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Job conflict

ducttapeenthusiastducttapeenthusiast Registered User regular
edited November 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Reading the thread about the 40 hour work week got me to thinking about my own situation at work, and how it really doesn't seem right.

I've encountered the concept of the imaginary 40 hour work week, but in a slightly different sense. When I started my job, the managers and HR people that led the company new hire seminars all spoke about how important it is to separate life at work from life at home, and how the company strives to hold true to the 40 hour work week. I've even had my own manager speak to me about how I'm only paid for 40 hours, and to try not to go overboard.

The problem comes in with one of the guys who's been with my department for several years and holds a senior position in the group. He works 55-60 hours each week on average, and constantly complains that myself and the other two new guys in our group aren't working hard enough. Since he's been with the group longer than even our manager has, I understand that he has a better grasp on the projects we're responsible for, but since he's the senior experienced professional, part of his job is dividing up work for us new guys to take care of. He doesn't do that.

At this point, I don't have enough work to really justify a full 8 hours of work each day. I've done my best to fill in the gaps when I can, and it's gotten to the point that I have to slow my pace just so I can have something to do all day. I've asked the senior guy for more projects, and all he tells me is that my current project is more important. A specific example of this in action was when I was given the "more important" spiel, I cranked up to my comfortable pace and finished the work. When I went to tell him I finished so I could get more work, he told me "Oh, we're scheduled to meet for your update on this project on Friday, we'll talk about it on Friday". This was the end of the day on a Wednesday; he scheduled the meeting after I spoke to him.

That's just the start of it. This guy watches me like a hawk and reports every little thing he can find to our manager. For example, I can go months without being late, then one day I get in 15 minutes late, with notice, and I get an email from my manager talking about how people have been reporting me getting in late regularly. I've also been reported for browsing the internet while I was on my break.

The one thing he's giving me the most trouble with though, is the time I put on the clock. I've been told that even though we're fully allowed to do so, and I have no problems doing so, I can't take a 30 minute break. I HAVE to report an hour because it's IMPOSSIBLE to eat in 30 minutes, and he's taken a stance that if I report a 30 minute break, I'm lying. I don't always take half hour breaks, and I report the time accordingly if I run longer. I also regularly get lectured about leaving before 5 PM, even if I'm at 45 hours, it's Friday and I have no appointments or obligations after 4. I could get in at 6:30 in the morning and I'd still be asked where I'm going if I try to leave a minute before 5. Of course all of this gets mangled and sent off to my manager as misconduct. I've never been under 40 hours, I've never missed a deadline, and my manager brags about my work to other departments, I don't know what to think. This all conflicts with everything the company, and even my manager told me when I first got hired. Something seems fishy.

I have approached this guy about this crap, and he tries to say that it's all part of working and that I have to get used to it, but I don't want to believe that. One step I have taken is to CC my manager on EVERY piece of communication I have with this guy, and he's not been able to get away with this crap as much, but I think it's only causing him to get more creative, and I think it's working toward something bigger. This stuff has already made it onto my performance review, so I can't help but feel sabotaged. I can't just rat him out to my manager because she thinks he's a saint. How should I handle this situation?

Sorry for the unorganized brain dump, this is hard for even me to wrap my head around.

ducttapeenthusiast on

Posts

  • WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular
    My recommendation?
    Contact Human Resources and explain the problem..and that you feel like your exit is being engineered by your boss.
    Find a new job.
    Leave and in your exit interview cite your manager as the only reason you're leaving.

  • ihmmyihmmy Registered User regular
    I would definitely let HR and/or your boss know what's up with this coworker who's being such a pain. If you can, document document document. I realize a lot of it is hearsay, and when you give HR/boss a heads up on the situation you'll have to work hard on just laying out the facts and taking out as much emotion as you can. If it were me, I would basically just set the point of the meeting up as an fyi-type meeting - you're not looking for them to take any sort of punitive action against him, you just want to make sure they're aware of the friction between the two of you and that a lot of the reports of your imperfect behaviour are coming as a result of this friction.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Explain to HR the issues. Pretty much say exactly verbatim what you told us here, write it down if you have to and go over it with them.

    You'll probably just be moved to a different department or he will. If you can get your co-workers to go to, all the more they'll believe you, just make sure you go separately. Senior positions are probably getting paid for it and they probably don't hassle him about overtime either. So it makes sense for him to put in 60 hours to his mind.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Not giving you the work you asked for is the giveaway. He's trying, rather amateurishly, to set you up to fail.

    CCing your manager in is exactly the correct tactic. For shit like your hours, break times, etc, you need to clarify with your manager who has the line of authority here: this guy or your manager. If it's this guy, then you'll probably have to suck it up and follow his rules. If it's your manager, then ever so politely and properly, and with your manager present, ask this guy to butt out.

  • ToxTox I kill threads he/himRegistered User regular
    edited November 2011
    I have approached this guy about this crap, and he tries to say that it's all part of working and that I have to get used to it, but I don't want to believe that.

    There is, like, a fraction of a truth to this. Part of working is dealing with an asshole boss, or more traditionally, a senior coworker who's been doing this for years and years and thinks you young punks have it easy and rides your ass all day. It is something you should have exposure to, imho, and that you should at least try to learn to cope with, for future's sake.

    That said, report this guy to HR. He's telling you to do things that are in direct conflict with company policy as explained to you by HR.

    But yeah, it doesn't really hurt that you're learning to deal with this type, because you won't always work for a company that is as receptive and genuine about workplace hours and the like, and learning to deal with a jerk who is a pseudo-peer, pseudo-supervisor is a good life skill to develop.

    Tox on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    The guy is toxic, report him and your concerns to HR, don't "deal with it." I'd say confront him directly but if you have an HR department this is what they're there for.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • LeptonLepton Registered User regular
    Frankly, I think the man's a petty dictator. You know the type, they get a little authority, and they can't help but use it to make other people miserable.
    An option nobody's mentioned, since your manager thinks you do good work, you could try to apply for another position in the company, something not under this guy's direct supervision, particularly if you like working there.

  • ducttapeenthusiastducttapeenthusiast Registered User regular
    Lepton wrote:
    Frankly, I think the man's a petty dictator. You know the type, they get a little authority, and they can't help but use it to make other people miserable.
    An option nobody's mentioned, since your manager thinks you do good work, you could try to apply for another position in the company, something not under this guy's direct supervision, particularly if you like working there.

    This is kind of what I'm leaning toward. I definitely enjoy the work when I can get it, my manager is great, and the company is great. I looked into it and I'll be eligible to department hop in about 6 months. Thanks for the advice!

  • KatarineKatarine Registered User
    I totally recommend department hopping if you can and you enjoy the company, but I would still say that reporting this guy's behavior to HR is also something you should do. Not just because he's a zealous despot to you, but because this means he's more than likely the same with the other individuals he oversees, and that even after you hop over to another department he'll be exactly the same to whoever takes your place.

    Talk to HR. Is there a string of turn over in your department? It might be possible that this guy is the reason. If you're worried about being some sort of tattletale: don't be. You could always just say that you're feeling like you're not being challenged enough and that every attempt to be given more work to do has been met with resistance. This guy is hindering you from excelling at work, that is not okay in any circumstances!

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  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    He thinks he should be manager. CC your manager on everything and ask your manager for more work. He's going to try to pin failure on you. Unless he's your direct supervisor, he can't really tell you to do shit, especially if he won't give you more work. Next time you finish early, ask for more work via email with your manager cc'd.
    This isn't your problem to solve, it's yours to avoid. The reason he spends 55-60 hours there is because he wants work to be his life and he's concerning himself too much with the conduct of others. Take the "watch you like a hawk" out of the equation and he only needs to work 40.

  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    Dwight Schrute is your co-worker.

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