Here is what I’m writing about:
Below is an email exchange between me and my boss. The background is this: a client wanted a status update on some sites that we’re doing for them. The person who is in charge of those sites was on a plane and couldn’t be contacted for another hour.
Rather than send an email telling the client that the person in charge would be able to update them as soon as he exited the plane and then let that guy handle it, my boss opted to have me look up all of the information on an outdated tracker, compare it to the information on the server, cross reference that to the information uploaded to the client’s website, etc etc etc.
Basically a lot more work that has a lot of potential for errors because I don’t have all of the information needed to respond to the request.
I’d like to reiterate here that our guy on the plane had in his possession one document that had all of the information requested on it. I could totally go off on a tangent about my boss’s reactionary responses that (a) create much more work than necessary, (b) create potential for error because he doesn’t give all of the information and then rushes you – well, me – to do the work, and (c) ensure that he has “control” of what is going on. But that would pull me away from the point at hand.
So he made a table and told me to put the data in the table. I had done what he asked. The emails below are when he changed his mind about what he wanted in the table.
Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2009 4:10 PM
To: R*; Melissa Welsh
Subject: RE: A&E Status
Change the dates for site walk dates to say “Site walked”. Remove the dates. That way we don’t look too back since our dates of submittals of PCDs/PZDs are so late!
From: Melissa Welsh
Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2009 4:13 PM
Subject: RE: A&E Status
Ok. What do you want me to do with the ones that I’m not sure if they’ve been walked yet?
And, actually, the turn around looks pretty impressive to me.
Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2009 4:15 PM
To: Melissa Welsh
Subject: RE: A&E Status
I don’t think you have been in the business long enough to decide if the turn around is impressive or not. Leave that to us.
You can get on the phone with Manny or Juan and see any of the ones you list as not walked yet, have been walked or not.
Now, I underlined those two sentences because they are basically what I’m reacting to here.
What bothers me about this exchange:
There are so many alternate ways of saying what he was saying without belittling, mocking, or being disrespectful.
Yes, it is true that I have not been in this field very long at all. It is not my field of expertise. And, yes, my idea of impressive turn around could be totally off base with the industry standard.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have said anything about the turn around at all. I probably wont ever again. Because, clearly, my opinions are not welcomed. But explaining that I am becoming withdrawn, reserved, and submissive because of one man’s insolent behavior was not my purpose here either.
I’m writing about it because things that happen or things that are said or experienced or thought or whatever tend to swirl around in my head until I spit them out somewhere. They tend to pick up speed the longer I go without spitting them out so what begins as a breeze becomes a tornado before too long. This occurrence is merely at the “Tornado Warning” stage. And I am hoping to sleep well tonight so I’m spitting.
What I’d like to say about this exchange:
What I’d like to say to my boss: You arrogant, condescending prick. Do you really think this motivates me to want to do better, to make your company flourish? When Karma comes for you, you may as well just bend over because it sure the hell isn’t going to be shaking your hand.
If my boss ever thought that he could use an experience to grow (but since he thinks he is a superior being and I’m merely a woman, I realize that it is unlikely), I offer these alternate ways that he could have expressed the same general concept of the underlined passage.
The average turn around on these projects is [insert time frame] and the ideal turnaround is [insert time frame] so these are a little behind schedule.
It might seem that way but we really want to shoot for a turn around of [insert time frame].
You’re new to the engineering industry. A good turnaround is [insert time frame here].
I’d probably think that too if I was just starting out in this industry but ideally…(you get the idea)
Or even a less “fluffy” response:
Our contract with this company says the turn around is [insert time frame here] so we’re not fulfilling our obligations at the rate we’re going.
I want to note that I’m not one of those feminists who screams sexism at everything. I abhor those feminists. And by reading the underlined passage you’d probably think he was telling me to leave it to the engineers or people who have been in the industry longer than I have. I’d think that too, if I didn’t know the man. By us he means “the men.”
Again I want to say that I’m not hypersensitive to sex discrimination. I think most of it is bull. But there’s one case out of every whopping basketful that really exists. But I’m digressing from my intent here. I was trying to give him an opportunity to grow, not point out his copious flaws.
Thank you for letting me spit up on you. I feel better now.
And I’m tired. I think I will go to bed so that I can be well rested when I have to face the same crap again tomorrow.
And I’m sorry for complaining about work lately. It’s not my style and I don’t like who I’m becoming because of it.
I am thankful that I have a job. I am thankful for so many things in my life. Perhaps that will be my next blog.
Crap, now that thought is going to start swirling.