In my last post I left you with Lesson Learned #3 – be careful to not step on your manager’s toes. Well, I was fairly new to the professional world, and I really didn’t have any hard experience of having a manager upset with me because of something I did.
Hold on a minute now, I just remembered something. While working part-time during college, the head of one department told her manager I was “obnoxious.” Really? Me – obnoxious? (Anyone agree? It’s okay to let me know if you think I am or thought I was obnoxious. Seriously, I’m okay with that.) Here’s what happened: The department manager didn’t seem to get it when I pointed out that she shouldn’t stamp the books “Complimentary” because that would imply the books were free of charge. The subscribers paid for the books; we didn’t give them away. She kept stamping them anyway. I didn’t want her manager to think I was also doing the incorrect stamping, so I went to her manager and confirmed that we were not supposed to stamp the books complimentary. That manager must have said something to the department manager, because the next thing I know, the manager told me that the department manager said I was obnoxious. I had a good chuckle upon hearing that. But I didn’t let the name-calling bother me; I knew the books should not have had that stamp on them.
Okay, back to the subject you were waiting for.
Confession #1: I was a little sh*t (according to the admin manager).
Why did the admin manager think that of me? I imagine because I violated the “don’t step on your manager’s toes” rule.
Something I did: My promotion from receptionist to administrative assistant meant that I was assigned to a new project, as admin support to the project team. The reception desk now had someone else staffing it. The receptionist asked me how to handle some information that came across her desk. Remember I was fairly new to working in the A/E/C industry, and I had not yet honed the art of letting go. So, instead of me taking the time to explain to the receptionist what the general outcome should be (what staff should know as a result of the information that came across her desk), I told the receptionist I would just go ahead and take care of it for her. (And, of course, since the receptionist was new, she didn’t know enough to tell me to back off and that she would handle it. Or maybe she did know enough but didn’t bother to have a discussion with me about it.) So I took care of it and the memo went out to the entire office. It wasn’t too much longer that I was called to a meeting with the admin manager. During that meeting, she said to me, “you’re a little sh*t.” That was a first for me, to be called something like that (other than obnoxious) by my manager, and I have to tell you, I was surprised, then hurt by her remark.
It wasn’t too long after that little chat that I submitted my resignation. (Does that surprise you?)
- Learn to let go, especially if it’s not your responsibility any more.
- If your replacement is new to the office, ask if they would like some help, and if they say no, so be it.
- Don’t let your manager get away with calling you names; no one should be treated like that. (I’m pretty sure my mouth dropped open when she called me a little sh*t, and I might have even had tears in my eyes, but I’m also pretty sure I didn’t say a word in defense of myself.)
- Managers (admin or otherwise) should choose their words carefully when speaking to their staff.
So, what would your reaction have been if your manager called you “a little sh*t?” Let’s get the discussion going by leaving a reply, okay?