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Job woes

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 2:11 pm
by tigerbrite
Hi everyone,

I started a new job about 3 months ago after a disastrous experience on a graduate scheme. I was really excited about this one at first, it seemed to represent a great new start and new challenge for me. It is supposed to be a project which I am managing, but there are several conflicting organisations and people involved. This isn't the problem so much as the supervisor at the company makes me feel like something she trod in. She is expecting a lot more out of me than what lies in the parameters of the project, and has just spent this morning slagging me off to my face about all my supposed faults, sapping me of all my motivation. And this is despite a really positive report from other supervisors.
I am starting to think I am just no good at anything. I graduated 2 years ago with a first class degree so I know I am capable, but I just can't seem to get a job to 'work'. This is the 3rd job I've had since leaving uni and I still feel as naive as ever about what I should be doing with myself. I'm thinking I just can't work with people and would rather work alone or for myself but I just don't know what to do. I'm 26 and feel like I need to go back to school and find a careers advisor :cry: I can't just give up and train to do something cos I have a mortgage to pay, but I want to be ready at the end of this project to move on properly into something I will actually enjoy.

Any advice would be so much appreciated. x

Re: Job woes

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 3:00 pm
by brendo
Hi Tigerbite,

I don't know what happened in yor previous jobs but why is it you think you just can't work with people? Apart from this one supervisor, it sounds like you are doing well in your new position. Nearly all jobs require interaction with other people and retraining won't address this situation.

I would suggest maybe going to your boss and requesting a new supervisior? At least make a complaint about how she is treating you - even if you were bad at your job which you're not, she still has no right to speak to you in such a manner. If you don't have the confidence to do this, maybe confide in someone who will send the message upstairs or else write a letter to the boss/manager. This might get the supervisors back up for a bit, but if no one complains then nothing will be doen about her. How about rallying for some support within the office - perhaps others are struggling with her bullying behaviour too? You could form a small group and present your issues with her to the head ofice?

If you don't want to pursue that route, then depending on the size of the company you're in, perhaps there is an opportunity to request be reloacted to a different department or under a different set of supervisors once your current project is completed?

It is a difficult situation you're in and I do sympathise. But you never mention not liking your career or the nature of your work. It is only your supervisor that is making you think like this as far as I can see. I know its tough and you don't want to rock the boat, but something has to be done to address her behaviour towards you. You're feeling a little unsure iof yourself right now but remember that you are not the problem here, it's your supervisor. Hope that is of some help :)

Re: Job woes

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 3:02 pm
by ILoveChristmas
Conflicting organisations, conflicting people, beauracracy, red's par for the course.

The reality of working in an organisation is that everyone wants a finger in the pie and the lines of responsibility and authority become blurred. It would be great to work in cocoon whereby you knew presicely what you were responsible for, what was expected of you and who was in charge, but that's not how it works.

It looks like there are two issues going on here. In the first instance neither you nor your supervisor have a clear vision of what your deliverables are for this project, and that's a big problem.

The second issue is the way your supervisor treats you. I know you find this the greater issue but in reality it's not. You can learn to handle her, you can learn to ignore the aspects of her personality that you don't like and you can keep your head down and do what is asked of you.

The real issue is the lack of guidance you have on expected outcomes. For one thing, you can't possibly succeed if you don't know what you're aiming for. You need clarity over what you're expected to achieve.

In the first instance you need to arrange a meeting with her to ask for guidance and clarity over what is expected of you. Your attitude needs to be one whereby shifting objectives are fine and par for the course but they have to come at the expense of the project schedule.

If she agrees to a meeting with you then set out the agenda, your concerns and any other points in an email to her.

After your meeting set out the outcomes of the meeting in another email. Documentation is key. You cannot be accused of failing to meet your objectives if your objectives are written in black and white.

When it comes to her attitude towards you personally then your first course of action should be to ask her is what areas she feels you fall short and how she suggests you improve. Document what she says and when she said it, then do your utmost to achieve it.

If she's being absolutely unreasonable or still insults you then you can look at taking things further, but that ought to be a last resort.

We're grown ups now, these things can and should be dealt with professionally and between the two of you. She sounds like she's not cut out for the job to me but never the less that shouldn't stop you from being as professional as possible.

Keep your chin up and carry on. I'm quite certain you're doing the job just fine. I deal with people every day who are exactly the same. You can, with time, beat them with professionalism.

Re: Job woes

PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 10:37 am
by tigerbrite
Hi there, and thank you so much to you both for taking the time to reply, I really do appreciate it.

The problem is that the boss/manager and my supervisor are the same person! As such it makes it pretty difficult as she is not very approachable and clearly just wants me to roll over and fall into line with her unstructured and demotivating management style. The whole point of the project is to bring a cultural change to the organisation, which she knew she was signing on for. I feel now that she perhaps just saw it as a chance to get a free member of staff for a while ( it is not them that pay me) and I am caught in a place where I can't win either way.

I know I need to get this sorted ASAP and the answer is really to try to rise above it and act professionally. But I am just no good at confrontation and don't feel confident that I can stand my ground with her.

Perhaps I'm just being cynical but the reason I said I don't seem to be able to work with people is because in all the jobs I've had I've found it difficult to deal with certain people. I find it hard not to occupy my own head space and I feel I'm easily walked all over. I'm an intelligent person but I just don't seem to be able to apply that in a 'conventional' workplace... :-( thanks again for caring folks x

Re: Job woes

PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 7:37 pm
by Ticktock
You don't mention if there is a union presence in your workplace, my experience of graduate entrants is that they avoid asking the union for anything as they think they are too intelligent to need help... If there is, ask for help, if you are member. I deal with issues like this every month in my workplace, terrible what a little power can do to a person!

You may have to accept this person will never like you, you are smarter and have been brought in to do something they can't, as far as they are concerned they are keeping you in your place. Many is the manager who has welcomed a graduate employee and found them doing their job shortly afterward.

You say you don't do confrontation, you don't need to, after all your boss is better at this and has been doing it far longer. It won't take much to wrong foot you when they have got everything they need and you are out the door with no reference.

Passive resistance is the answer, channel Ghandi! Find out if there is a workplace policy on bullying and harassment, calmly ask your boss for it. Start keeping a record of incidents in an easily accessible book on your desk. If they start on a rant take out your book and ask her to slow down as you take notes. None of this is illegal in any workplace and but point out to your boss that firstly they aren't getting to you and secondly that you are happily giving them as much rope as they need. Be friendly and polite at all times, and honest about why you are doing this.

Knowing how to do a job is only half the equation, and unfortunately uni doesn't train you in the other half which is dealing with rude, illogical, pain in the bum humanity. It comes with experience and no-one fits in right away, after this project you may end up with a person you really like, or another idiot, as you recognise you are in the end working for the money.

Contact your uni and see if they have an alumni society, this will often give you access to professional graduate careers advice which can help you refocus your skills on an area which you may find more rewarding, and build a life outside work, it can boost your self esteem even when work is rubbish.

Re: Job woes

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 1:23 pm
by Bel Bel
I haven't had tome to read all the replies so hope I am not repeating any advice already given

Can you approach one of the other supervisors about advice on the situation. You say you have had good ffedback from them so hopefully they will wnat you to stay and as tey know the organisation and the problem supervisor better than you they may be able to tackle things in a way we can't even think of