Advice on a tricky situation please(3 Posts)
(I've also posted this in Chat if anyone sees the duplication, I'll leave it there in case I get any responses that can help tomorrow, but it's also a longer term problem so hopefully someone here might have some good advice!)
I work in a city firm and we had a round of redundancies about two months ago. The department I work in has been badly hit and we lost half our staff, then to make matters worse our manager has gone on sick leave so we're down to one and half staff (I'm the only full-timer, so it is me on my own half the time). We've now not got got enough staff to manage our workload effectively, which is a real issue as we are a response-based team so our workload isn't reliable.
I did a piece of work for a senior member of staff and she has just come back to me with a snotty email saying the work was below par. I'll admit it might not have been the best piece of work I've ever done but I did the best I could in the time I had, considering the rest of my workload.
I now really don't know how to reply to her or what to do tomorrow. I can't bother my manager as she is on sick leave. We haven't been given another line manager to report to, my colleague and I have been left to fend for ourselves. Our HR department will not be sympathetic at all. Basically the firm has cut all the support departments too small, but senior management just "don't want to hear" about any problems. It's the kind of firm where people like the member of staff who has complained about me have high expectations because they earn a lot of money and work ridiculous hours - but I'm support staff, I'm not paid enough to work more than my standard hours and there is no overtime, incentives etc to do so. (Obviously I'm looking for a new job in general!)
Basically, I want to say that say essentially this is the result of management cutting our department too small and that we can't effectively cope, but that just sounds whiny and isn't something that will go down well with management at all.
I don't know if there is anything I can actually do, but I really do have to respond tomorrow. Is anyone any good at this sort of thing?
You need to do 2 things in my opinion:
1. Contact the senior member of staff apologising for the work not being up to standard, and give her a timescale for when you can have it to her at your usual standard of work. If she says this is too long, tell her that's how long it will take so it's up to her if she would prefer to just use the one you have already given her.
2. Contact your line manager's manager and ask them how they want things handled eg if there is too much work on and not enough staff then logically (if your manager is off long term) they need to second someone in or at least have someone you can report to. Ask about paid overtime due to unusual circumstances even though it's not usually given.
3. Start treating every piece of work as I've said above - manage their expectations of how long it will take to do a thorough job. No one else but you and your colleague care that you are short staffed and overworked - you need to do a thorough job on all pieces of work, and if that means it will take a fortnight rather than a week tell them that when they ask you to do the work. If they don't like it refer them to your line manager's manager. This may also work to encourage him/her to get things sorted for you!
Oh, and I promise I can count, just hit 2 instead of 3
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