I was thinking this morning that this would be a “back to our regular programming” type post, whatever “regular programming” is supposed to mean. Except I had one of those days that illustrate why I hate being a manager and I have to vent about it. M is little help in this matter. He recognizes my frustration, which flares big a couple of times a year, and also recognize that he cannot do much other than make noncommittal noises that sound sympathetic.
I am in a snit this evening for no good reason. My admin, with whom I have marked differences in styles of nearly every stripe, managed to harsh my buzz in the worst ways today. She is the walking, talking, everything adverse about the mommy blogosphere come to life and in my face 4 days out of 7, unless of course it’s spring break or other school event/occasion when she must alter her schedule or her family/children’s universe will implode into some catastrophic black hole.
I am only mildly exaggerating in my description.
Today it was about minor children’s rights to medical privacy. She was adding her daughter to her health account with her medical group and learned that minor children’s medical records could not be accessed electronically by anyone. My admin was absolutely livid about this state of affairs, because she’s responsible for those minor children and should be in complete and total control of their health decision until they reach legal majority. I actually do not completely disagree, but she is so controlling in general I tend to immediately want to disagree just because of her black-and-white, I’m-right-you’re-wrong stance and attitude. She learned this today while trying to add her 10 year old twins to her health account to consult with the doctor via email rather than taking her daughter in for a visit, because their very busy schedules make it difficult to actually take her into the office.
Here it is, 10 hours later and I am still bothered by it. The outburst and her strident attitude. The overwhelming desire to terminate her employment so she can really be the full-time mother she is anyway even though she technically spends 20 hours a week in the office. I guess I am just primed to be annoyed, because I’m restructuring my job and time to effectively narrow her job and responsibilities to no longer impact me other than the phone coverage. She does not like it. She recognizes it for what it is – our firm is shrinking and I will be cutting her hours before the end of this year.
Our workload has been steadily shrinking this past few years, and or personnel will be shrinking by attrition this year as well. I have plenty to do in my job, but the many administrative things she feels are beneath her and will only perform out of absolute necessity (filing current projects, copying reports, scanning/purging closed projects) do not bother me in the slightest when I have time to focus on them. I have finally gotten caught up and resolve my batch of problem clients/projects and now have room in my days to maintain current files and slowly but surely make inroads on the backlog of closed projects.
In addition to the little outburst about her children’s medical privacy rights, she chose today to take issue with compensation, as in she has not received a salary adjustment in more than 15 months. This is probably why I am bothered by our exchanges today; I was not very diplomatic in telling her she was extremely unlikely to get another increase. She is making a better than average wage, and some quiet inquiries on my part says I could outsource her work for less than I am paying her. Do I want to do that? Oh my goodness … YES!!!! Will my boss let me? Unfortunately, no. She has been with the firm for almost 21 years, most of that being a huge PITA to both the owners at various times, but they are forgiving and have me to buffer their irritation, so unless I throw down an ultimatum (not ever likely to happen) I am stuck with her.
I hate when she hits me with this stuff when I am not prepared to deal with it. It does not happen often, but I cringe later that I handled ungraciously. I was far more blunt than I needed to be, and I she left the office upset as well as angry.
I am not going to apologize. I did tell my boss about it, and his feeling is that I responded appropriately. Her attitude has always seemed to be that this firm exists for her benefit and she periodically needs a strong reminder that is an unrealistic view of her job. We are extraordinarily flexible and accommodating with schedules, and compared to other firms of similar size in the same industry, our compensation and benefits is better than average. Still, I hate conflict. Having been down this road with her a few times before, I hate that tomorrow she will be sulking and playing for the sympathy vote with the rest of the staff and time will be wasted while she tries to stir the discontent and insecurity.
It is going to be a long week.