Thursday, June 02, 2005


OK, so...hypothetical time (and by hypothetical, I mean it really happened to me, but it's hypothetical for you). Let's say you have a coworker who, while a nice person, truly blows chunder when it comes to her job, and this person continually screws crap up that has a direct effect on YOUR job, which you then have to fix or have her fix, and bring to her attention so maybe she'll learn from her mistakes. However, despite all your efforts to help, (including directly offering to answer questions, take some of her burden because you often finish your work quickly, etc.), she both refuses your help, AND continues to screw up. Let's say this situation is so bad, in fact, that your and her boss has been getting multiple complaints from people in your dept. due to her screwing crap up, her inability to answer questions, or help in any significant way. In fact, the situation is even worse than that...there’ve been so many complaints about her that the head honcho of your dept., your executive damn director, has had to make special arrangements to RE-train her AND your direct supervisor, as a way of stemming the complaint tide.

Now imagine you do well at your job...keep your head down, don't make trouble, you're thorough and responsive, and you've gotten MULTIPLE compliments from people on your team and your dept. as a whole, INCLUDING thanks for making things run smoother than they've been in the past. Now imagine that there is a particular task you and the idiot share...a common email account that people in your dept. can send questions and requests for help, and you and the idiot both work that account, doing a first-on-the-scene sort of thing for the common questions, and dealing individually with emails that pertain directly your position (which you do work, maybe not as often as you should, but you do work it at least once a week, usually more).

Now let's say there's a particular member of your team who trained you, and with whom you get along quite well but who the idiot hates for reasons neither entirely clear nor accurate, and that team member calls you into her office one day to inform you that, during a state-of-the-union meeting about the idiot, your name came up in a negative sense. Specifically, that you had told the idiot that she was solely responsible for the email account (a blatant lie), and she was therefore overwhelmed responding to emails and couldn't do her job to the best of her essence (and this is my interpretation), that it's your fault that she sucks. Not only that, but your direct supervisor, who you thought you had a good relationship with, backed up her account of things...all of this in front of at least one other manager and the executive director. He and the idiot seem to have some odd relationship, where he continually covers for her mistakes. Did he ever ask you your side of things? No. Did she ever come to you to say she was overwhelmed and could you take on more responsibility for the email account? No.

The rub is you're not supposed to was told to you in confidence by that team member. In fact, that team member probably wasn't even supposed to know, but heard it from a manager you really like and respect, and who seems to like you as well. You don’t want to get anyone in trouble, but you want to call the idiot on her lie, and ask your supervisor why he didn’t just ask you about it first before supporting her in front of the executive director. What would you do to prevent further false tarnish to your reputation using information you’re not supposed to have?


Post a Comment

<< Home