lost temper at work

Old 08-28-2011, 11:28 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
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lost temper at work


I'm feeling pretty stressed lately and, um, bit my co-worker's head off yesterday. I feel like I maybe should feel bad about it? But I'm kinda not.

In a nutshell: I'm in charge of organising this project for which we got a grant to provide trainings to trainees. We all agreed how it would be carried out. I'm doing all the coordination, and about 70% of the teaching, but there are some bits that my co-workers have to teach, with me coordinating all the logistics.

I've been badgering my co-workers (you know, nicely) since May to get all the plans in place, coordinate all the different schedules, rooms, etc. For nearly everyone, it's all good to go. Actually, it's turning out well!

Except: Mr. Flakey.

Mr. Flakey, in addition to teaching some of the sessions, is nominally the Management Team person who's "supervising" me in this project. His supervision has consisted of him blowing off meetings with me and then randomly ambushing me at my desk and saying, essentially, "About that project! Need more cowbell!" Which, fine, I really don't need his input, it's turning out good.

Now, he's notorious for flaking out of things involving public speaking and trainees, so I was dubious from the beginning. No matter, right? I just put everything in memos and emails, cc'ing Big Boss too, repeating over and over: "Okay Mr. Flakey, to follow up on what you and Big Boss and I spoke about, we're agreed! Here are the dates! Here are the venue details! Here is your material! Okay, so you're doing that, thanks for agreeing to do that!"

Yeah, so on Friday I come in and write up a little memo/progress report to everyone involved in the project, email it out.

And then I got a little sneaking suspicion, since Mr. Flakey's been kinda quiet lately. I looked at Mr. Flakey's online diary. HE HAD RESERVED ANNUAL LEAVE DAYS FOR EVERY SINGLE DAY THESE TRAINING SESSIONS ARE SCHEDULED. (To be clear, I don't supervise him, I don't approve his leave. He's nominally my supervisor.)

Okay, so I emailed him (cc'd Big Boss) all chatty like, "Yeah, couldn't help but notice you're taking annual leave all the days you agreed to do the training? Not sure when that happened. Maybe you've made arrangements for someone else to teach, you can just tell me to butt out if so. But if you need help re-arranging things, now's the time to tell me. Once the project launches I really won't have time to re-haul things."

So he comes up to my office and says, "Um, yeah, could we change the days for my training sessions? I have to look after my daughter those days."

I said, kinda tight-lipped, "Change to what days?"

"Oh, yeah, any other days would be fine."

I threw up my hands and said, "No, you have to tell me what days because if I choose new days and re-arrange all the logistics you're gonna be up here again saying, oops, can't do that day either..." (In the rantiest way possible.)

He said, "Excuse me?" and I apologised, said I was sorry to snap at him, let's look at the diary, picked a whole new set of days. Luckily the venue was free, made all the changes for that, put it in writing. Then I contacted all the trainees, told them apologetically about the change, thanks for understanding, etc. (I'm the one who recruited them.)

Then we start getting calls from trainees who'd signed up for the training. They were basically like, "Are you kidding? We can't go on these days! We've already planned!" To be clear, many of them are college students. When I recruited them as trainees, I re-assured them that our training schedule was all in place, and many of them *planned their fall semester around our schedule!*

So I've decided to just let Mr. Flakey deal with fall-out. I was on my way to an afternoon of appointments with clients and Mr. Flakey calls my desk all in a panic. He said, "So you could call all the trainees and see if there's another day..."

I cut him off. "No. I'm not going to do that. You can do it."

"Can you be civil? Can you just speak civilly to me?"

"Yes, I'm civilly saying no!"

I saw my clients all afternoon, dealt with walk-ins. At the end of the day I find that Mr. Flakey had left early, after grumping at the secretaries for a while about various things. He had sent me an email scheduling a talk with Big Boss about my "hostile behavior."

Oh, and when I went to the copier he'd left (face-up!) a one-page report of the days' events with me, in this exaggerated sort of language to show he'd done nothing wrong at all. "Today at 8:53 I very politely requested whether akrasia could assist me in re-arranging some details for the training and she responded by SHOUTING and FLINGING THINGS ACROSS THE ROOM!" I don't know who it was for, presumably Big Boss. I want to think it was just carelessness that he left it face-up in the copy room, but--yeah, classy.

I want to feel bad about it but honestly? I think it was high time someone told him off, I really do.

But, yeah, hope I have a job next week. Wah-wah.
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Old 08-28-2011, 01:46 PM
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That is an incredibly frustrating scenario! I wouldn't feel bad. Hopefully Big Boss sees things rightfully.

Good luck with the meeting and the upcoming event.
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Old 08-29-2011, 03:15 AM
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Thanks for reading my long post. I did go on and on.

I know it doesn't seem like an alkie issue but in fact it feels that way to me. I thought to write about it here because the situation gives me the same panicky feeling of dealing with an alky: I'm trying to coach myself to just let it go.

If my flakey, manipulative co-worker wants to manufacture these crises that's his deal. I can't control that, and I can't play along, no matter how badly I want the whole project to turn out well. I have to find an assertive yet diplomatic way of deflecting the consequences back to him too.

Wouldn't mind some suggestions on how to do that if anyone had a thought... thanks.
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