Getting nowhere...

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Getting nowhere...

Postby RagDoll » Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:29 pm

Hi all,

I'm having some issues at work and just would be grateful for some advice on the matter (I apologise in advance for what will be a long post!)...

I've worked in my current company for a couple of years now, but I moved to a new role in an entirely different department in September (because I was unhappy in my other job). I have very limited knowledge in the field of work I am in now and my employers were aware of this before they gave me the job. Due to this I obviously need guidance and support from my manager/colleagues when doing my work as I don't always know how to approach it/have the relevant knowledge/need to ask questions.

Unfortunately I feel I've learnt virtually nothing in the last five months as my manager is quite frankly bone idol and won't take the time to discuss things with me. For example, I received an email from our Head of Service (a very important and high ranking manager) asking me to do a number of things on 16th December. I don't know how to do the tasks he's asked of me without my manager giving me a steer (he was CC'd into the email as my Head of Service will be aware that I cannot simply get on with the tasks myself). My manager said to leave it with him and he'll have a think about how to go about it. I left it over Christmas, but when I came back to work (5th Jan) I asked if we could go through it.... I've since mentioned this several times, but he keeps brushing it under the carpet. I'm getting really anxious about it as I'm worried my Head of Service is going to come back to me asking why he hasn't heared from me, thus giving him a bad impression of me.

I have tried to find out the relevant information by myself by bugging other colleagues in order to get on with the tasks myself, but I have hit brick walls with that and simply don't know what to do anymore.

My manager is happy for me to do mundane tasks I can get on with without any guidance e.g. taking minutes at meetings, but I'm not learning anything doing that and at the risk of sounding big headed/snobby, I feel I should be doing something a bit more challenging considering I have a degree, I'm not admin staff and I used to manage my own projects. I wouldn't mind taking minutes if it was just on the odd occassion, but that's all I seem to be doing at the moment - taking minutes and sending emails on behalf of my manager. I'm not his PA!!!

Furthermore, all of this isn't due to my managers' workload, it's not as if he's over-whelmed with work, he's always casually chatting to people in the office (about none work related matters) and I often see him on the BBC News website!

Another frustrating thing has just happened to me today (which prompted me to post on here) - I won't go into detail, but basically someone external to my company has been good enough to give me some information which has ultimately saved us some money. In his email (with the info) he's asked me a few questions which I don't understand. As such I asked my manager what he means and how I should respond. He said he "doesn't know what he's on about" and "not to bother replying". I just don't understand this attitude, firstly, it's just plain rude not to respond, especially since he was essentially doing us a favour and secondly, I'm still not learning anything by just ignoring his request. I don't know what to do again!

I imagine some of you may think I should speak to someone else about his attitude but it's not as simple as that - even my managers' manager is completely useless so I doubt it will get me anywhere. Plus, I don't want to create a bad atmosphere in the office by being a tell-tale as on a personal level I get on with my manager.

Sorry again for the epic post - please can anyone help?!
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Re: Getting nowhere...

Postby dipsydoodlenoodle » Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:38 pm

Can't you email your Head of Service back and explain why you haven't completed the work?

There is no other option unless you keep asking your manager OR going to tell someone else about the situation.
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Re: Getting nowhere...

Postby RagDoll » Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:48 pm

Yeh, I totally understand why you suggested going to the Head of Service, but that would be complaining to someone pretty high up, hence it could potentially have serious consequences for my line manager and a negative knock-on effect on me. The people in my new office can be quite bitchy and I know I'd get bad-mouthed for it :S I'm conscientious though and want to progress in my career.

To be honest I'm thinking of looking for another job, but I don't have enough experience in this field, don't really know what I want to do and it's not the best of times to look for something else with the credit crunch. Ahh!
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Re: Getting nowhere...

Postby Bel Bel » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:22 pm

If your not prepared to effectively grass then you have no choice but to accept the situation until you can get another job.
You could have a chat with your boss and explain these things are a problem to you but I am not sure that would achieve anything if he is so laid back about stuff
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Re: Getting nowhere...

Postby m_m » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:28 pm

My suggestion would be to give your manager a time frame to work towards e.g. say to him that you would really like to get back to the Head of Service by the end of the day it has been a while since his email. If he tries to fob you off (as he has done before!) or leaves it until the end of the day without saying a word I would mention it to him again, and here is the tricky bit, give him a bit of a sutble warning (but oviously be careful how you word it) for example "I thought I would email the Head of Service to give him an update on the situation, just let him know that I have spoken to you about it and you've said you'll get back to me". That way you're covering your back but not necessarily complaining and hopefully it will spur him into action if he knows the Head of Service knows it is him he is waiting for, not you!

I know sometimes when you have a problem the solution can seem very simple to people on the "outside" but very complicated to you as they often don't know about a lot of the other factors which influence your actions (especially when it comes to difficult matters such as work!) so I hope this is helpful :) x x
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Re: Getting nowhere...

Postby dipsydoodlenoodle » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:35 am

manufacture_me wrote:If he tries to fob you off (as he has done before!) or leaves it until the end of the day without saying a word I would mention it to him again, and here is the tricky bit, give him a bit of a sutble warning (but oviously be careful how you word it) for example "I thought I would email the Head of Service to give him an update on the situation, just let him know that I have spoken to you about it and you've said you'll get back to me". That way you're covering your back but not necessarily complaining and hopefully it will spur him into action if he knows the Head of Service knows it is him he is waiting for, not you!


I've done this a few times and its amazing how effective it is. I work primarily with people in Aberdeen, Aberdeen were asking for their work, I copied them on an e-mail to Norway (the hold up) and let them know I was still working on it; however the delay was not on my part or for lack of effort (as they could have seen from the numerous e-mails I'd sent with no reply). Unfortunately it is the ONLY way to get things done.
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Re: Getting nowhere...

Postby RagDoll » Thu Jan 15, 2009 12:01 pm

Thanks for the advice everyone. I think my plan of action is to send him a meeting invitation to discuss the emails and see how he responds to that. Making it official should mean it's harder to ignore/brush under the carpet. It's not the 'usual' way of going about things in our office (hence why I haven't tried this yet), but if it means I get on in someway then so be it. If that doesn't work I'll try Manufacture Me's suggestion. Thanks again :)
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Re: Getting nowhere...

Postby dipsydoodlenoodle » Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:31 am

If he doesn't attend your meeting invitation; I'd send another one out and CC the head of section on it so at least he can see; if you do this make sure you include any of the other correspondence you'd had (even if he's said we'll talk about it later) because it proves you have been doing something.
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Re: Getting nowhere...

Postby RagDoll » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:51 pm

Just to update you all and get a bit more advice if there's any to be had (pleaseeee) ...

I've had the meeting with my manager now. Prior to the meeting I attended another meeting with the Head of Service and my manager. During the meeting our Head of Service requested that the tasks he'd emailed me back in December are completed within the next week or so.

Anyway, surprisingly enough my line manager didn't re-arrange our meeting so we sat down and chatted about the report that needs doing. However, he basically said he'll do it all because I'm busy compiling people's comments (which I was, but again it was a very menial, admin type of task, where I wasn't learning anything). I appreciate that he'd get it done more quickly than me since we're backed into a corner now, but if he'd just taken an hour or so to give me some guidance in December I could have at least done a first draft of the report by now and learnt something! Even if it had been rubbish, any criticism would have helped me in the future. As it stands I'm still no further forward, I'm just getting increasingly frustrated and hate coming into work everyday to sit at my desk with nothing to do. It's depressing.

Does anyone have any suggestions?!
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Re: Getting nowhere...

Postby dogtan » Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:02 am

Join a union fast, they can give you advise and mediate if need be.
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Re: Getting nowhere...

Postby dipsydoodlenoodle » Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:06 am

RagDoll wrote: I'm just getting increasingly frustrated and hate coming into work everyday to sit at my desk with nothing to do. It's depressing.


Ditto with my job; hence I:m on here a LOT. I even told my manager I had nothing to do and he said "we'll sort it later" hmm...
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Re: Getting nowhere...

Postby RagDoll » Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:14 am

Oh, I feel your pain Dipsy - that's why I'm on here a lot too, clicking refresh hoping for a new post!! The lack of work is why I moved from my old team to my new one, hoping it'd be better, turns out it isn't! :(
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Re: Getting nowhere...

Postby rufio89 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:23 am

clicking refresh hoping for a new post!!
]

Thats what I do all day lol
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