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to think we should not have to tone down our frendship to suit these colleagues

(114 Posts)
whysogrumpy Fri 24-May-13 05:47:15

Where I work 7 of us spend part of the day in a small office all together. One of these people is our head of department, another her second and I have a less senior management role.

Our HoD has always had poor management skills and tends to undermine people and put them down. she has a poof effect on staff morale as she does not show good leadership and micromanages people (or tries to) and stifles creativity - a big part of the job. She is also poor at the other aspects of her role and this has been picked up on by her bosses. Despite this we have, in the past, got on well, as I really don't think she does what she does out of malice. She just struggles with her job.

Sorry to be blunt, but her second is a lazy, arrogant twat and most things he should do, I do, despite the fact that he is on a lot more money than me. This is another example of her poor leadership.

We generally all get on (notwithstanding the issues above!) and I get on particularly well with one of the other women and, this year, a new member of staff has joined and the three of us have a lot in common and get on well. I suppose this has changed the dynamics of the group a little and the second, who has always been fairly loud and thinks he's funny, has been a lot quieter this year. I should add that ours has always been a fairly sweary office - our job is a stressful one and we go in the office to let off steam. Everyone has joined in with this.

Another relevant point is that the Hod's undermining behaviour has got so bad thos year that the three of us have made a complaint about her to her bosses. This was done confidentially and he has spoken to her in a a fairly low-key and supportive way about this and has not told that we, or anyone, has complained.

Last night, the hod got me alone and told me that toaday she intends to send an email to me and the other two women mentioned above about our swearing in the office. she says she has had several complaints about it, which is untrue as there are not several people there and those that are would not complain and all join in with swearing at one time or another. She also said she felt the department had become divided by age! Never have we done anything to exclude others and, when she is in a good mood she joins in with us and all is fine. Seond has, imo, had his ego dented because he is no longer centre of the room.

AIBU to think we are being penalised for being young and friends. I'm not sure what to do but feel a huge row is brewing.

whysogrumpy Fri 24-May-13 15:33:29

Right, so if someone is your superior you have to put up how they are, regardless of how incompetent they are. The atmosphere in the office, in terms of how sweary and loud it is, is exactly the same now as it ever has been. This is why it is so annoying - we are being told off due to jealousy, basically.

Why are people making assumptions about my age? I am younger than the 2 seniors and older than my two friends.

I'm a knob. Ok. The head of the organisation clearly doesn't think so, does he? But let's all overlook the fact I was given a pay rise not to leave. That counts for nothing does it?

curryeater Fri 24-May-13 15:42:52

whysogrumpy, just let go of all this resentment for a second, about how great you are, and how dare they tell you what to do, etc etc. I am sure you are wonderful at your job, dear, but here is two tips:

- being broadly speaking good at your job (or even excellent) does not mean you are perfect and never annoy anyone. In some organisations, the friction caused by annoyance can completely outweigh the excellence of your work and you will cease to get credit for it.

- this is the one that people like you find really hard. Please try to read this aloud in your head slowly and think about it: if someone tells you there is a problem, there is a problem. It will be something to do with you, even if your instincts about it not being to do with you in exactly the way they say are correct. It is still to do with you, and there is still a problem, and it is something you have to pay attention to, and there is no point - no point - in sticking your fingers in your ears saying "la la la la I am happy with this situation so there can't be a problem and they are just JEALOUS or something". If someone tells you there is a problem, there is a problem.

TiggerWearsATriteSmile Fri 24-May-13 15:43:39

Not teachers at all.

Lap dancers I'd say!!

JeanPaget Fri 24-May-13 15:52:06

I think you sound unprofessional. No matter how wonderful you think your performance is (hmm) you are subordinate to this woman and being bitter about it isn't going to change anything. You were given a pay rise not a promotion, she is your superior.

You need to take a telling.

SueDnym Fri 24-May-13 15:55:43

Right, so if someone is your superior you have to put up how they are, regardless of how incompetent they are.

Finally, she gets it! Welcome to the wonderful world of work, my dear.

StuntGirl Fri 24-May-13 16:07:09

Right, so if someone is your superior you have to put up how they are, regardless of how incompetent they are.

Quite simply, yes. You can raise the issue with your superiors and see if they resolve it, put up with it, or leave. What you don't get to do is act like a spoilt child because you don't like someone's management style.

EldritchCleavage Fri 24-May-13 16:08:40

Yup, that's why incompetent bosses are such a nightmare-you do have to put up with them.

If you even appear to be disregarding your boss(es) or putting yourself above them, it will do you no end of harm. No matter how much the senior boss likes and rates you now, if you appear to be disregarding the heirarchy and doing what you want regardless of polite ad ostensibly reasonable requests your stock will do downhill fast. That's why I suggested you should be canny in my first post.

Pancakeflipper Fri 24-May-13 16:13:16

Yes an incompetent boss can tell you to stop swearing.

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 24-May-13 16:25:22

iWhysogrumpy, I have sympathy, I used to think like you. But, I promise you this, it will get you nowhere except for more frustrated.

I had an incompetentboss. He used to make any number of reasonable requests - that I be more patient with a particularly dimwitted colleague, that I provide him with briefings on stuff he could have found in the two minutes he took to ask me, etc. I used to fight against them. But it didn't make melook any better or make him any less inincompetent. And actually pushing against things which are reasonable but mildly annoying is more energy sappingand frustrating than just doing them.

Also, remember that while your boss may appear incompetent to you they are there for a reason. They may bring skills to the smt which you don't see, they may even be decent leaders in that their incompetence forces others such as you to do their best. Or they may be there because either people more senior haven't noticed their incompetence or can't get rid of them. In none of those scenarios is resentment and aggravation going to make the blindest bit of difference. By all means address specific concerns which can be dealt with with their superiors. But if you can't handle it you either have to work so hard and so well, including things like not swearing, to get promoted over them or you have to find another job elsewhere.

BridgetBidet Fri 24-May-13 16:25:49

Right. So you are complaining that your boss undermines you. Yet you are loudly complaining that she is completely incompetent at her job, you would be much better at it and you and your little mates are ganging up together to make complaints about her.

It's not for you to decide whether she's doing her job properly or not, it's for her seniors to decide. Quite frankly you sound like you are disgruntled because despite being there '8 years' (as you keep telling us) you have not been promoted to a position of seniority and you don't get paid as much as you like. Judging from your attitude on here it's quite clear why this is, you're not cut out for being a senior member of staff, you like mucking about and bitching with your mates and wouldn't be competent in the job and would probably show favouritism and create a cliquey office with a bad atmosphere because of your immaturity should you be promoted. Which is why you haven't been. Rather than blaming and undermining your boss because of that why don't you look at your own behaviour?

It sounds like you're trying to get your boss sacked. To be honest from your nasty comments and your cliquey excluding behaviour even if you succeed in that you haven't a hope of getting promoted.

If you're that bitter because you haven't been promoted I would suggest looking for a job elsewhere, because your behaviour will have been noted and you won't have a chance in hell of getting it where you are now.

QuintessentialOldDear Fri 24-May-13 16:46:43

Right, so if someone is your superior you have to put up how they are, regardless of how incompetent they are.

You can turn this around and say:
"If someone is your junior you have to put up with how they are, regardless of how annoying they are (unless outright offensive), ^as long as they are doing a good job^". Seems like you are in this category op. Your superior is asking you to reel in the offensive swearing.

Because if you were annoying and incompetent you would also be out of a job.

To be honest, many years ago (actually a decade and a half and some), I could not stand my then director, I found her incompetent and annoying, because she did not know all aspects of my role. I thought, how can she be my superior when she has so little understanding of my job or our department. She delegated a lot of her work to me, and sometimes it felt like I was "picking up her slack" - as if it was me doing her role.

It was only later that I realized that she was not there to know my job, or even all aspects of my role, but to have an overall picture, deal with budgeting, reports and finance and a heck of a lot of other things that I did not know about, liaising with senior management in relation to matters above and beyond me. I did not have years of managerial experience, like she did, I did not have a business degree, like she did. I looked at her through the spectacles of my own role, and did not grasp hers at all.

Reading your posts, I see a lot of my young self in you.

Floggingmolly Fri 24-May-13 17:12:14

What exactly do you imagine your superiors are jealous of?

LineRunner Fri 24-May-13 17:12:28

OP Do you work college in a sixth-form college?

nkf Fri 24-May-13 17:31:55

I'm not going to speculate on how old you are or what the job is. But one thing struck me. The way you worded your post sounds as if you prioritise friendship over work relationships. And of course many people do, but maybe not in the office.

Your OP is also confusing. You say you all get on well, but you don't do you? There are all sorts of tensions there. As to, "I'm not sure what to do," couldn't you just concentrate on your work? Just get stuck in and get on with the tasks?

Jinsei Fri 24-May-13 18:38:23

People are assuming that you're young, OP, because you sound quite naive and inexperienced. Your boss has made a reasonable management request and you need to comply with it. End of.

As for whether your boss is incompetent, I very much doubt that you're in a position to judge. There is probably a reason why she is senior to you, whether you recognise it or not.

I manage a large team, and I know that the staff in one of my sub-teams think their immediate line manager is pretty incompetent. That's because she doesn't do things in the way that they want her to do them, and she doesn't spend her time on the things that they consider to be the priorities. As her manager's manager, I know exactly what they think and I completely disagree with them. She is doing the job that I brought her in to do, and she is doing it brilliantly. Her team might not understand this, as they don't have the same overview as she and I have, and we can't even share all that we know with them. They are all very competent at what they do, but none of them could do their manager's role and they simply aren't in a position to judge her performance.

I think you need to focus on your own conduct and performance tbh. And grow up.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Fri 24-May-13 21:29:32

I'm guessing this is your first job - if you've been in it 8 years and you're still quite young, so that makes sense.

On all honesty, unhappy as you seem to be with the office politics (you'll get this wherever you go), then you need to look for another job and leave.

8 years is a good innings in any job. You don't have to be persuaded to stay by a pay rise. There is more to life than this.

Actively look for another job and move on. More experience out in e workplace might help you put all this in perspective.

ShadowStorm Fri 24-May-13 21:45:20

Right, so if someone is your superior you have to put up how they are, regardless of how incompetent they are.

Yes, that's right. You do have to put up with them. Or get a new job elsewhere.

Whining because she wants you to swear less won't help you at work. It's a perfectly reasonable request.

I'm also wondering just how incompetent she really is, if she's managed to stay employed in this role, rather than being sacked or shuffled sideways into a different role. Is it possible that there's a lot more to her job than you think there is?

McBalls Fri 24-May-13 21:46:59

Oh god...I doubt there is an office or dept anywhere that doesn't have junior, know-everything members of staff.
Always convinced they do more than their superiors, always adamant that they hold the place together.
Know-everything yet still manage to miss the glaring discrepancies in their beliefs.

You're being pulled up on your behaviour op, concentrate on that. Believe me, if you were the prized employee you believe yourself to be then how are you in a lower position than two people you regard as being useless?

Morloth Fri 24-May-13 22:15:00

People who get raises can still get fired.

'Big' bosses change.

Stop burning bridges with people and be more professional.

You sound like really hard work.

ChocolateCakePlease Fri 24-May-13 22:32:57

Oh god I remember having the mindset that I hold the place together! You do learn though.

AngryGnome Sat 25-May-13 07:16:28

As a lot of other posters have said, I suspect the main problem is that you don't fully understand your bosses role. It is likely that she is doing a lot more behind the scenes than you know about, and it a sign of your professional iimmaturity (which is not related to age) that you fail to recognise this.

I know that there was a group of 3 staff that I manage were convinced I was incompetent, lazy etc. I wasn't - I just had a larger perspective and their priorities were therefore very different to mine.

A lot of people would be a lot happier and more successful at work if they stopped focussing on the perceived shortcomings of others and just got on with their own jobs.

nkf Sat 25-May-13 09:25:32

This has been one of my favourite threads. There is a sort of clear eyed business like aspect to it that makes me appreciate how hard many women are working and how well integrated we are into professional and managerial fields.

OP, you have been given feedack and advice that you could really use.

topsyandturvy Sat 25-May-13 09:36:30

stop swearing

reply to her email and copy in her manager and second in command saying swearing has been part of the office culture, participated in by all levels (name them) since before you started. If it is no longer acceptable you are completely happy to stop.

request that if there is to be a non swearing policy an email is issued to all staff

AlanMoore Sat 25-May-13 09:47:28

And buy a fucking swear box! You catch more flies with honey, etc.

Moaning is really bad for you as well. The odd bout of group venting can be constructive but what you're doing really won't be. There's someone at my work who is a prick, does no work etc. and I got sick of everybody whinging so decided to kill him with kindness. I am so nice to him he can't be an arse back and I just don't do any of his work. I'm much less stressed!

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Sat 25-May-13 10:26:33

curryeater and everyone else, what magnificent advice you've been giving, I wish I'd heard this advice when I was in my twenties. I was very similar to the OP and must have been frustrating to work with. I'm now in my <ahem> 40s and it took me so long to figure these things out for myself. Can I come and work with you lot?

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