My boss isn’t a jerk. He’s a nice guy, mostly. I’ve worked for jerk bosses, and he’s not one. But I’m thinking about a hypothetical situation, one which will probably never come to pass.
I’m thinking I would be a jerk boss everyone hates.
I walked by our new employee’s cube today. So far, she’s been sick a couple of days, left early a couple of times, and been late once or twice. She started in January or February, so to me, that’s not stellar.
However, her boss – the Customer Service Manager – doesn’t seem to mind. And, knowing how much a stickler for punctuality the CSM is, I can only assume the new employee has cleared these things with the CSM as they came up, or beforehand.
But when I took my stroll past her desk today, I heard her on the phone. I was on my may to my own shoe box in the cube farm, and I have all our original team members set up on my phone by name. So I saw the light from her extension glowing while she spoke. That means her line was in use; she was talking on her business line.
To a family member. About something which wasn’t business.
Now, this happens a lot. Well, a fair amount. I use the phone once in a while because the reception on our cell phones in this section of the building is dicey at best. But almost no one else does this – all of the CSRs, when they have a personal matter, use their personal phones.
She has no problem picking up the phone and using it. Or having her personal contacts call her on that line. And for some reason, that sticks in my craw.
Because of the herculean efforts of people like our Operations Manager (my boss), the CSM, my own contributions, at least one other CSR who gave freely of her time, and the other order entry person, we have finally caught up to the work load. But the second OE person is staying late most every night to make sure we stay caught up, while this new person leaves on time every day.
No one can force her to stay and work overtime. She’s not obligated to do so. She’s doing her assigned job, and working her agreed-upon schedule. So I have nothing to say to her about any of it.
But I’m looking at the dedication and hard work of the other people in our group, and the workloads they’re shouldering, and I’m starting to wonder if this person was hired because they offer the best option, the best benefit, to our team…or if there’s another reason for the hire.
As a temp, she showed organizational skills and put together documentation and work instructions. Doing so won her accolades from the CSM. Now, she seems to fumble along, and some of the other habits she had begin to fray around the edges under the light of closer scrutiny.
For example, she could turn her chair around and chat. Sometimes for twenty minutes, a half hour. She’s occupying not only her time, but someone else’s too. While it’s true no one’s being held at gunpoint to talk to her, the fact that she’s willing to do that – supposedly knowing our situation here – seems telling.
She’s also the person who did the quality assurance on our order entry prior to submission to our manufacturing divisions. The process is, someone from OE would enter the order from printed, stamped, and reviewed customer purchase orders. The orders sit in “Pending” status until a Submit button is clicked to release them across to the manufacturing divisions.
But the person entering the orders doesn’t release them. That job falls to another person – one who compares the customer PO to the entered order. Mistakes are flagged and corrected, but the person making the mistakes is dinged for them. The mistakes count against them because they fall into a category called Cost of Quality. How much does it cost us when a mistake is made? So we endeavor to catch the mistakes.
When the new person came aboard last August as a temp, she took a role in which she did the QA portion. The orders were printed and entered by someone who has since been released. I blogged about this when it happened. Part of the problem is, he made a lot of mistakes and just…couldn’t pull it together. And this person – the new person, who was a temp then – caught those mistakes, flagged them, and basically ratted the OE person out.
But now, he’s not here to offer the underlying support. Part of me is wondering if she looked like a superhero because she stood on his throat to elevate herself. And how does she look now? How many mistakes is she making now? (And while I did the QA portion of this job for OE during the stressful shorthanded time, I found a few as well, from everyone, including my boss.) And who is policing her?
Now, the one thing that chaffs my hide here is the use of the phone. If she was stealing pens or paper, or printing party invitations on our color copier, no one would hesitate to call her on the carpet. But because it’s a phone call, she’s not being watched. I just happen to sit in a place where I can hear those calls.
And in her defense, they aren’t long calls, and it isn’t going on all day the way it does for some people. But those people – and I’m thinking specifically of the CSM here, whose kids call her every day, multiple times a day, on her business line – often work until 7 or 8PM, and they’re here before their required hours, filling the gaps, working to keep up with what’s on their plate.
And so I sit, and I ponder.
I want this person to succeed. I want her to do well. We need the help. And the CSM seems to have taken to her as a personal friend. So…is that the reason for the broad leeway?
Things that make you go “hm.”
If my boss were as big a nitpicker as I am, I’d have quit by now. So I try to get my head into my own business and forget what’s going on around me.
And hope I never have a boss like me.
Happy Friday, y’all.