Work and once again, why I dislike being a manager (even though I am actually good at it)

I had training tonight with J and will have a recap tomorrow. Training recap posts are weirdly emotional investments of my blogging time and require more than the hour or so I have available to write this evening. So I am tabling it for tomorrow’s post.

The phone call with my client was difficult, but it always is when someone recognizes that “hope for the best, plan for the worst” is not negative or pessimistic way to look at conducting business. Unfortunately he is in a bind that will have lasting consequences on his business and there is nothing I can do for him at this point. He understands now that I was trying to guide and offer direct advice as to running his business, and I take no joy in being correct in my predictions of what would eventually happen if he did not take his finances more seriously.

At the office it feels like I was gone far longer than 3 days. With the one-two punch of my son’s wedding the prior week and then my own vacation, I packed a lot of stuff into 5 total days away from the office. My box is overflowing with work – manageable – and the office drama has ratcheted up into some new, previously unimagined level. Not unmanageable so much as I do not want to be part of the management process right now. I really just wanted to come in, prepare payroll to process overnight, and then hit the ground running in the morning. Instead I was there for most of the afternoon doing payroll and then meeting after meeting on various issues.

We’re moving in 3 months and decisions we made 6 weeks ago are suddenly back on the table for discussion. Ummm … NO! Not unless we want to pay shitloads of money to have walls already constructed dismantled and moved.

Office politics, how I hate them.

The partners have the final word on this, but the rumblings of discontent are at the associate level and regarding how much real estate, window, office furnishings – you know, all that crap that tends to imply status and standing within a law firm. I am a pretty practical person and believe that unless you are an owner of the firm and you have your own skin in the game your desires matter about as much as catcalls from the peanut gallery. Unfortunately my bosses – the partners – tend to be pretty approachable people who actually listen to their employees. Except in this case, it is becoming a battle of wills between me (keeper of the budget and knower of how much everything costs) versus them (attorneys billing big bucks and making money). And I am not so draconian that I’m giving off the “my way or the highway” type vibes, either. However, there was agreement on color, style, and budget each office received for furnishings; I am completely against allowing upgrades. You want something cooler in your office? Bring a plant.

My absence has emboldened the entitled millennial section of the office who believe the firm is a democracy and they are true believers in their standing within the firm. That they feel it is appropriate they should be able to lobby hard enough to get a vote on their desires … my goodness, can I just fire their asses now and save us all the hair-tearing, time-wasting explanations?

While I am actually very fair and reasonable at work, I am not amused when people go over my head or try to bully or abuse me in absentia. The partners were suitable admonished when I told them how upsetting it is for them to undermine my authority by allowing hope for changes to agreements that took weeks of negotiation amongst themselves. They actually apologized, for some reason not realizing how it appeared from my side of the desk. I am their financial gatekeeper, and the several item list of “small changes” a small slice of the staff requested would run into thousands of unnecessary dollars.

And I now get to don my dragon lady hat tomorrow and explain to this small sect of the firm why they are not only not getting what they want they are going to feel the wrath of going behind my back and bumping up their desires when I had already explained why their requests were not happening.

It sucks. It makes me look like the bad guy and the partners look poor in the eyes of the staff as well. The partners want to be approachable, have a good vibe and relationship with all levels of the firm, but they have me in place for this kind of crap for good reason.

Also unfortunately this sect of associates is led by a recent hire who is, in my opinion, a poor fit for the firm. This is most definitely my personal opinion and not necessarily shared by others on the professional side of the office. However, if our goal is to maintain a team-oriented firm where everyone pitches in and does their jobs to the best of their ability, he is a rabble-rouser of the highest order. Of course, it does not help that he lied to my face and then turned around and lied to another staffer about lying to me, effectively putting me into a he said/she said dynamic. At my core I am a capitalist and want very much for the firm to clear aircraft carrier size boatloads of profit every year, and even I cannot deny this asshole jerk associate’s contributions. However, I cannot stand him, now do not trust him, and really find him offensive to work with. Even I understand how weak my case is for separating him from the firm.

Damn lawyers.

Anyway, tomorrow I need to do a mass excavation on the work in my inbox as well as have another regular meeting with the partners as well as with the staff.

My receptionist has also just given notice via email of all things, which is unfortunate. I guess earning a better than average wage with full benefits at a professional services firm is too much for her. Because she was earning a decent wage, her other benefits were being cut, including the amount of support she received from her child’s father. I really wish she had just lied by omission and told me she wanted to go to school full-time; I would still respect her and welcome her back if she changed her mind.

I do not understand the welfare mindset or how I could possibly be so wrong. This girl seems bright, driven, and ambitious. Yet she’s quitting a job because her support and subsidy benefits are being cut?

I guess in her case receiving less money for staying home while her child is in school during the day is the better deal. She lives with her parents and they help her with childcare, but as she told me this afternoon, she will not get these years back. Having been a single parent of 3 myself I know it’s tough, but so is hiding my dismay and disgust when I opened that note. Part of me is really, Really, REALLY glad she took this cowardly way out; even with a perfect-world poker face, I am quite sure she already knows what I think and how I feel about this short-sighted decision.

On my to-do list: work on my poker face. Fortunately I do not think she will be returning to the office.

While my compensation for the work I do is generous, sometimes it feels like no amount of money is ever enough. I hate days like this, when it feels like I am underpaid to put up with this level of drama with staff. But if everything on the job was rainbows and unicorns I seriously doubt we would call it work.

Onward. Things are not that bad – good conversation with my bosses today and clearing the air about my distress with the handling of personnel-related matters in my absence. The process of righting the ship begins tomorrow, and it may not be pleasant, but in the end it is for the best. I am really happy to be home, sleeping in my own bed, showering in my own shower, using our Vitamix for protein shakes, and Lists and practice in my own gym. It will feel so good to be back to my normal routine tomorrow morning.

Silver linings found, positivity and glitter-bombing will likely be back on normal program schedule as well.

 

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