I am 16 months into a new position. Not only am I new to the position but the position is also very new. My predecessor was the first one in the position and left after just a year to relocate with their spouse. My boss is the head of a department in a large organization, has been here for decades, and is quite successful. She is eligible to retire and it is thought she will soonish. But I hear that conversation has been ongoing for years. While she and I did well during the time we were in the office together, which was about 10 months before remote work started, I am struggling reporting to her remotely. I willingly took on new duties related to the pandemic when we went to remote work. I have felt very productive and successful, although isolated. My boss is crazy busy, so our interactions have been limited to phone calls on the fly. I have had two one on one meetings, both at my request, since mid March. I keep her up to date of what I’m doing via email, but it’s clear that she doesn’t read them. Two or three times per week she will ask for follow up information which I have already provided to her via email. These requests are typically days later, indicating she did have time to read them. Phone calls I make usually become a to do list of things for me to add to my plate. When I try to receive clarity or follow up on my list, which is made up of items that she previously handed to me, she will cut me off and get back to her list, even if I initiate the discussion for a specific reason. She is also sarcastic and a yeller. Many of my new duties require me to be the liaison with other departments, often who get to decide what’s what on specific parts of projects. If they push back on her, which happens a lot, she yells. Usually it’s just a venting yell, but other times it is shoot the messenger yell. I have realized that this is triggering something in me, making me passive (which I have NEVER been known for) or avoidant (another new trait for me).
Fast forward to now. I am working on a project that was handed off to me on the fly when someone quit. It has a short turn around, involves several other key departments, and is very high profile. As I work more and more with other departments, I am learning that she is not well liked. She is respected for her expertise, but she is known for badgering people until they wear down and just do what she wants to shut her up. It’s becoming more and more difficult for me to communicate with her because I am losing the will to put up with her yelling, her sarcasm, and constantly pushing back, putting me in the middle of departments that have the final say on something, and her displeasure. In the last few weeks we have communicated primarily through her deputy, my peer. The best way to describe him is her whisperer. He has mastered communication with her where I am at a loss. Friday was the first time she and I were in the office together since March. When I was trying to explain to her something she wanted do to was not appropriate due to copyright laws, and provided several alternatives, she cut me off, and told me and several others to find a way to do what she wanted. I passed on this effort, went on with what I was in the office for, which was essential to the project and time sensitive, while one of the assistants did her bidding. Of course the same conclusion was reached, but only after hours of work. A few minutes after the copyright issue was handed off, she told me that she was going to supervise the part of the project I was working on and sarcastically added “I know you won’t like it.” I blew up, expressing my frustration with her constant sarcasm and yelling. She was clearly surprised, but obviously interpreted my frustration as being related to wanting credit for the project. I don’t care about credit (and the way everyone is getting ticked off I don’t want it). What I care about is being able to have a normal conversation with my boss and not feeling like every interaction is going to end with more work for me, being shot as the messenger, or emotionally triggered. I did not communicate this well and spent the rest of the day interacting with her only when necessary and things went ok.
The project has a drop dead date this week, so this will all be wrapped up soon. After having taken just 1.5 PTO days and one holiday since March 17, I am taking the week of Labor Day off because I have a block of time I will lose if it don’t take it by then.
I am trying to determine if this is all just stress or if this is really what I have to look forward to in my job moving forward. I have pondered asking to switch to whom I report, which has been done for others in the past, because this is not unique to me. I am not concerned about that request impacting my career path. I’m in my 50s and took this position knowing that it is so unique that there would be no path up. I like the tasks of my job and the impact it is having on our mission. I have had a lot of jobs in my career, frequent changes are normal in my field, but I don’t want to change jobs again. I do think that the week I am off needs to be one of reflection. What advice do you have for this seasoned professional who feels she has met her match?
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I'm going to go a little differently on this.
While I appreciate the employee's personal challenges, you both have roles that need to be performed for the company. I actually am sensing some manipulation by the employee and you stepped straight into it. If she is messaging you on Facebook, that means that you probably added her as a personal friend. It sounds like potential manipulation lured you into blurring boundaries that could set you up for a challenging situation down the road particularly if her performance is not up to par. It is possible to be an empathetic leader while also maintaining appropriate workplace boundaries. Many people today are going through different types of struggles. The balance is in finding humanity while also having realistic expectations of them to perform their role and being clear on the boundaries. It's fantastic the employee is in therapy but therapy is not something to be weaponized for poor performance. Incredibly, there's nothing in this long post about how this employee is actually performing their job. I think more of your time should be spent on helping her achieve career goals versus getting into her personal situation about which you only hear one side. I found that it's best to maintain professional boundaries especially with someone who reports to you. If you decide to be friends after one of you leaves the job, that's completely fine. But while you're on the job, situations like this are fraught with landmines.
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When implementing a rewards and recognition program is it better to implement rewards and recognition based on individual or team performance or a combination of the two?
What types of rewards and recognition have you found to be most effective for increasing employee engagement and commitment to the organisation?
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What is going on with this forum?!
Some of the posters are so nice and supportive…and others just want to tear women down! It’s so incredibly sad. I keep reading things and wonder if the person would respond the same way if they were speaking in-person. Maybe keep scrolling if you can’t be civil and constructive?
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Seeking opinions about group interviews...
I had a virtual group interview this week. It was one interviewer and about 10 candidates. The job seekers were asked one question and each was asked to answer it one after another with no discourse in between.
I didn't feel that any candidates really stood out or made a significantly better impression than any others. (Except possibly me. I went last and was from a vastly different background than the other candidates-- and not in a great way.)
As a person who was been responsible for the hiring process at organizations in the past, I don't see how this was a valuable step for any of the parties. It seemed that the company just wanted to see everyone and appeared that it could be used in a discriminatory way.
I would be interested to hearing other's experiences with and opinions about group interviews.
At this point, I'm not sure I will accept any future interviews in this format.
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No signed Purchase Order for 2024 from a client for which I do subcontracting work yet – 1099 here
I posted before on this Forum " No ticky – no shirty" –I had an issue where the Purchase Order for a large client in 2023 for the firm for which I provide consulting services was delayed - which meant the firm could not submit an invoice to the client for me to get paid (Purchase Order # has to be included on the invoice) . 4 month delay in getting paid for consulting performed for which we did not have the PO.The PO is for the entire year and we chip away at it as we do consulting work.
To cover myself for 2024, I prepared a letter stating that I will provide consulting services to xxx for which a purchase order is required for xxx when a signed Purchase Order is received. The owner of the firm signed the letter (I think to placate me ). And in recent conversations I have stated, I cannot provide free work. I also suggested if she doesn’t get a signed PO, that her company pays me for the work performed.Here is where we are at: One hand doesn’t know what the other is doing at this large client. Owner asked them about the signed PO is…. as of 12/9/2023, she does not have a signed PO.. the PO is in “the works”
Here’s the question: We are down to the wire here. I know we will get the signed PO.., the client knows our value. but when, who knows? .with the Holidays upon us. . If she doesn’t get a signed PO by Jan 1 2024, do you think I should state AGAIN, I cannot provide consulting work without a signed PO and suggest that her company pay me UNTIL she gets the signed PO. I do not want to be in the same financial situation as last year.
PS. One thing I didn’t mention to this group is 5 years ago… she transitioned me from W2 to 1099 (benefit for her company). She knows how valuable I am.. Funny thing is the universe was supporting me last week when I presented a report to this client and they responded “ Thank you, you are awesome”. Timing is everything, right?
Thank you as always for your input.
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What does RTO or Hybrid look like at your company?
I was recently talking to an old peer and she mentioned that someone that we used to work with has to go back into the office 3 days a week, but a badge swipe is all she needs. So she can go to a meeting in the building for an hour and then leave. So that has me thinking what does it look like at other companies. I'll go first, GM Financial 3 days in office for officers and 2 days in office for non officers. Some folks don't come in at all. Some will do a half day for their in office days and weirdos like me work a full 8 hours but come in late.