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can you help me - wfh not working - made to look bad

(34 Posts)
Sarah510 Mon 30-Mar-20 17:06:39

I don't know what to do about this. I'm in a small team of 4, there's one boss (but apparently she is not the boss of the team leader), then the team leader, who is the boss of me and one part time person. The boss boss has given a presentation to us saying that me and the pt person need to 'step up' and 'work more independently'. I'm not sure where this is coming from as the team leader hasn't said anything, and when I asked her was she going to put into practice some of the things - like organising the work between me and the pt person, she said no, she wants us both to have an 'overview'. Trouble is the p/t person does everything. As soon as an email comes in (shared inbox), she is on it, and has it sorted before I can even read it, or digest it. (am in the job 4 months). I just feel superfluous. Then when she is not "in" on Thurs & Fri, the team leader says to me to wait until she gets back. There's another presentation tomorrow, and I think it's going to be aimed at me not pulling my weight. But I dunno what else to do. Also the boss boss giving this presentation has taken on doing a lot of more menial tasks since being at home - also replying to a lot of emails - to the point where I'm nearly afraid to reply to anything in case someone else has already or that I say the 'wrong' thing and then one of the others writes again to correct me - happened before. Feel stuck. I don't know why they hired me.

DisinfectantDoris Mon 30-Mar-20 17:10:08

Send this in an email to HR and senior management ASAP. Protect yourself, keep records of all the emails or any other communication. PT person is protecting their job and making you vulnerable. If you can, get on things before the PTimer.

Sarah510 Mon 30-Mar-20 17:18:08

yeah maybe that's it. she has been the friendliest to me. but has also said it's "not her job" to teach me things. so in the office she would get on and do things but not share what she was doing very much and she would get frustrated with me being slow. then there's the weird dynamic between the boss and the team leader. boss keeps saying 'we should do this that etc', trying to include me I think, but then the team leader and p/t person ignore her suggestions. I want to do a good job, am bored doing nothing. p/t person was replying to messages before 7am today!

Sarah510 Mon 30-Mar-20 17:20:01

I tried to say it to the 'boss boss' around January, but she made a comment that stuck with me - "well if you don't know how to work in a team Sarah". That was back when she was all over my emails and 'correcting' them or replying so quick I didn't have time to, and then saying I wasn't "taking initiative".

goodwinter Mon 30-Mar-20 17:50:50

My advice is to be straightforward: "ok, how would you like us to split the work?" - if boss is unhappy, she needs to articulate what she would like to see happening instead, and then you have her backing and enforcement if that's not happening.

It also sounds like you work in a team full of pricks, but that's probably not something you can change right now, so please just know this isn't your fault. Good luck

DontStandSoCloseToMe Mon 30-Mar-20 17:57:53

Definitely don't leave the Thursday Friday work, get straight onto it. If team leader complains, wide eyed oh I was being independent, if she continues just say (in writing) I would like to take initiative as boss boss requested and have on this, this and this occasion however have been told every time that I shouldn't have, I am receiving conflicting messages, please clarify whether I should complete work as it arrives or wait to be delegated tasks.

Cheerbear23 Mon 30-Mar-20 18:18:19

Start doing the Thursday / Friday work. Implement a system of allocating the emails and say you’ll do it and make sure you give yourself some prime brownie point emails / queries if you know what I mean.
Be proactive in asking how they would like to split the work, if they say you need to take the initiative then do it and say right, I’ll get on with x, PT person can get on with Y and I’ll leave z for you.
Use this to your advantage.

Sarah510 Mon 30-Mar-20 18:33:17

I have tried - today in advance of tomorrow's presentation I emailed the p/t person and said we should both say we would like the work better organised, and allocated, but she (surprising to me) said no, that she thought it was better we both did everything - i.e. she does everything. Yeah I'm going to try and be proactive but it always seems to backfire - like I created calendar, put in all upcoming tasks/events, but when I showed it to them 'boss boss' said 'oh no, I don't like it, look at this one I made, it's much clearer' - she had also made one, and so we used her one as it was "better" (in her opinion... ) and then the team leader said - oh it's better to just use outlook, we don't need that. Then when I was more proactive replying to emails, boss boss would jump in on my thread, and 'correct' me and just take over. Or p't person would reply and forget to copy me. (it's a shared inbox, you can see what comes in, but you cant see sent messages unless they copy you, or the inbox). To me there is just so much duplication of work. I suggested creating a colour scheme for the inbox, but apparently if I do it, only I can see it, as it's a joint inbox. I'm ambitious, I want to do well, but feel thwarted every turn I take.

DontStandSoCloseToMe Tue 31-Mar-20 03:40:44

Just have a sub folder called actioned within the shared mailbox, that's what happens with our regional administration who all work from different locations, they open an email and move it into actioned and then deal with it so no one else duplicates the work.

BlackCatSleeping Tue 31-Mar-20 03:59:48

It does sound like they are all trying to squeeze you out. How long have you worked there? I don’t know what to suggest as it sounds like they are deliberately being obstructive against you. How about a team meeting with all of you and lay all your cards on the table? They are placing you in an impossible position.

DuchessOfBeddington Tue 31-Mar-20 04:48:00

What do you all do? It sounds like there is not enough work to go round?

Anon3214w Tue 31-Mar-20 05:12:47

If you’ve been there for 4 months then they’re trying to show “boss” that you’re not needed. I know it’s really nasty of them but that’s the only reason I can think of. That’s why maybe the part timer is being cold and distant with you and not training you. You’re very new so they should be mentoring you and showing you how things should be done and definitely allocating tasks. Seems very mismanaged. I’ve previously felt like this do can relate. My manager (school so HOD) did everything and didn’t even tell me shout meetings so I used to look lazy that I didn’t turn up etc.

Anon3214w Tue 31-Mar-20 05:13:36

Excuse typos, very tired n can’t sleep!

AnneJeanne Tue 31-Mar-20 05:56:03

The shared mailbox needs to be ‘triaged’ by the team leader, essentially to assign both of you emails to respond to. It’s the only way for you to be trained and for your performances to be evaluated.

Mummyoflittledragon Tue 31-Mar-20 06:12:16

It sounds as if there isn’t enough work to go around and everyone is trying to cover their arses. Is that correct? In any case, it all sounds toxic.

Do you know if the work actually done to a satisfactory level? If it isn’t, this could be your ‘in’ to take it to HR / higher. Bottom line, you are very vulnerable.

mooboy Tue 31-Mar-20 06:35:14

Doesn't sound like great management to me - you are given negative feedback via a presentation - it's not really going to help the situation - no one is seeking to solve this problem and your team leader needs some training - not that that will help you but you need to communicate directly with team leader and then part time person to resolve this - speak over the phone but send an email confirming what you have talked about and agreed.

FortunesFave Tue 31-Mar-20 06:43:04

I can't believe these managers don't just use Slack or Trello. That works much better for remote teams.

Tell them! And OP....CHECK THAT INBOX obsessively. That part timer is trying to oust you....she wants your job.

FortunesFave Tue 31-Mar-20 06:43:53

It sounds as if there isn’t enough work to go around and everyone is trying to cover their arses

This in spades.

FairyBunnyAgain Tue 31-Mar-20 07:02:28

As said above depending on the work load slack or Trello are great if they are long term tasks or use a ticket system for emails like zen desk.

I have team of 7 and we have a catch up at 8am and 3pm daily in zoom

It sounds like a really poorly managed team to me

TheStuffedPenguin Tue 31-Mar-20 07:13:34

If it's any help I hear my H on conference all day and the same situation is going on in his company - ie people panicking about the situation ( esp top tier management ), everybody wanting to prove their worth in the event of loss of jobs ahead and people micro managing tasks because they are all so shit scared .

joystir59 Tue 31-Mar-20 07:14:30

You clearly are superfluous to requirements as far as your team mates are concerned. I honestly think you will not be able to win in this situation and should get another job asap,and be happy.

1984isnow Tue 31-Mar-20 07:43:51

If by colour coding, you mean categorising emails then its not true that only you can see it. I would give it a go, change one of the category titles to your name and flag them.

How about suggesting that the team inbox is copied in to all replies? The reply then gets moved to the sent box of the shared emails, so not to clog up the inbox. That way, everyone can has access to the full conversation trail ,and you can also view the replies for your own personal training (e.g you can see how boss is replying to various types of enquiries, see what information is relevant and so on).

Or when you see an email that you can deal with, why don't you drag it into your personal inbox, then move it back once dealt with?

They don't sound very susceptible to change, but it's worth a go. In your next presentation point out again how can you take initiative, when you can't see what others have already actioned?

If your TL tells you to leave thurs/fri work, follow up with an email as a coy 'fyi' to the boss and pt worker e.g (Hi X, I had a look into this, here's the information that's needed for the enquiry. TL has said to leave it for you to deal with, but thought I'd prepare the information for you, to save some time)

EggysMom Tue 31-Mar-20 08:04:11

If you are using Outlook with a shared mailbox, we found the answer was to create/name the categories (coloured flags) when in the screen of the calendar of the shared mailbox. You can then apply them to the emails in the shared inbox and they will be visible to all. It's a technique I've used in many different teams, not so much for allocation but for a person to indicate that they have 'taken' an email to answer.

Bringringbring12 Tue 31-Mar-20 08:06:10

Reading between the lines

You’re not confident at your job and this is evident to others, hence management not delegating to you. Plus your colleague seems confident and very hard working and eager to prove herself.

You are not in a strong position so don’t go in all guns blazing. You need to ask to have a call with you manager and ask her directly if there is an issue.

hopeishere Tue 31-Mar-20 08:07:03

It sounds very complicated.

Agree you need to get on it on the p/t persons day off.

Also if you can read the replies do you can see ideal answers would be good.

Is responding to emails the only thing to do?

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