To Worry?(17 Posts)
Over a year ago I started a new contract job in an office about a month before another woman, E. We were allocated to different teams, although general secretarial / finance work. As newbies we would have morning tea together but we are quite different. She's in her late forties, two children, married and would be 'posh'. I'm in my late twenties, foreign, married, no kids, middle class.
Our contracts have kept being renewed, and we are both contracted until Christmas. Towards the end of last year we seemed to have drifted from taking our breaks together, but since we don't have a lot in common, its fine.
I enjoy the work and get on well with the other three people in my team.
I've had good reviews and it's been said that when the next permanent roles are announced, I should apply. In January E joined our section, and one of my colleagues trained her. I had two weeks holiday at the time and when I came back, there was a bit of tension evident. E wasn't adjusting well to the new processes and was making some significant mistakes. The same colleague trained me, so my biased opinion is that the training is fine and there is a written training manual. My colleague suggested that E shadow me and I spent three days with her plus an hour a day for a month. E was struggling but our supervisor said to persevere with the training. The team were getting lots of complaints internally and externally about problems, so colleagues and I have had to do a lot of fixing Es errors, and what work E does do, is done very slowly. She's made lots of comments that the work allocated to her is boring, but the team is reluctant to trust her with anything more interesting (difficult) until she masters this. The mistakes are silly, sending transactions to wrong accounts, forgetting where territories are (like placing orders for Australia in North America) etc
A month ago E's Dad was diagnosed with an illness and it was announced that E was going part time for 3 months. E wasn't completing work which became apparent when customers contacted us asking why their accounts werent updated and with some checking it was obvious she was only completing the easy customer orders, ignoring the more difficult ones. It was agreed E would tell us where she was in her workload daily before leaving so we could cover her outstanding, and E would ask if she was stuck.
On Tuesday I asked her for an update, and E replied that she had done about 10 orders in four hours; I said "Are you sure?" (Aswe are expected to do about 20 an hour). She then muttered " We can't all be as perfect as you". It was said sarcastically but low enough that I was definitely supposed to hear. I mentioned it to a colleague but left it.
Yesterday after E left, there was a discussion about Es errors with the team and our supervisor. My colleague brought up what E had said to me. I briefly explained but asked the supervisor to leave it as E is under stress. My supervisor sounded doubtful - as in "Are you sure? That doesn't sound like her" - but asked that I tell her if it happens again.
a lot of wider office are cautious about E as the part time gig is seen as the dream arrangement which many of the Mums have requested and had declined, so it's seen as E receiving a special favour. I don't have kids, so it's no skin off my nose. There have been barbed comments that E must know someone.
The job is well paid, convenient travel, interesting to me and I' enjoy it, but I'm wary that this is reflecting badly on me. Am I being unreasonable to worry about my job?
Sorry but how is this reflecting on you? She had training off someone else, she shadowed you but clearly isn't doing her job. I don't see why you think you'd be held responsible
Agreed,I don't see how her behaviour is reflecting badly on you.
From what you describe it sounds like E is under stress (father's illness and who knows what else) and could she also be picking up on the general feeling from the others in the office about her doing the part time which has been denied to others, and becoming defensive?
The remark she made to/about you sounds like someone on the defense to me, and it's easy to feel like that when you have a massive amount on your plate at home, are not performing well at work (and know you're struggling) and then to feel singled out by colleagues because they feel you've been given special treatment.
I don't think your job is particularly at risk from an outside POV, other than maybe E's failings reflecting on the team as a whole.
Is it within your scope to offer some support? Not just professionally as I realise you have your own work to do, but maybe seek her out at a break time and ask how she's doing? And then she can open up if she wants to?
I read this as you're worried because you believe the comments that E must 'know someone' and you think you've annoyed her and she may weild influence.
It's difficult to answer without knowing the dynamic of your workplace. I work for a large company, where it would be very difficult for a personal vendetta to culminate in dismissal, simply because so many people from unrelated departments would be involved in the process. A smaller company might be very different.
No reasonable person could think you've done anything wrong here, and her muttered comment, though very unprofessional, doesn't sound too serious.
I think the best thing you can do is get on with your own work, be super-professional to E. and give any gossip about her a wide berth. At the same time, quietly document any incidents in which she's involved so you have a record, on the offchance that E. should try anything on.
I honestly don't understand how you've managed to make this about you?
But then again, you lost me at would be 'posh'
I'm confused. Everybody knows "E" is the problem...
How is it reflecting on you? Do you feel that in picking up the slack for E, your supervisor might think the errors / lack of speed is down to you?
Why worry about your job? You sound to be doing splendid. No company gets rid of splendid staff unless they really have it.
Is it cos you think E is in with higher management?
Feel sorry for E. It's hard working somewhere knowing people are talking about you negatively. How can you do a job confidently? Is any support being given on how to do tasks? The initial training obviously not worked for her. And it's not easy helping care for a parent.
She has made a few barbed comments about other team members which they have overheard also, "Who does X think she is, telling me what to do?", "I'm paid more than them" (which is true, about £400 p/yr - we have published bands, but as the role is well paid, after taxes it's about £20 a month net, so nothing to get excited about). The supervisor was approached a month ago about some of the mistakes but said that she wouldn't bring up the errors with E while she is on part time as she is under stress. It does feel like E is a protected species a little.
When I've shown E her mistakes, she tries to say it's not her, but there's an audit trail. When E sees the audit, she gets huffy. The receptionist doesn't transfer calls to her as E never answers the phone, even for the customers which are supposed to be Es speciality (which was the reason for E joining the team).
The 'posh' reference is uncalled for, but it's been noticed that she has been quite cold towards some of the wider office staff and once referred to them as Jeremy Kyle types. I'm somewhat ignorant as I've only been in the country 18mths and we don't have a class system where I come from.
The support is that 1) she had three weeks training in January (2 weeks with my colleague, 1 week shadowing me, plus almost 6 was of 1 hour daily) 2) she sits in the middle of myself and another colleague and has been encouraged to ask questions - and I would answer at least two a day.
My fear is yes, as she is in with management, if this problem explodes, she'll blame us.
I understand that E is under strain, but equally I have a long term health condition which the company is aware of and Im having a horrible flare up at present (largely attributable to the poor atmosphere at work, and my workload is increasing as spring / summer is the organisations busy period plus I'm covering E's workload).
Being under stress at home isn't an excuse for consistently performing poorly at work nor acting like a cow to other members of staff.
But your supervisor wanted to raise the barbed comments with her so they know there's a problem. And that the whole team is having a problem not just you so I doubt it would reflect directly on you.
Why is she paid more than the rest of you when she isn't as well trained and sounds like she's actively resisting training; whilst making lots of mistakes?
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