I received a message from someone who wanted to meet with me in person to share their story. Coffee plus a bad work story?! I'm so there! Of course, I'd love to meet with you! We sat, drank coffee and chatted. We shared our work stories ripe with sadness. Then I remembered I was there to talk about THEIR job. So I shut up and just listened.
This one is a little different than some of the things I've heard. What if you found yourself in a game of monkey in the middle at the office? What if you were getting crap from both sides? On one side, the team of people you manage whine, complain and go to HR on you.
OYour manager thinks you need to give them more of what they want, but then won't give you the freedom or resources to do that. What do you do?? Unfortunately, this person arrives and leaves work everyday with a migraine! Not ideal, obviously.
At first, I figured it can't be that bad. Wrong! Then I thought they themselves must be doing something to the people on their team to make them act that way. Wrong again! I asked every question I could think of to try to uncover "the real Story", what this person was doing to cause all of this craziness.
I just couldn't imagine why these people are constantly complaining if there wasn't something this person is saying or something, anything that would justify the level of ridiculousness that's apparently going on in this place. I tried desperately to discover it. But all I could come up with is that this person's team is the biggest bunch of PAID losers I've heard of in a long time!
And this person's manager is a complete airhead who has no freakin' clue as to what the hell they're doing and probably shouldn't be in management!
Now, the question for me was where is all this misery coming from? Ok, so the job is in the burbs instead of being in the city. Aren't most jobs in the burbs these days? And, some of these people have problems at home. Who doesn't?
Also, the position pays less than 50k a year. So what? Does that make it so awful? So, I figured the problem must be the job itself. It's really difficult and there are tight deadlines. Nope, these folks shuffle paper and do data entry all day.
So, they must be bored, right? That's the problem, they need more responsibility. Wrong again, they only want to do the job exactly as it is, but lose the paper shuffling part and just keep the data entry.
I got it, they are being micro-managed? Bingo, they are. But, because they are spending most of their workday complaining, work is not being completed in a timely manner. I asked what would happen if they just left them to do their work without this person following up with them many times throughout the day.
The answer was, the completion of work would be even slower. In that case, what other choice do they have other than to micro-manage?
So, I started thinking, what's left to do with the people at work if you've already tried to talk to, reason with, bribe and finally threaten your team as a last resort to motivate them to do their jobs and stop acting like a bunch of babies. Especially when, on the other side, your manager keeps asking you to appease your team with things that your manager either won't approve or can't actually do? I lacked any words of advice. The best I could do was offer a few words of encouragement "I hope you find another job soon". And, I really hope they do!
I found this article "How Do You Lead when No One Wants To Follow" on CNN that might offer some help as to how to get your team on board.
Have you been the "monkey in the middle" at your job? I certainly hope not! But if you have, you are not alone. Now, if you're like me, you just started to sing "You Are Not Alone" by Michael Jackson in your head. So, I'll leave you now to continue singing until next time.
Happy Tuesday everyone! And, as usual, have a GREAT day at work! Or, at the very least, don't do anything that will get you fired and/or arrested!
The Working Poor
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