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Getting dumped on at work

(11 Posts)
redredread Thu 12-Nov-15 20:01:30

Sorry if this has been done before. This is my first post in feminism chat, but I'm a longterm lurker.

I've got a new role at work. I report to a woman, and her admin support person is a man. I'm in a senior role, but don't have admin support of my own (it's a small team). My manager keeps asking me to do small tasks for her - eg could you just phone x to let him know I'm running late? Could you book a table for our team Christmas lunch?, could you bring more chairs into the room for our meeting? She's made these requests whilst her admin person is in the same room.

On their own, there's nothing problematic about any of the requests, and I've done the things she's asked. (I don't like hierarchical preciousness of not mucking in.) But the drip drip effect is that I feel she's undermining me and my position by what feels like her "putting me in my place". And because it's combined with not getting answers to questions about work-related stuff that does correspond with my level of seniority, I feel undermined by the stream of small-scale requests.

I'd like to tackle this in a clear, but non-confrontational way. Any suggestions would be very gratefully received. Thank you.

Silverstones Thu 12-Nov-15 21:19:58

Well, I think you already know what you need to do.

You need to arrange a time to have a chat with her and say
a) what has happened, i.e. she asked you to phone to let someone know she was running late
b) why that was inappropriate, i.e. you have a particular level of skill and expertise, and have a full workload of tasks that demand that level of skill and expertise
c) what you would like to have happen in future, i.e. you would like her to ask her administrative assistant to do these tasks

If she tries it on after that, you can look at her (Paddington hard stare) and say 'X, I have a full schedule today. I'm sure that Y will be able to assist you.'

redredread Thu 12-Nov-15 22:17:09

Thank you - I think I really needed to hear that from someone else, as I keep going round in unproductive circles in my head. I will instead focus on perfecting my hard stare (I fear it will be needed).

amarmai Sat 14-Nov-15 18:01:38

i'd be looking to move- she's playing nasty games and since the admin person is in the room when she does this, my guess is it's a'joke' for them at your expense .Try the route laid out by silver as it's good practice to confront people who behave like this. She's a bully IMO

cailindana Sat 14-Nov-15 18:52:18

Why doesn't she ask the admin person to do these jobs?

ImperialBlether Sat 14-Nov-15 18:54:21

Yes, I'm worried that she does this when the person who should be doing it is in the room. She's telling you outright he's too busy and important to do those menial jobs and you are not.

cailindana Sat 14-Nov-15 18:58:09

I entirely sympathise by the way - my boss has a few times asked me to answer her mobile while she's out of the room and it fucks me off because I'm not her secretary and anyway it makes more sense for it to go to voicemail so the person can record their own message. I know it's terribly PA but the few times I did answer I deliberately took a really half-arsed message. She hasn't asked me to do it in a while so I think she gets it.

redredread Sun 15-Nov-15 16:53:22

Thank you. The admin person is quite new, and he'd happily take on the work, but it's hard because the requests are made in such a quick "could you just..." way that it's tricky to pick up on them in the moment. I'm going to work out what I say for next time, as it's definitely an unhelpful pattern.

I would mind less if my manager wasn't also trying to exclude me from meetings that I should go to. So frustrations abound.

WhyBeHappyWhenYouCouldBeNormal Sun 15-Nov-15 16:58:53

I would suggest you delegate - so when she asks you to do something in this brief way - ask the admin support person to help out.

If she asks you to make a call, call admin support to make the call...

Then its slightly less confrontational, whilst getting the point across?

redredread Sun 15-Nov-15 21:57:49

Thanks whybehappy - I'll definitely try that, as it's a less confrontational, but obvious, way to address the issue. But I fear that a softly softly approach may not work, so I'm now lining up my strategies. Thank you

Duckdeamon Mon 16-Nov-15 20:30:11

It sounds like she's a bad boss at best and could be a bully. Excluding you from meetings (and information?) etc. And undermining you in subtle ways. If she doesn't change her ways after you have a word you might need to take it further, so keep notes etc.

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