Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Send in the Clowns

If you’re tired of reading my rants about work, then skip this one, because it is the same old thing. I just have to include the latest episode because it makes the EXIT sign flash in red neon for me.

Last night I found the following e-mail message from one of the b___s to my boss and a few others, including me:

"After reviewing the list that DK sent out and looking over my notes from our meeting last week, I have a proposal for your consideration. I am concerned that we are not clearly identifying the key things that need to be demonstrated. I also do not think that we have the best background to decide what level of testing is truly needed to make the decision that we are ready for production. BP has done this several times already for other clients - he is in a much better position to advise us on the amount of testing and the specific things that MUST be done. I think we need to give strong consideration to his opinions.

I also think that it would be very useful to get an independent eye to advise on the design, prioritization, and implementation of these tests. To that end, I suggest DD. He is an acknowledged expert on systems design, development, and testing. He also knows the {survey name}. He works well with {our division name} staff and {b____ #1 division name} staff. I propose that we ask him to serve in a leadership role to define the key measures and to work with us to be sure that we are doing this correctly. We could ask him to chair a series of meetings to help us get through this critical stage.

Your thoughts?"

Basically she is saying that I no longer know how to do my job. And she is proposing that a family of semi-related individuals take over my responsibility.

The proper response from my boss would have been, "Thanks for your concern and your suggestion. However, I am confident that my staff have the expertise and experience necessary to make this judgment." Instead, she said, "This makes a lot of sense to me if DD is available and willing. What do the rest of you think?"

I didn’t even dignify this with a reply to the group, but instead I sent my reply just to her:

"I see this as one more slap at my attempt to do my job. No one has ever before questioned my ability to decide when something was ready for production. But I am happy to defer to BP or DD on this if others want to trust their judgment. I would ask if things go wrong, are they going to be around to fix them? We are ready on our end whenever someone says GO. I'm very tired of disagreeing with all these people, although I was not aware of a current disagreement with BP or { production division } on this."

Send in the clowns...

11 Comments:

Blogger Kristin said...

So, have you started working on that exit plan yet?

1:23 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

This all seems so hurtful, mean and most of all UNNECESSARY.......that I can barely see straight thinking about it. I feel such empathy for you at a time when you should be thinking about a happy and healthy transition to the next stage in your life.

I JUST WANT TO THROTTLE THEM ALL!

K

1:31 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

It's in the "planning" stages. Next week's meeting with the big boss will either stall or accelerate my plans. I promise to come up with something else to write about.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kate -- "Throttle" is a nicer word than I would use. But then I seem to be stuck in a tarpit of self-pity these days and it's not really helping me focus on the future.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

I really feel for you because I know what it is like to work in an unsupportive and poisoned environment. Eventually I left, with 2 weeks notice. I had no job lined up and simply went on holiday. It was great, I hadn’t realized how high my stress levels were, I hadn’t realized what a negative impact it had made on my life.

At this point, I think it might be pointless to try your own political game, however, you might still be able to come out ahead by trying to focus on communication problems / misunderstandings rather than attacking the core problem directly; since I am sure your opponents have carefully laid their framework around that. However, they may be unprepared to address the issue of weaknesses in communication.

If you can retire without penalty, or much penalty, then why not go for it?

4:11 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Richard -- For 3 years I have been eligible to retire with no penalty. I am not working for the money because my retirement will pay me a large percentage of what I get coming to work. I have simply stayed on because I believed with such passion in what I am doing. I wanted to see it through to a stability that will come with a couple more years. Meanwhile I wanted to continue to pass off more and more responsibility to my excellent staff. It may just not happen that way.

I just learned I have an hour-long meeting with the big boss on March 12.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Well then, see how things are going and if they continue badly, then leave while you still have good memories.

I am told people experience a big shock when they no longer need to go to work. Personally, I can’t imagine why.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Well, I'm seeing the Exit sign for you. You don't need to see everything you've done come to fruition...just know that you had major input towards its success.
I'm so not confrontational that I'd probably retire just to avoid the nit-picky, back-stabbing scraps.

Meanwhile, you can gather defenses for the meeting with your boss. Outline exactly all the points you want to discuss and tactfully make clear what you thought of how everything's been handled.

I wish you the best and maybe a suit of armour too!

9:45 PM  
Anonymous David said...

"Send in the Clowns" - sounds vaguely familiar. WTA anyone?

This email from one of the b___s is f__ing unbelievable. Does she have a clue as to how any normal person would react to receiving it?

See what the big boss says. You can go into the meeting knowing you have nothing to lose.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Rant away. Sometimes putting your thoughts down on paper helps to clarify them. Can't wait to see how this all plays out. You make me deeply appreciative for the job I have...

(Interesting that the first three letters of the word verification I had to type are w m d!)

6:25 AM  
Blogger d. chedwick bryant said...

rant as you like. pretty clown picture.

4:57 PM  

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