Work Nightmare

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Work Nightmare

Postby RagDoll » Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:23 pm

Hi all,

This is probably just me venting my spleen more than anything, but if anyone has any advice, then please feel free to input!!

Work is really, really getting me down at the moment. I can’t succinctly explain it all, but I will try and highlight the main issues without waffling too much. The main issue I have at the moment is with my line manager. He has always been pleasant enough in general, however, he is an utterly useless manager – he doesn’t have the knowledge/experience/guts to give you any real guidance or support. The manager above him has the knowledge and experience, but he has no social skills and has recently found out he’s likely to be made redundant, so no longer cares about work. The lack of good management is an ongoing issue for all of the team. There have been times that I have been left with no work to do (even when I have pointed this out to both managers – there’s never any forward planning – they don’t consider what your next project should be before one project comes to an end) and in this current climate of continuous restructures and redundancies, everyone is desperate to make themselves as indispensable as possible.

Anyway, our head of service (above both the managers I mentioned above) called me into her office one day and basically said that I am to lead on what will be a big, complex and interesting physical regeneration project. She told me to report directly to her about it. On the one hand I was a bit daunted, but also delighted to have been asked and given the opportunity to develop my skills etc.

Since then, however, my line manager has done all he can to make sure that I can’t lead on the project. For example, I had half a days leave in my diary, and he scheduled a meeting about the legal issues for when I was off. When I said you’ve invited me to a meeting when I am on leave, and asked if he could reschedule for the subsequent morning, he basically just shrugged it off. The head of service sent me an email asking for my comments on some of the drawings, and copied in my line manager. He immediately trotted off to her office, came back and vocally declared I had to send my comments to him first, for him to pass them onto the head of service. He then followed this up via email, copying in the head of service, leaving me with no choice but to do as I was told. These are just a couple of things that have happened – there’s been a whole host of game playing leading up to an event that happened a couple of weeks ago.

Basically, another head of service (sorry it’s complicated when you can’t go into names/work hierarchies etc!) invited me to a meeting about the project. Before the meeting was due to take place, I casually asked my line manager if he’d heard anymore about the project as it had gone quiet for a couple of weeks. I was fully expecting him to say no, but he sheepishly slid some new architect drawings across the desk to me and said he’d been to a meeting about it. I was fuming!!! Not only did he not bother to invite me to the meeting (about a project I am meant to be leading on!) he didn’t even bother to tell me there was one. Anyway, there was no time to discuss it all, so I went to the meeting with the head of service, who started by saying she’s been told that I am leading on the project, so expected me to be up to speed with the main issues and asked me to fill her in. Obviously I was pretty embarrassed and had to explain that a meeting had gone ahead without me, so I was a bit behind. I spoke to my line manager the next day and explained that it was a really awkward meeting because I was on the back foot about a project I’m meant to be leading on, and asked if he would at least keep me in the loop.

In the end, I liaised with some people (most of whom had gone to the meeting I wasn’t invited to), and sent the head of service the list of planning issues/considerations that she asked for. Since then work has gone from bad to worse. I am trying my hardest on a number of projects, but the complete lack of support is driving me mad. I have worked here for 5 years now, but it’s the kind of job where every project is entirely different, so new issues/situations emerge that you haven’t dealt with before. In short, I am still learning.

At a meeting with our director, the subject was changed to this particular project and I was criticised for sending comments to the head of service which concentrated on planning issues alone. Whilst I don’t mind constructive criticism, it was infuriating as that was all she had asked for. I tried to explain that but I was talked over the top of.

Following that meeting, I was ready to burst into tears. Our overall manager (the one with the lack of social skills!) asked if I wanted a chat about the project. Up until now, he has not been aware of what’s been happening. Well, when I started talking about it, I was already feeling pretty emotional, frustrated and fed up, so I told him what had been happening with my line manager attending meetings without me/without telling me etc. I explained that I just need to know where I stand and really want to be involved in the project so I can learn something from it. I also told him that it’s been frustrating whilst my line manager has been on leave (for over a fortnight) because people are coming to me with queries about another project, however, I am unable to answer them because he basically doesn’t tell me anything/keep me in the loop. It’s ridiculous that people are expecting me to know stuff (people who are important) and I have to sit there looking stupid because I’ve had no prior knowledge. The overall manager has since set up a meeting for when my line manager is back from leave to discuss who is doing what etc., which frankly, I am dreading.

I assumed the conversation I described above was in confidence. I have not once in the time I have worked here ever raised such issues before – most of the time I keep my head down and just try and muddle through by myself, but this time it got too much. Everyone has a limit. Anyway, on my way out of the office that day, a colleague told me (in a light hearted way) that our manager told her I “had been ranting in his office” and said he “wasn’t going to blame it all on x” (line manager). I was totally outraged that he didn’t have the decency to not repeat what I’d said. It’s all so unprofessional!!

Anyway, I am now totally sick. I was literally dreading coming back to work today. I just feel like it’s me against everyone else. There doesn’t seem to be anyone to turn to. I know it’s silly to get so worked up but it’s hard not to. I am conscientious and want to do a good job but need some help/support sometimes.

Sorry for the long post. It could be longer if I explained everything!! I hope it makes sense, and if anyone does have any wise words, then I’d much appreciate it.
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Re: Work Nightmare

Postby snail » Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:55 am

It's difficult to know what to say :( It sounds as though you are handling it quite well, and being open about things. You could make a point of asking your line manager say, every two days, if anything has happened which you need to know about - essentially making it your task to keep on top of things rather than relying on his spontaneously telling you. Also, seeing as it seems he feels threatened and wants to be involved, perhaps consult with him about things even if you don't feel the need to, to make it feel as though you are 'in it together'.
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Re: Work Nightmare

Postby Bel Bel » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:09 pm

i KNOW IT'S NOT NICE BUT i THINK HAVING THIS MEETING IS THE BEST WAY TO RESOLVE THINGS
OOPS on caps :oops:
Anyway I think you should suggest a weekly update from everyone involved
E mail all parties so they all see each other on the e amil and say you have had issues with information not being relayed to you and will be asking for weekly email updates (so you have black and white proof) to ensure you are receiving all information as the lead.

I know this might sound harsh but you need to stop caring if you upset anyone who isn't doing their job properly, by not exposing their weakness's (sorry sure that's spelt wrong) you are actually protecting them and causing this problem to stay there

Hope things get sorted
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