b Self-Helpless: True Tales of a Working Girl: What do YOU want to do? I don't know, what do YOU want to do?

12/18/2005

 

What do YOU want to do? I don't know, what do YOU want to do?

I recently perused through Monster.com’s message boards and read a few that were related to Workplace Bullying. Let me tell you, there’s all kinds of people unleashed on this world… it’s a little scary.

There were posts by individuals telling their tales of being bullied, and in the process, they sounded as though they themselves could be accused of bullying. People are wacky sons-of-guns.

One person posted a message on the topic of missing deadlines. They said that it’s unfair to say that a boss is bullying you if they are expecting work to be done on-time. “Don’t miss deadlines because you can’t get everything done… work with your boss to prioritize not only your tasks but your time.”

They go on to say that leaving work before your work is done because you’ve been there all day is probably not viewed favorably. Keep your boss in the loop on the status of your work and it will go a long way in showing how hard you work and what exactly you’re accomplishing. Don’t assume they know – as they’ve got their own jobs to worry about.

Well I have a few things to say about this. First of all, they don’t know how bat-$@#%-crazy my manager is. I cannot make a move (even to the restroom) without my Idiot Boss knowing about it. Every day she receives updates on the projects that are on my desk. In between all the expected work, she drops new projects and ad hoc requests on my lap. She does this and expects the other work to be done at the same time – and according to the original deadlines.

It still eludes me as to how I can get it all done within the same timeframe. I mean, if there’s a new project that arises, I should be allowed to have the time to work on it.

On countless occasions, I’ve asked “Miss Manager” which project is priority. And then I get her answer: “It’s all priority. It all needs to be done.”

Really? I was actually thinking I could throw something out or sweep it under the carpet.

But she says it as though it’s the dumbest question she’s ever heard. As if I should know which is most important. Um, no… if there’s unexpected projects that crop up, I can’t know which is more important than the other if you don’t say so! Especially since my luck is usually that if I hand one project in, she'll have wanted the other... and so forth.

Then I get the “You need to learn how to prioritize your responsibilities.” Like I’m an idiot.

When I press for an answer on what is MOST important she continues to respond with, “It’s all important and it all needs to be done.”

“Ok, but which do you want first?” I ask.

“I want it all done… it all needs to be done.” As if that answers everything.

“I understand that, but which do you need on your desk completed first?” At which she shakes her head and gets annoyed. So I continue, “I can only work on one thing at a time… which would you like me to work on first?”

There, I said the wrong thing.

“If you can only work on one thing at a time then you need to learn how to multi-task.”

Um, no… this isn’t like preparing Thanksgiving dinner when you calculate how long to cook the turkey and then to cook the potatoes, steam the string beans, etc so that it’s all on the table at the same time. THIS IS BUSINESS – it works differently.

Bottom-line, I get no direction from her, and regardless of what my game plan is, it’s not good enough for her. None of it pleases her.

It’s usually at this point that I realize (yet again) there’s no winning and the only other thing she’s going to tell me is to 1: Work through lunch, 2: Work late, 3: Bring work home and 4: Work on the weekends – in order to get it all done.

So in theory, yes – it makes all the sense in the world to work on a schedule with your manager and keep them in the loop. It’s a good idea. It’s just yet another thing that does not work for me. I’ll continue to take that advice, but I will also continue to get beat-up for it.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

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