Saturday, August 04, 2007

Uh, like I need this BS right now!

...Be prepared! This is a LOOOOOONG post!

So, I have mentioned a few times now how my work load has been off the charts, and how I can't keep up at work and that it is trickling down into my personal life because I am just exhausted when I get home (which translates into early bedtime for me and minimal communication with the people I care about).

Remember my magic wand???

...Apparently it is malfunctioning - BIG TIME!

Okay, okay... Let me start from the beginning...

I have been having a hard time at work lately (nothing new really since the more work I do here, the more work I get to do, and so on and so on.). It's been visible to a few people. How could it not? But, up until Thursday, no one really asked me to talk about it - which is fine, because I usually don't talk until I am ready. My Director (we'll call him "F" for now since he is references in the e-mails I am about to post) knows that, my Center Administrator knows that.

CrazyS (which is what I will call our new Associate Director - she started on June 1st with a less than stellar response from all of us on our staff here...I'll explain more in a bit) does not know that...and has now blown this current situation - and other things completely unrelated to me (which makes me feel a bit better - at least I know it is NOT me with the issue) - out of proportion and out of proportion via e-mail no less.

Real, real classy!

Let me back-track to the issues that started coming up... In a nut-shell:
  • She wants everything spoon-fed to her instead of being resourceful and attempting to find things on her own. Not really going to work around here since ALL of us are overloaded. We all are able to find most things on our own on other people's machines - that is why Microsoft created FILESHARING!'
  • She keeps asking for things that have been sent to her already - several times. And, then, she tries to make it look like YOU were the one who dropped the ball. It's as if she only reads e-mails that are "important" to her. And, I don't think she pays attention to the fact that I CC myself on EVERYTHING as a back-up! I KNOW when I sent something, damn it!
  • Her e-mails about what she wants are in no way clear, nor are they kind most of the time (probably demanding is a better word). For example, here are some things she has sent me (hopefully you can see what I mean after extracting snippets of various e-mails):
"Here is the Epi Report with F's changes. Some formatting needs to be done again. It's almost done. Please print a copy for me and I will read it one last time for typos and then you can enter it."
**Notice NO reference to exactly WHAT formatting needs to be changed - or even if I am the one who needs to do it? And, the report cannot be entered until F sees it one more time - she can't make that decision to just enter it.

"I will make a directory on my computer called NSF-BioMath as soon as I
get in. We can still use Brenda's former directory system as a
repository, but I would prefer to work in my shared directory."
** Not going to work since my director wants all of the reports in one place - so that it is easier for me to work on them with 3 different associate directors. She agreed already in person with myself and the other 2 associate directors that she would not work from her machine - she would work from the main report repository.

"I'll take that document and discuss it with F briefly and only
then let's make the email lists and send out messages and all that."
** Say what? ONLY THEN?? That's a little rude.
  • She spent more time this week bitching that the hotel vans were late (uh, hello? Did you realize there is RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC) than worrying about our main speaker almost passing out during his talks from low bloodsugar because he chose not to eat breakfast.
  • She opted NOT to work on a report that was due 7/31 until the weekend before - even though I had it ready for her as she ASKED by the end of June. So, it then became an emergency for ME to get in at the last second so the NSF didn't slap us on the wrist for being late.
There is more to the's ever growing.

She spent the bulk of the day Thursday telling me that the program was running "perfectly." It was a "huge success." PUHLEEEEZZE! It has been running just fine - I know that - I've run the freakin program for NINE YEARS now. I don't need her "reassuring" me like I am 2 years old. I know when things are going right or wrong. I just need her out of my office this week so I could somehow catch up on some of the work that has been piling up on my desk. She just wouldn't get the casual hints.

So, she took it upon herself after to talk to my Director Thursday because "I looked upset"...and then came into my office and closed the door so we could "talk." Quite frankly, I have been in such a bad mood for a couple of weeks now - so many deadlines to meet, not enough time to do them, too many stupid questions from people who should be smarter (book-wise anyway) than me - that I have been on the verge of either lashing out at someone (which I didn't want to do - I am better than that) or cry myself into a puddle of blubber. So, I said to her that I needed to talk to our Director, which I would do eventually when there was time, and I would talk to her later - saying in passing that I have a lot of work to do, needed to talk to him about how to prioritize things, and that there were some things at home bothering me, and I just didn't feel up to talking.

i.e. There is some personal things that she is just NOT privy to! I am NOT going to tell her that we are TTC again after three miscarriages. I am not going to tell her we are concerned with Chris' speech and his upcoming evaluation. These are things that are overlapping with the workload that only F and my Center Admin are privy to!

Apparently my hint didn't work... She marched right back into my director's office and met with him again.

So, I get this e-mail early yesterday morning:
"Hi T (me),

Hope you are feeling better after your discussion with F yesterday.

This morning I made the mistake of checking my email before leaving and there were so many emails, some disturbing, I couldn't get out on time. I'm afraid I won't get there in time to open the conference. I'll do my best, but most likely you'll have to do the honors. I hope you don't mind. I have an extremely tight schedule and I really try to avoid getting distracted, but sometimes it just happens.

So, I responded to her saying it was no big deal if she was late - I could handle it, which I did. No problems.

But, I did not respond to the "Hope you are feeling better after your discussion with F yesterday" comment. That is NOT professional to say in an e-mail unless you were out sick the day before.

Then, I received THIS second e-mail yesterday morning from her, around 11:30 am (and, no, she was not here yet):

I'm sending you the message F sent me. I'm deeply dissapointed that you didn't share this with me before complaining to F. I've done everything possible to make things easier for you. I'm working hard just like you. Whenever you cannot or will not do something I simply say "okay." We've never exchanged one cross word. When you are upset I try to reassure you that everything is going well.

I'm sending you brief emails with itemized lists because you asked me to do that. You didn't want me coming to your office and trying to discuss things with you. There's only so much you can communicate over emails.

You never said a word to me and then to turn around and complain about me to the boss, just isn't right. I never would have complained about you to anyone without letting you know first and giving you a chance to fix things.

You and F are having a problem with your workload - you said this to me many times. It's not right to involve me in your conflict like this.

If F misunderstood then it is up to you to explain that to him. If I don't hear from F that he misunderstood the email I sent you, then I'll assume you complained about me behind my back.


**Thanks for sending me a copy of the email you sent T. I think that part of the problem is the tone of the email. Of course, you sent it before you and I talked this afternoon. We have an atmosphere at DIMACS in which we treat all of the staff as professionals and as equals. Somehow, the wording in your email seemed like it was simply telling T what to do rather than discussing it with her. It would have been better to have your ideas come as suggestions as to how you might prefer to have things work or how T or anyone else might make changes in procedures. Also, since we all share jobs and exchange pieces of jobs, it is sometimes necessary to do things in a way that is better for others, even if it is more work. That may be the case with the report system. I do think that this will eventually iterate to a good solution that everyone is happy with. It just means we all have to work on it."
WTF?? How old are we? And, how exactly DID you get a PhD with this kind of "etiquette"?? This was rather immature and shitty of her to send. I chose not to respond - I gave it to my director to handle.

First off, there has never been a time I "did not want to do something." Asking for food to show up magically at 11:45 when IT IS 11:45 is just freaking IMPOSSIBLE!!! Unless, of course, my magic wand is working...or the food comes out of my ass.

I wanted e-mails of what she wants for MY protection - so, sending me e-mails instead of face-to-face conversations is true on her end. BUT, her e-mails are unclear or twisted, and I can't figure out what the hell she wants most of the time - or, they are just completely wrong. If I try to clarify, the answers are just as twisted. It's a no-win situation there. But, my plan of e-mails is working for MY protection now, thank goodness!

Yes, I did go to my boss about my issues first - mainly because the last time I tried to handle an office conflict on my own, it blew up in my face because the person did not like hearing what was REALLY going on...and I suspect the same would have happened here. As much as I am frustrated with F right now, he is a great, great person and has been there for me more times than I can count. We are very similar in work ethics - to a fault really since we both cannot say no to things and we want to make sure things go right on something we have done - and sometimes that will cause minor friction between us. In times like this current situation, I wanted to sound off what I was feeling about S before I spoke to her (I didn't want things misconstrued, which they are anyway and probably would have been had I tried to talk to her on her own) - and he thinks that was the appropriate channel to go through. I was planning on talking to her about everything yesterday - until that second e-mail came in. It is apparent she would not be reasonable about anything.

Oh, F and I HAVE no conflict! No deep-seeded issues! We get along very, very well - and we are in no way putting her in the middle. He and I get into not-so-eye-to-eye talks sometimes, but they always work out. F and my Center Admin get into the same situations at times too. It is the nature of the amount of work we are expected to get done. She can't figure that out because she just hasn't been here long enough to see how we all work together. But, she is insisting this is the heart of the issue - that F and I are just not getting along. That is not the case AT ALL.

And, what the HELL is she sending me a personal e-mail like that from F at the end?!?! F trusted her to use it wisely, she did not. She twisted it yet again...

...Although, I must say that my Director is a CLASS ACT! He was very diplomatic in that section of e-mail...which she could not see.

I come to find out after this second e-mail that she sent some VERY disturbing e-mails to F and our Center Administrator around the same time this e-mail came in to me. Things in no way related to me - but related to others in the office, like "someone wouldn't give her a copy code" (she never asked) and "someone didn't want to give her a parking permit (because it is her responsibility to GO GET A STAFF PERMIT FROM PARKING instead of doing an end-run to not have to shell out the cash for the staff permit!!). It was so bad, F called my Center Admin in to the office on her day off to call University Relations about what to do. I am not sure what was in those e-mails - and I don't care to know. All I know is the issue is WELL beyond just me.

F talked to her again yesterday for almost an hour - she stormed out of his office (which is across from mine) afterwards. He confronted her with a lot of the crap she had been slinging - and also suggested that she talk to me to straighten things out. She does not want to talk to me - she is too "upset" about it.

Pish-pash. She got caught in her own crap.

So, she sent this at 3:59 pm yesterday:
"It would be very difficult for me to handle tomorrow's events. Is it possible to get someone else to do it? I feel quite bad about not being there to see people off after getting to know them over the week, but I have my limits. I've worked every weekend for some time now and put in such long hours this week, I'm exhausted. So I would greatly appreciate if you found a replacement."
Uh, and what am I in the working the weekends department?? Chopped liver??? So glad she acts responsibly for the position of Associate Director.

When F saw that, he told me we would use the speaker to moderate today - and that he would give her the chance to change her mind and have her show up. BUT, when I checked my e-mail last night, I saw this response instead:
"I am sorry that this week has been so exhausting for you. These one-week programs are intensive and everyone works hard at them.

I have to say that telling me at 3:59 PM on a Friday afternoon that you felt you couldn't come in for the planned Saturday morning session of the Reconnect program was not acceptable. However, luckily, I have arranged for coverage so there is no need for you to come in tomorrow."
For F, them's fightin' words! F is the calmest person I know - I have only heard him yell at one person in the 9+ years I have worked here. It looks like she will be #2 soon enough.

I am not sure what is going to happen at this point - all I know is F and my Center Admin trust me and my work and my judgment. They feel I took the right steps to rectify this (especially NOT having talked to her on my own because it would have gotten twisted anyway), and she twisted and turned it to attempt to work in her favor - which it has not. My Center Admin thinks she just an outright cookoo clock and wants to see her go. F is a little more cautious because we DO work for a University and it is hard to fire someone without justification (although she is still in the 90 day trial period of employment - he can terminate without cause right now).

I think the heart of the matter here is she likes to do research, not administrative stuff. Writing reports and moderating programs is probably NOT what she expected out of this job - and she's not happy. She wants to write her papers...but that is not what the job is!

Which is not OUR problem, now is it?

She is still commuting from New York to get here - and she has less than 3 weeks to find a new place around here before she looses her lease on the current house. I think she has been stalling finding a new place (which would require finding a good school district for her 3 children) because she doesn't like her duties here - and was trying to find a way out.

She may have found that out - but not on her terms.

Well, at least the programs are over as of today...I am slowly beginning to dig out of my piles and come back to civilization and learning the Bass Guitar.

I am not sure what is going to happen with her... If she ends up staying, I hope we can come to some sort of workable truce... If she goes, then my workload will get heavier again until a replacement can be found.

I'll keep you posted...


Adrienne said...

Sounds like someone is bringing their mental problems into the workplace! What a PITA! Here's hoping that she's finally burned her bridges and she'll be out of there soon.

Amy said...

Yikes! What a moron!! She obviously has issues and is very unprofessional. You absolutely did the right thing by going above her. If that is the way she is going to behave then hopefully they will see that they don't need a person like that working for the University. I hope things calm down for you soon regarding the work load. Urgh work!!

Alexis said...

Stick that "magic wand" up her ass. I could do wonders AND actually give her something real to bitch about, lol!

Sounds like a "Loser" to me!

Jessica said...

I think I'll 2nd what Lex said, the magic wand finally has a real purpose!!! LOL.
I dunno sounds to me like she might not be around for long- would be a good thing!
In the meantime, I'm sorry work has been so rough for you *sigh* if we only could just NOT work!

Val said...

wow - talk about unprofessional. Sounds like you handled it with the utmost class and decorum. Way to go!

Rachel said...

I hope work has gotten better in the last day or two. I've been thinking about you.