Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How to Make a Shy Person Retreat Further

Had my annual review at work recently. It sucked. Or rather, I suck. I have finally found a job I really, really like, and I suck at it.

I work differently than some others, and that’s not okay even though the quality of my work is excellent according to my review. There is no appreciation for my way of working on several different projects at one time and finishing them by their deadlines, rather than working on one project from start to finish, then the next, then the next. It seems to me to be a style difference only, and not one of great consequence. My supervisor does not agree.

Also, the quantity of my work is inadequate, and quite honestly, I would have to agree with my supervisor on that point. When I first started I would get everything finished that was assigned to me and had a hard time finding things to do to keep myself from massive boredom. I slowed way down, paced myself, so I didn’t have so much spare time. I guess I’m afraid to get things done too quickly because if I do then what? I don’t know, and therein lies the problem. When I get things done quickly and ask what to do next my supervisor rarely has anything for me so I’m left to my own devices. I am not sure how to proceed other than speeding back up and documenting copiously how I am spending my time so that the next time it comes up I can point to the times I’ve requested direction from my supervisor as to what he would like me to do next, and the responses I get.

Also, an unnamed coworker complained about me taking personal phone calls at my desk so I’ve been forbidden to have personal calls at my desk. Any personal calls have to be made from, or taken on, my cell phone somewhere other than my cubicle. Now, if this was the overall company rule I wouldn’t have nearly the problem with it that I do given that it’s just me that has to follow this rule. Others receive and make personal calls from their desks. I know they do because I hear them. Maybe I should complain about them to our supervisor.

Yeah, I’m bitter. I know that there is some level of truth to the problems he pointed out. I also know that he gave me no chance to make suggestions of how we might work to resolve the issues. Basically it was a “shape up or ship out” message. So now I come to work feeling alienated from my supervisor and my coworkers. I still really enjoy the kind of work I’m doing, but I no longer feel the camaraderie that I used to feel. I come in, sit at my desk, do my work, and speak to no one.

I totally suck. . .


Bunny said...

You DO NOT suck.

I think your supervisor sucks. He needs to see that some people work differently than others and that if your style gets the work done correctly and on time and does not interfere with anyone else's work, it shouldn't be a problem. Just as teachers have to learn to work with different learning styles in their students, supervisors need to learn to work with different work styles by employees. Only if it is affecting others in the pipeline should it be a problem.

I also cannot work linearly - do this project and get it done, then move onto that project and finish it, and then pick up the next project . . . . My poorly chosen profession doesn't often work that way anyhow so it didn't usually matter.

The personal phone calls thing is also inappropriate. Asking you to make/take fewer calls or keep them short is appropriate, forbidding them altogether when no one else is subject to that restriction is highly inappropriate.

I really need to write my "how to be a better manager" book one of these days. When I do, I'll send it to this dolt.

kimba said...

You don't totally suck. You know the work you do is good - he has no complaints about the quality of the work you complete.. You do not totally suck. He sucks.

I actually think.. truly.. you should print this blogpost out and say this is how I am feeling post your review of my work. I don't want to feel like this. What can we do to get the best out of our relationship?

Front him with the way you are feeling. Please. Otherwise you carry this irrational burden.

If you need some more motivation - go and read my post called Workplace Pricks on May 17 2007.. and know that because I didn't have follow through on something that made me feel SHIT at work and personally - I am still dealing with the fall-out 2 years later.

I am not insinuating that your supervior is a prick.. just a little unenlightened with how to manage the talents of his staff..

You are worthy and worthwhile true. You really.. really.. really are..

(Umm - can you do my tax for me?)

Fusion said...

Exactly the the ladies said here TS. I was thinking it beofre I finished reading...

And I think you should do what Kimba suggests, take it to him, and sort things out.

But don't do her taxes, you have no idea what you'd be in for ;)

Val said...

Ditto what Bunny said - YOU do NOT suck, but your supervisor is clueless. Sounds like you may need to go over his head - arbitrary cell-phone usage rules are NOT good management technique!

Desmond Jones said...

See, when my supervisors have treated me like this, I've tended to take it like "We don't want you here". Maybe not the most constructive possible spin to put on it, but it feels like that to me. You know, we're just gonna make you so pissed-off and miserable that you'll quit, and we won't have to fire you.

The good news is, that I've always been able to wait 'em out. Let the assholes get promoted, or wait for them to get a better offer and move on. But DON'T give in to their crap - don't fall into your own depresseion; just keep doing what you know how to do. Take account of what they're telling you, but know that you got the job because you know what you're doing.

And I couldn't help but laugh ruefully (yes, ruefully) to myself, because I'm constantly getting banged in my appraisals for not being able to work on several projects at once. . . Wanna trade?

Stinkypaw said...

Try not to let it get to you, I know, easier said than done. You need to readjust yourself to your work, if you managed to adjust slowing down, you can most likely do the same the other way, no?

I would rather have an employee you calls from the office line than use their cell phone, that is just plain weird to me.

Trueself said...

Bunny - I would have taken the review completely differently if my supervisor had approached things from a more moderate stance. I could completely agree to limit personal calls, but to stop them entirely at my cubicle and make me walk around looking for a quiet place to use my cell phone just doesn't seem to accomplish what I would think he wants to accomplish -- increased productivity.

Kimba - Yes, I should probably confront him about it. However, he has a pattern of only staying in a position for a couple of years before moving on so he'll likely only be my supervisor for a few more months. If that's the case then it just isn't worth it to me to confront him.

Fuse - Ha! I wouldn't even attempt doing Aussie taxes. I've had enough woes keeping up with US and Canadian ones.

Val - He's not a great manager. I've known that for some time. He shmoozes a lot though with higher ups so he knows how to get ahead. Hopefully, he'll move right on up and out of here.

Des - Yeah, it feels the same to me, and I'm taking the same approach -- wait 'em out.

SP - Seems weird to me too. Not sure I get how being away from my desk while making or taking calls makes me more productive. Perhaps others don't do this, but I often would be working on some of the more tedious repetitive tasks while talking on the phone so I was accomplishing something all the while.