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Author Topic: Hive Mind's Opinion: Lunch Meeting With Boss  (Read 406 times)
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Crux
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« on: March 13, 2014, 12:09:32 AM »

Cross-posted from OO!

Background:

So my boss is terrible at her job. When I first started there she literally wasn't doing it. We had no trainers, no medical treatment for our athletes despite there being a budget for it. It would sometimes take asking her the same thing 10+ times over the span of 2-3 weeks to get answers to simple questions. It was downright horrific. I reported it to HR, and she almost got fired for it (after corroboration from my colleagues). Truth be told she probably would/should have been but as a woman of color, she'd previously threatened to sue over an imagined discrimination issue in the past so I think they kept her just to avoid all of that. After that, her performance picked up. Still not *good*, but at least bare minimum.

She did, however, increase our workloads - shoveling as many of her responsibilities as she could onto us, delegating even simple tasks rather than do them herself. The feeling i and my colleagues had was that she was creating a paper trail so she'd have grounds to write us up/get us fired in retaliation. Fast forward to a month ago, and I had a meeting scheduled with her over something, with a very short time to do it in. I go into her office, and she hands me a form where she's written me up for "insubordination". It's completely and utterly bogus, all based around two short emails I sent her in fairly quick succession over a short-notice meeting I tried to schedule with her from two days before. I sent one email asking if she could meet, then shortly after sent another saying "Scratch that, I realized I won't have time to do that and get to practice on time." She took my emailing her with the phrase "Scratch that" as rude and insubordinate, despite us having an established history of fairly informal communication via text and email.

Here's where it gets interesting. Right before handing me the notice, she told me that we don't communicate enough and she wants us to talk more. I of course pointed out the absurdity of telling me we should talk more, and then taking offense at a simple email and formally writing me up without talking to me about it. She wasn't interested in that line of thinking. So, I immediately took the email and went to see her boss about it. I gave him the 2 minute run down, handed him the form. He said it was ridiculous, photocopied it, and then told me not to respond, and not to worry about it at all. So I've left it alone since. She's still barely competent, still not doing her job well.

The question:

Last week in our staff meeting, she asked us, for the first time since I took the job, what she could do to make our jobs easier. It actually came across as sincere, which was shocking from a woman who has been lazy, dishonest and downright crappy. None of us had an easy answer because this came out of the blue. I decided it might be worth meeting with her to try to clear the air. So, I've tentatively scheduled an informal lunch meeting with her tomorrow. I don't want to spend my time at my job watching my back because of the knife I think she is currently sharpening to stick there. At the same time I work in an at-will state and I'm a white male - the most fire-able of commodities even though I am excellent at my job. Is meeting with her and trying to clear the air a bad idea? Is it stupid of me to think she might handle this like an adult, talk about the issues we've had and try to sort it all out? Should I keep the lunch light, informal and not touch on anything substantial?

Hive mind I ask thee: what is my best course of action?
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dfs
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2014, 02:26:11 PM »

Quote from: Crux on March 13, 2014, 12:09:32 AM

It actually came across as sincere, which was shocking from a woman who has been lazy, dishonest and downright crappy....Is meeting with her and trying to clear the air a bad idea? Is it stupid of me to think she might handle this like an adult, talk about the issues we've had and try to sort it all out? Should I keep the lunch light, informal and not touch on anything substantial?

My friend you are tilting at windmills.

Danger Will Robinson! Stay away!

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Caine
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2014, 03:26:17 PM »

I was in this situation (races of involved and experience of boss) a few years back but had the benefit of working for a contracting company who threatened to sever the contracts and all future business if the manager wasn't trained and become better at her position.  it also helped that in the biggest moment of conflict, she admitted to her misjudgment and unprofessional behavior.  I think your situation is slightly rockier as she seems to be holding a grudge, but at least you have the support of her boss and previous documentation regarding her actions. 

I'd say nothing substantial to her and leave the meeting casual.  if she's going to get shitcanned, don't give her any reason to drag you into the mud or cause to go after you while she has the chance.  if she wants to clear the air, let her make the effort but I'd tread carefully in the meeting.

Hope it works out for you.  when I left this last job, the boss in my case was actually teary when I left. 
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Soulchilde
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2014, 05:19:26 PM »

Document every freaking thing you do with her especially by email is my best advice.
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Graham
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2014, 05:43:55 PM »

I'm curious what happened.  You also might want to get a voice recorder and not one that is on your cell phone.
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Roman
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2014, 07:18:20 PM »

Don't do it. Don't empower her anymore than she already is.
You cant fix stupid.

IF you decide to move ahead let her boss know what you plan to discuss and provide a copy of the discussion points. That way you're covered if she tries to claim that you said different.

But again - don't do it. Focus on what you already do well and keep a copy of all communications.
 
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EngineNo9
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« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2014, 03:15:03 AM »

I think Crux may have been killed in the process.  So sad.  frown

Quote from: Soulchilde on March 14, 2014, 05:19:26 PM

Document every freaking thing you do with her especially by email is my best advice.

Also, too late for the meeting mentioned above, but I concur with this.
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Crux
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2014, 01:38:32 PM »

Update: I'm alive biggrin

She actually ended up calling out sick so it never happened. I met again with my boss's boss and he assured me that I have job security, and that he will be watching closely to make sure there are no other instances of attempted 'payback' on her part. I'm going to present her a list of things she can help me with, some of which I cleared with her boss during our meeting and he agreed those things shouldn't be my responsibility. Overall I think I'm in good shape.
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Blackjack
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2014, 07:12:29 PM »

Quote from: Crux on March 15, 2014, 01:38:32 PM

Update: I'm alive biggrin

She actually ended up calling out sick so it never happened. I met again with my boss's boss and he assured me that I have job security, and that he will be watching closely to make sure there are no other instances of attempted 'payback' on her part. I'm going to present her a list of things she can help me with, some of which I cleared with her boss during our meeting and he agreed those things shouldn't be my responsibility. Overall I think I'm in good shape.
Yay!  icon_biggrin

I worked for a lot of monsters in my newspaper days. Most of the time, if I kept my head down and kept doing good work, I either outlasted the monster or "my boss's boss" realized what a horrible person the monster was, and either talked to them or forced them out of the company. A similar thing happened with my best friend, who works as an independent engineer contractor in Boston. In his case, like yours, the "boss's boss" eventually got wind of how poorly and unfairly my friend was being treated and apparently had some sort of sit-down with the "monster" in my friend's case, and that has apparently made his remaining weeks in this particular contracted job much more reasonable.

Glad it seems to be working out for you, as with my pal in Boston.  icon_smile thumbsup
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