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Manager telling me to pay attention to detail

(22 Posts)
Deedee3311 Thu 30-Mar-17 19:49:47

If there is anyone who works in HR on here who can give some advice, that would be an added bonus! Ok i work part time so I can care for my son, I've done this for over a year now. The arrangement has never really worked out, I.e. I still do a full time role in my part time hours. I'm too afraid to tell my boss this as it was on a trial basis for 6 months initially and I wanted her to think we could all cope with me doing part time hours. it's been signed off permanently now but I just never mention how tricky it can be at times. I never have a lunch break, i work at lightening speed nearly all of the time, I never finish work on time, I am constantly signing onto my emails on my days off to see if I've done everything and double check my work etc. I don't seem to have any work life balance as I can't leave work at work, hence this thread right now.

In the past 6 weeks I've made 2 biggish errors. One was a case of me not pressing send on an email, a part of our Company didn't get notified about something important and nobody was any the wiser so it went unnoticed for 8 months in total. It had quite a big impact on our department, I can't go into the details. There have been problems like this before with other staff members making errors on the exact same thing, but it genuinely seemed like this error was the biggest in history. I owned up to my error straight away, I also tried to make suggestions to the process which seemed flawed and others I work with totally agree with me, and the response from my manager was 'rather than focus on how the system failed, you need to focus on my error and take responsibility for it'. It pissed me off as that's exactly what I did, i did hold my hands up, I did take responsibility, I was just trying to make sure it didn't happen again, to any of us.

Yesterday I came back to work to a right cock up. I sent an email to the wrong John Smith. I sent an email to 2 people and wanted to copy in John Smith. Our company is divided into 3 parts, each pat has a different name. Before I sent the email to these 3 people, I checked the company intranet for their email addresses, all of these people work together on the same project day to day, same office in fact, so naturally I believed they also worked for the same section of the company. My manager initially asked me to send the email and she never mentioned anything about John Smith working for a different part of the company to the others. I found the first two email addresses under the correct part of the company and did a search for John Smith and without a thought got the address of the John Smith who works for the same part that the other two do. Absolutely typical that this John Smith was not the right person and he received some quite confidential information, figures relating to someone etc. He called and complained to my manager about it as he thought it was a terrible thing to do, I obviously didn't do it on purpose, I was none the wiser that the person I needed worked in a totally different part to the others, yet on the same project!!!

Manager had me in a meeting about it, sat there with her eyebrows on top of her head whilst I explained why the error occurred and then said, 'it's called attention to detail, so what are you going to do to put it right?' I said what can I do now? We chatted, I explained again how the error happened. She said I should have read through the email trail, and looked at the people's signature strips to see which part of the group they work for. I read through every email in any chain I am copied into, but I never go through checking people's signature strips for their name, job title and work location, there's no need for me to do that! Why would you? I will going forward to avoid this, but normally why would you?

Now she's onto the fact I am struggling with the part time hours she said she's noticed I rush a lot and try and pass things to other people, which is really unfair as I don't do that, she said she will monitor it etc. she told me to pay attention to detail as my latest mistakes are catastrophic, which made me feel even worse. To make matters more intense, I have just announced I am 19 weeks pregnant. I feel the stress of everything is getting too much. Can I get sacked for this? I've been there 7 years.

Allthebestnamesareused Thu 30-Mar-17 19:58:00

Not HR but you need to say that you are being expected to do a full time role in part time hours and ask what they intend to do about it.

Deedee3311 Thu 30-Mar-17 20:00:51

But can they make me change my hours though? I would call our HR but I'm worried it'll get back.

peri89 Thu 30-Mar-17 20:02:20

They can't help if they don't know that you're unable to cope with the workload. I would hope they'd put you on some sort of performance review programme before outright sacking you, and it doesn't appear as though they're treating the recent problems to that magnitude, but if it continues to happen then they will follow whatever disciplinary procedure they have. It will only work in your favour to be clear about what you can and can't manage.

minionsrule Thu 30-Mar-17 20:02:42

Hi OP, did you do a thread about the earlier mistake quite recently? Someone still getting paid after they left?
Sorry I am not in HR and whilst I don't think you should get sacked for this as it was not malicious at all, I do think you need to sit down with your line manager and discuss this properly and how you are doing too much work in your reduced hours. This is not your fault in the first place as your company should not expect you to do the same work in less hours (but I know many that do).
That said, I do think you have not done yourself any favours by getting through the trial without raising it - I can totally understand why you did but this may go against you now (I don't mean getting sacked but it may not look good if you didn't raise this during the trial).
On a side note, if you are PT due to caring for for your DS but working yourself to a frazzle and logging in on days off you are really not doing anyone any favours, especially not yourself.
I doubt anyone can say what your companys view on this will be but I hope it works out ok, but you need to do some straight talking now

minionsrule Thu 30-Mar-17 20:04:46

And as someone else said, if you don't tell them the pressure this is putting you under they won't know and it will look like you are just screwing up.
You can't really blame your LM for thinking this if she doesn't know the scale of the problem. If she does but is ignoring it then thats a different issue

QuiteLikely5 Thu 30-Mar-17 20:08:43

Did they find someone else to fill your other hours now you work part time?

Deedee3311 Thu 30-Mar-17 20:09:21

I didn't put anything on here previously, that must be someone else. I've just been so afraid of saying something in case they take my hours away, which I really need . I'm worrying a lot about this I know.

happypoobum Thu 30-Mar-17 20:09:35

It is very unlikely they will risk sacking you now you have announced you are pregnant.

I can't see how this is sustainable long term. Do you have a union rep? If so get them to help you, but you need to explain that you cannot do a FT job in PT hours and ask them what they intend to do to reduce your workload.

Deedee3311 Thu 30-Mar-17 20:10:13

No one has been brought in to replace my other hours.

bakingaddict Thu 30-Mar-17 20:12:13

I think you need to discuss with your line manager what tasks you can reasonably complete in your part-time hours. Working at lightning speed is never ideal as you'll always miss or over-look things. Use your pregnancy to your advantage as a way to get some of your tasks re-distributed. Surely they must have to do some sort of risk assessment of your role now your pregnant

Brunilde Thu 30-Mar-17 20:21:32


You deceived your manager by keeping quiet when you knew you couldn't cope as you were afraid she might not make your hours permanent. You've been making mistakes because of that.

The whole point of a trial is to asses how well it works. You've agreed you could do the work in those hours even when you knew this wasn't really possible. You really have no one else to blame.

TeenAndTween Thu 30-Mar-17 20:22:24

When I went part time (3 days per week) no one picked up the rest of my work. This was OK as due to the type of work it was it was somewhat flexible anyway.

However I had to get very good at saying 'No, I can't do that, it is not high enough priority'. Or conversely 'That is a very good idea, but it is not a high enough priority for me, but I will support you in doing it'.

Without knowing your line of work OP, I think you need to do more prioritising and saying no.

missymayhemsmum Thu 30-Mar-17 20:32:29

I think your boss is at fault here, but in a way you have dug yourself a hole by trying to do a full time job in part time hours, and then making mistakes that you wouldn't have made before under the pressure.
What she should have done is to discuss which parts of the job you were going to hand over, and to whom.
I think you need to perhaps acknowledge that you can't do everything to the required standard on reduced hours, and discuss that with your boss. She has obviously noticed, but she is seeing the 'catastrophic' mistakes and not the fact that you are trying to keep too many plates spinning. There are options, you could go back to fulltime, or perhaps look at a jobshare/ roleshare so you can train up your maternity cover. Stress that you are willing to be flexible, but that you now recognise that you can't do a full time role in part time hours without compromising your attention to detail.
If she starts going down the disciplinary route, you need to point out that you are not the first person to make an administrative error, and that you are asking for her help with an unrealistic workload to avoid any further issues. Then just make sure you focus on what you are doing and get it right, and 'hand back' anything you haven't been able to complete before you leave at the end of the day.
Confirm what you agree by email, so if she is tempted to get you out while you are pregnant (or is under pressure to do so) you have a trail of proof.

MabelFurball Thu 30-Mar-17 20:35:44

*I read through every email in any chain I am copied into, but I never go through checking people's signature strips for their name, job title and work location, there's no need for me to do that! Why would you? I will going forward to avoid this, but normally why would you?*

You answered your own question OP. You could easily have flicked through the e-mail for the person's correct address. That is why you would.

Deedee3311 Thu 30-Mar-17 20:54:21

I could have easily flicked through everyone's signature strip to see what their fax number is, or their direct dial, but again why would you? I don't think many people do that to be honest. Fair opinion though Mabel.

ceeveebee Thu 30-Mar-17 21:10:10

This is not your fault in the first place as your company should not expect you to do the same work in less hours (but I know many that do).

I disagree. It sounds to me that you wanted to reduce your hours to part time because you want to spend time with your DC, but your employer was reluctant and that's why they wanted a trial. So now you find yourself in a position where you are having to cut corners and work unpaid overtime in order to fit a full time job in. Yes mistakes get made, but more likely to be made when rushing. If it is a full time job, then you need to tell them this and help come up with a solution - job share partner perhaps, or some way of reallocating the work- so that you can stay part time. It's unprofessional and unsustainable to try and carry on without telling them.

Lovetolaugh123 Thu 30-Mar-17 22:37:39

Mistakes happen, I don't think you're getting enough support from your manager. They agreed to let you go part time, so they can't expect you to do a full time job in part time hours. They should have employed another part time person to do the other half of your job (IYSWIM). & you've been working part time hours for over a year, that's a long time to be so unsupported in your job role. Why on earth would they think you could manage to do the full job in half the time?! Common sense should have told them they'd need to replace you on your days off. I get that people have to take responsibility for their mistakes, but you have & you've apologised!

JustMyLuckUnfortubately Thu 30-Mar-17 22:51:21

Sorry OP but I agree with other posters that you are partly to blame. The trial was for your organisation to see if they could afford to have you go PT and you should not have deceived by pretending your full work was being done within the PT hours. That implies that you have became more efficient or previously had lots of downtime.

I feel sad for you that you are working FT or almost FT hours for PT pay, spending less with with your DC & feeling stressed. This is not a good way to be, especially when pregnant.

Best of luck

You need to have a sit down honest conversation & say that during the trial you tried to be more efficient but sometimes worked from home in order to catch-up on emails etc. Explain you cannot continue this & discuss a way forward i.e. Prioritising tasks

Lingotria Thu 30-Mar-17 23:04:35

I work with highly restricted information a lot and 1) yes it is a big deal when it goes to the wrong person internally because that's how leaks to the media happen- that you don't get that is worrying and 2) yes I do check the full email address of everybody I send an email to, I validate their names on department resource lists every month to ensure they haven't left/changed position, and will rarely send data just a link to a protected document to a protected drive. Communications is serious business so if you aren't able to cope with it in your pt hours let your manager know so she can reassign it.

BaliBound Thu 30-Mar-17 23:45:10

I could have easily flicked through everyone's signature strip to see what their fax number is, or their direct dial, but again why would you? I don't think many people do that to be honest. Fair opinion though Mabel.

If I wasn't sure who I was emailing, my first port of call would be the signature strip. I assumed most people would do this. I mean, why wouldn't you? confused

BaliBound Thu 30-Mar-17 23:47:05

Sorry bold fail in last message.

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