coworker's and my supervisor) for his feedback. I also volunteered to make any photocopies which may be needed as a result of the revision, in order to have the training binder ready in time for the training. I don't have the heart to dump something like that on someone, and then not offer to help deal with the damage.

    So, not only does The Little Prince (aka Mr Thinks He's Somebody) now have to re-do his presentation, he must also base the content of his presentation on information he is apparently unfamiliar with.

    Gee, isn't that too bad. When it's kind of your job to know that stuff, it's probably a bad idea to put yourself in a situation where you risk being caught chest-deep in bullxhit instead of actually knowing your material.

    MM
    Last edited by MissMuffins; 09-13-2013 at 01:43 AM.
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  7. #22
    mskitty Guest
    Should be amusing to see him scramble ... Glad you got things worked out.
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  8. #23
    Azureth is offline Banned
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    It amazes me how so many grown adults out there still haven't outgrown their diapers....
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  9. #24
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    Seems like it went well for you. I do not know what kind of rules you have over there - such things might be culturally different - but here in Germany if a boss decides to change the job responsibilities of his employees (in this case he gave you task F which your colleague hoped to get or had gotten), the boss has to inform the employees. So here in Germany you would not have to worry about when you tell him that because you would not be the one who tells.
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  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
    Seems like it went well for you. I do not know what kind of rules you have over there - such things might be culturally different - but here in Germany if a boss decides to change the job responsibilities of his employees (in this case he gave you task F which your colleague hoped to get or had gotten), the boss has to inform the employees. So here in Germany you would not have to worry about when you tell him that because you would not be the one who tells.
    That's how it's supposed to work here, too.

    I anticipated that my coworker would try again to approach me; he tried twice early last week, the attempts went nowhere and he generally does not give up so easily. Although he didn't make another attempt to initiate discussion about Task F, I felt better for having a game plan in the event he tried.

    The situation is still up in the air somewhat. Our presentations are tomorrow and I still have no idea whether our supervisor has made my coworker aware that I am now responsible for Task F and my coworker is not. I anticipated communication from our supervisor on Monday or Tuesday (accompanied by some flak from my coworker, who tends to make it quite obvious when he hasn't had his way). Nothing happened, and I didn't ask our supervisor because I didn't want to be a PITA about it. I wasn't able to speak with our supervisor this morning, so I emailed him upon my return this evening to touch base and request clarification. Representatives from the company which provides the funding for my position will be present at the training tomorrow, and I particularly do not want my coworker to cover any content related to Task F.

    However, if our supervisor does want my coworker to present content on Task F, I will respect my supervisor's wishes and omit that segment from my training.

    I feel like what my coworker did amounts to sabotaging my work. After he took it upon himself to perform a server re-org last winter and re-arranged our department's server files to suit himself, whether they were "his" files or not, I formally requested that he not touch my files and materials again. If the electronic files or other materials for which I am responsible need to be moved, I will do it or coordinate it. Although it had been made crystal-clear to him that he was to stay out of those things for which I am responsible, he went to my workstation (out of his way) and removed a brochure which I had developed from my desk without my knowledge or consent. He then built his training around that material (outside his purview) instead of our program manual (within his purview). The brochure had been approved, but had not yet been implemented. I had intended to introduce it at this training, and begin using it October 1.

    I don't know if our supervisor pulled the erroneous section, approved its use as it was, or insisted upon corrections. My suggestion was remove it or make the corrections. I did what I was supposed to do: made him aware of the situation, and proposed a solution. It's his decision from there. If it creates a problem, I won't be the one who has to deal with it. My coworker will, and it serves him right--he's the one who wrote the damned thing.

    I'll be working on another project.

    On my suggestion, we're introducing a new practice and I have received approval to proceed with an analysis of data from two consecutive "years" -- 1 October 12 to 1 April 13 (before we introduced the practice) and 1 Oct 13 to 1 April 14 (after we introduced the practice) -- and to then (hopefully) contrast the two data sets. I'm pretty excited about it; if the results go as I anticipate, policy governing the 1 Oct 14 to 1 April 15 "year" may be changed. If not, there are additional steps we can take so that the data from the period spanning 1 Oct 14 to 1 April 15 will be quite useful for demonstrating the effect of self-selection bias on the program's effectiveness. If it should happen that the data sets are more alike than different, well, then, my idea was wrong.

    MM
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    MM, I repeatedly admire the well-structured way in which you write.

    If your supervisor does not say anything to your colleague, I would act as if the task was still his (even if it may be hard for you), and I would not say anything to my supervisor. It is his job to manage the matters - that is why he gets paid a manager°s salary.

    I am not sure whether I understood that correctly (because I am tired from my lessons, and English is not my mother tongue): there is a document that exists in the officially approved form and there is another version of the document which your colleague somehow modified to suit himself (not minding the official regulations too precisely). Is that so?
    For documents that serve as training documents or for documents where everybody has to know which is the latest and approved version, we have the following approach: We have to print out that official version, and the boss signs the version, and then it is stored as scanned document.

    If this is not applicable to your job, I would let your boss discover by himself if your colleague s***** something up. Write the daily mantra "I am not responsible for all the problems of the world" on your bathroom mirror with red lipstick. (I do that sometimes, too.)
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  12. #27
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
    Write the daily mantra "I am not responsible for all the problems of the world" on your bathroom mirror with red lipstick. (I do that sometimes, too.)
    Yes, ma'am!



    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

  13. #28
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    We delivered our presentations today; I am so happy with how well the training segment I developed and delivered was received, and that my colleagues are excited about the process and support materials I introduced.

    My coworker and I ended up riding together to the off-site training event (which I somewhat dreaded). Before we left the office, he approached me about making sure he didn't duplicate my content. I suggested that he go first; I'm not sure he realized it was so I could adapt my presentation if necessary. Fortunately, I did not have to.

    *sigh of relief*

    The representatives from the company which provides the funding for my position liked my presentation (hallelujah!) and support materials. I wasn't worried, but I had hoped to "knock it out of the park" because I want them to be confident that the position I hold represents a good investment of their corporate resources.

    I also learned that I am not the only person who works there who feels as though my coworker has attempted to "pull the rug out from underneath them."

    MM
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  14. #29
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    We delivered our presentations today; I am so happy with how well the training segment I developed and delivered was received, and that my colleagues are excited about the process and support materials I introduced.

    My coworker and I ended up riding together to the off-site training event (a ride which I somewhat dreaded). Before we left the office, he approached me about making sure he didn't duplicate my content; I'm not sure if our supervisor mentioned something to him, or if he did it of his own volition. I stated that I preferred he not cover Task F, as I am now responsible for that, and requested that he return the brochure so I could use it in the segment I was to deliver. I suggested that he go first, which I think he saw as a conciliatory gesture. I think he did not realize it was so I could adapt my presentation if necessary. Fortunately, I did not have to.

    *sigh of relief*

    The representatives from the company which provides the funding for my position liked my presentation (hallelujah!) and support materials. I wasn't worried, but I had hoped to "knock it out of the park" because I want them to be confident that the position I hold represents a good investment of their corporate resources.

    I also learned that I am not the only person who works there who feels as though my coworker has attempted to "pull the rug out from underneath them."

    MM
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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

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
    MM, I repeatedly admire the well-structured way in which you write.
    Thank you for the compliment. I try to make it easy for you and Mebel to follow, without sounding unnatural as a native English speaker.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
    If your supervisor does not say anything to your colleague, I would act as if the task was still his (even if it may be hard for you), and I would not say anything to my supervisor. It is his job to manage the matters - that is why he gets paid a manager°s salary.
    Good advice. It was so hard this past week to NOT say anything to my colleague. If my coworker brought it up, I wasn't going to turn down the opportunity *but* I also wasn't going to bug our supervisor about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
    I am not sure whether I understood that correctly (because I am tired from my lessons, and English is not my mother tongue): there is a document that exists in the officially approved form and there is another version of the document which your colleague somehow modified to suit himself (not minding the official regulations too precisely). Is that so?
    In essence. We have a program operations manual (the officially approved form); my coworker was asked to prepare a section for a sister-program's training manual, for general use among their staff as a "quick reference" to our program (the version my coworker produced). I was asked to proofread the section before it was used in the training manual...after the material had been duplicated and approximately 30 manuals had been assembled.

    While proofreading, I noted that my coworker omitted key information from the summary he prepared and the process he outlines, based upon that summary. The information he omitted will come back to bite him later. It's obvious to anyone who's performed those tasks that he is not as familiar with them as he believes himself to be.

    In those instances where he paraphrased rather than quoted, the paraphrase was not wholly accurate. It may also be in conflict with our program operations manual. I am concerned if we do things that way, we will receive a "finding" during our next "monitoring" visit. For that reason, I felt the situation warranted our supervisor's attention.

    The manager who coordinated the training conference opted to not make the revisions I suggested prior to the training. However, the material was "glossed over" in training and the "quick reference" will be updated within the next few weeks, as it was disclosed immediately prior to the training that the portion of the summary which is in most need of clarification is now being addressed at a higher level.

    I do not know whether my supervisor will require the other revisions I suggest to be included in the update. It was my job to bring it to his attention and propose a solution. Beyond that, it's his to deal with (or not).

    Our supervisor directed us to cite and reference our program operations manual any time material is prepared for distribution to non-departmental staff. Had my coworker followed that direction, this situation would have been avoided. Had my coworker collaborated on the project instead of going rogue, this would have been avoided. Had my coworker submitted the material to our supervisor for review and approval before turning it over to the other program manager for inclusion in the manual, the situation would have been avoided.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
    For documents that serve as training documents or for documents where everybody has to know which is the latest and approved version, we have the following approach: We have to print out that official version, and the boss signs the version, and then it is stored as scanned document.
    We are *supposed* to prepare the document and submit it for review and approval prior to use. I think it's wrong to hope that someone gets "written up" but were I in my supervisor's place, I would certainly have a talk to my coworker about this process. It would be made clear to him that there will not be a repeat of this occurrence.

    We are in the process of going "paperless" and all common documents are *supposed* to be available on the server or Sharepoint. Some are, some aren't, and no one gets into trouble if it's not done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
    If this is not applicable to your job, I would let your boss discover by himself if your colleague s***** something up.
    I agree. I don't need to call attention to the situation; all that will do is make me look bad. I know that I am not the only person who is aware of the performance issues with my coworker; what is important for me to remember is that the people who are aware of those issues are also observing how I conduct myself while in this situation. I don't want to be perceived as someone who whines, cries and makes excuses, or who is a tattle-tale. The best way I know to not be perceived that way is to not be that way.

    MM
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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

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