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Managers - I need your advice.(long)

(13 Posts)
Ubik1 Sat 20-Dec-14 16:42:53

So am returning after 6 years out of the workplace.
Have been in situ fir five months. Have previously worked full time much better paid and higher grade in private sector. Am now back to in a corporate public sector environment. Am delighted to have job.

The issue: I am lowest paid in the office (£21,000) yet work the longest hours by a wide margin.
I am paid to coordinate production of a national corporate document which is issued to employees every two months.

The work processes are shocking. They are not in place. I have tried to enforce deadlines (am just a minion) but they are disregarded by higher level managers. There are no team meetings.

Things have come to head where we have missed our deadline. My manager was off fir two weeks on compassionate leave in November , and has been working a three day week ever since. He has been sick fir the last week (apart from dept Xmas lunch.)

I have worked flat out fur the last week with no power to sign things off. I have been in job four months and yet am deciding content for this document which is treated like the Dead Sea scrolls by senior management. I have already added value and this has been commented on positively by colleagues.

At last on Friday I was contacted by my manager from home with amendments. They were not all done as I had stayed late and had missed half of my daughters birthday party already.

He texted Saturday lunchtime asking why he had not been sent a full amended document on Friday night.

I want to know how to approach this as I will be asking fur a meeting in the new year ( when I have a clear head)
At the moment I am thinking through a process which might work. But I need the power to say no to people.

I am also looking fir a meeting about the scope of my role, powers and responsibilities.

I need any advice at all on how to frame this in a proactive, professional manner when actually I just want to cry and work in a flower shop or something.

RJnomore Sat 20-Dec-14 16:47:56

Get your job description and draw boundaries firmly around what you are responsible for and what you are able to decide.

Then draw a boundary from 9-5 and stick to both of them.

Your managers sound inept but you are facilitating them. Don't work extra hours. Fire off emails asking for decisions when you need them and make it clear you are unable to progress the work in question until you get it.

After than treat it as outwith your control.

funchum8am Sat 20-Dec-14 16:59:07

Is there any way they would consider making you acting manager, perhaps in a job share capacity, until your manager can return to full time work? This should give you more authority and power to do what it takes to get the job done well.

Ubik1 Sat 20-Dec-14 18:33:48

Advice from a senior colleague was to distance myself and work my allotted hours.
I've never encountered this before. In my previous work we worked together as a team to get the job done.

Am just venting - it helps to write it down. I feel like I am being set up fir failure as things stand. And I have no power to change it.

Ubik1 Sat 20-Dec-14 18:34:48

And I am three grades below my manager. No way I could act up fir boss ( although I would love to )

RJnomore Sat 20-Dec-14 18:56:54

Your colleague is right unfortunately.

It's probably Thr only way to handle it, while keeping yourself sane. At least you should be able to access internal vacancies?

ShutUpLegs Sat 20-Dec-14 19:07:26

Map out the current process and highlight every gap and every step where you are dependant on others. Look through old email trails and show how much time has been wasted over the last few iterations of the process. It sounds like you are having to matrix manage in a workplace that is dysfunctional and without heavyweight covering fire from your own boss to kick butts in other departments, it must be a nightmare.

It sounds like no-one up the food chain is owning or valuing this document, which begs the question why it is being produced in the first place!

If you can put together a new process and proposed service level agreement for it, then you can leave that with them for their consideration. Then you work to rule from that point.

Good luck.

1981 Sat 20-Dec-14 19:39:34

You need to decide if you want to step up (it sounds like you don't) and help to improve processes, get more power to sign off etc.


You need to enforce boundaries better (stop working overtime, clearly flag deadlines which will be missed to whoever is supervising your work - keep cool and professional: "XYZ was not provided so the impact is ABC, my mitigation plan is [ask them again / produce it three days late / is there anything else you advise?]").

There isn't really a middle ground here that I can see.

I would be very very cautious of asking for more control/power/ability to sign off (even if it would probably help you in the short term!), as you'll be perceived as someone who's "owning" the accountability of these failures, as opposed to someone who's just impacted by them. And you'll be doing it resentfully, etc. - you'll end up leaving and feeling aggrieved, whilst being labelled by your manager as someone who tried to step up but failed. Rather than them seeing the situation as the reason for the failure.

Ubik1 Sat 20-Dec-14 19:50:11

I would be very very cautious of asking for more control/power/ability to sign off (even if it would probably help you in the short term!), as you'll be perceived as someone who's "owning" the accountability of these failures

I agree wholeheartedly with this.

funchum8am Sun 21-Dec-14 18:55:39

If there are two other managers between you and boss who is off, I'd definitely take the senior manager's advice and work only your hours etc. Explain where you foresee that the process could will fall down if nothing changes but don't take on the accountability for final outcomes - there are people responsible up the hierarchy from you.

Ubik1 Sun 21-Dec-14 20:37:17

I've had time to think about it now. I need some time in his diary to discuss:
A) my role and where my responsibilities end. It is unclear at the moment and this gives him leeway to pass responsibility to me which does not tally with my pay grade This corporate document is basically a vehicle fir those gunning for promotion. It is the subject of so much angst about content and design, the graphic designer and I are often left speechless. We are also extremely short-staffed which has led to this mess.

B) work deadlines. I can see a process that will work but only if my manager is prepared to enforce it. I am sceptical therefore I really want to avoid 'ownership' of it.

I just need to have this conversation in a calm, professional way. Gah this is why I went freelance before!

funchum8am Sun 21-Dec-14 20:42:19

It sounds like you have a plan! Good luck...let us know how it goes. You sound like a rational and sane, clear-headed person...let's hope he is the same!

SkyHighWhy Sun 21-Dec-14 22:10:17

When you have your meeting, concentrate on the processes, not the people. IE, don't make it personal. I find this works better in such situations. Good luck, you have a good plan. Do report back!

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