Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sugar Ray Leonard

Although I’m sure that you all have experienced workplace idiocy, sometimes I feel like I’m the only one that sees it. Probably has something to do with this whole one-way media thing. I talk, you (ostensibly) listen. In order to disprove this notion of mine I give you a snippet of an email The Boyfriend sent me. I’m glad to report that he is fine- it does kind of seem like he is on the verge of a rage stroke in the email…

I just listened to the following conversation.  It took all of my energy not to correct all the mistakes. 

"Hey, so that boxer on dancing with the stars is really good, what’s his name again.  I don't know, but he used to sing like a butterfly, or was light on his feet or something.  Who, Mohammed Ali.  Yes, that's the one, fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee.  Yes, he's a good dancer, good for him for doing that.” 

HOLY SH*T!  First, it's Sugar Ray Leonard who's dancing, ALI has Parkinson’s and although he could probably do a mean shake across the dance floor, is not on DWTS.  Second, it's float like a butterfly, FLOAT! 

It made me laugh. I thought it might make you laugh too. You maybe see a little bit of why we get along so well?

Speaking of things that were overhead, when I went for lunch today I think I overheard (fine was eavesdropping on) a managerial type woman getting some kind of peer-review and witnessed her taking offense to it. I mention it because it brought me back to the days of Amy/Veronica. This would be their exact reaction (actually Veronica would probably have taken it a step further and somehow managed to turn it around so that it was someone else’s fault). The girl who was administering the ‘review’ (I say girl because she was closer to my own age AND she was quite a bit younger than the woman she was reviewing) started it out by going over the positives: how this woman contributes effectively and efficiently to the bottom line, has made considerable strides in meeting team goals yadda yadda yadda. Good job Amy…I mean lady.

Do you think that she actually thought she was doing a perfect job? We all realize that there are things that we could change about the way that we do our jobs that could make us better right?

Not this woman. When the girl then mentioned that some people had brought up that she could maybe offer some more positive feedback more often (instead of only negative, a conversation I had with Amy AND Veronica several times) and that people felt like she wasn’t always available to answer questions and that maybe she could be more clear with her instructions…well you could have heard crickets. The woman was stunned.

And I promise you that Amy and/or Veronica would have had the same reaction. Then the backpedaling began. I could tell that the woman was trying really hard to figure out who exactly in the department had made these ‘allegations’ (so that she could make their life more miserable no doubt) but the girl wasn’t helping her out on that front. Apparently these comments were meant to be anonymous (effective in a large company/department- in a small one like where these women worked, less effective). Then the woman started saying that she has never told anyone that she doesn’t have time for them, that she is always explicit in her instructions, that she hasnever heard that people maybe have an issue with the way that she handles situations.

Sure lady, whatever.

That in a nutshell is the problem with managers though, isn’t it? They think that because no one has ever mentioned anything (directly to their faces), that there isn’t any problem. When in fact, it’s much more likely that the manager isn’t approachable and therefore employees don’t feel comfortable addressing these issues. Sometimes these things aren’t addressed because folks live in fear of the repercussions that they might face should they bring their ‘superiors’ to task for not handling things the right way.

Honestly, we’ve all tried to address these issues have we not? I can’t count the number of times I asked to sit down with John or Amy or Veronica and tried to talk about the problems that were coming up in a completely constructive, non-confrontational manner. And do you know what happened? Nothing. Either an ineffective blanket email was sent out, or the issue was misunderstood or absolutely nothing was done. At all. Not even an effort made to make it look like they were taking things seriously.

And so managers continue to suck at managing, blaming the little people (you) for all the things that go wrong. Not listening, not caring, continuing to make the workplace unbearable for you until the day that you have just had enough and walk away into another situation that, more than likely sooner or later, will turn out exactly the same way.

(Bad) Managers suck don’t they?

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