Putting The List Into Listening

, , , , , , | Working | June 9, 2017

(Everyone in our office has a daily quota of calls we need to make. Because we are often very busy with other tasks, if one of us is falling behind that day others who are less busy will help each other reach their quota.)

Supervisor: *recently promoted* “Hey, [Coworker] is behind on her calls and is helping some volunteers right now. I need you to help with her calls.”

Me: “I actually spoke with her 20 minutes ago and am helping with her list right now.”

Supervisor: “Whatever you are working on isn’t a priority right now. You already finished your calls today and she needs help.”

Me: “Yeah, I’m doing that. This is her list I’m calling through right now.”

Supervisor: “I didn’t ask for excuses. Go get a list from [Coworker] and help her out. End of discussion!”

(That supervisor oversaw three different offices and interestingly enough whichever one she was physically in at the time always ended up with the worst production that day.)

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  • Katrin Schirmer

    and here we see the definition of refusing to listen.

  • Shauna Mac Siacais Guell

    This is when I’d start getting snappy. “I AM helping my coworker and doing her list!! I’ve been telling you that!” And I’d fight any kind of write-up I got.

    • Difdi

      And you’d get one no matter what you did — either insubordination for refusing the nonsensical order, or insubordination for obeying it and not working on the coworker’s list, or insubordination for disobeying it and continuing to work on the coworker’s list.

  • Catherine Stone

    Her ears seem to be broken…

  • I just read that bad managers are the no. 1 reason people quit their jobs (not wages or lack of benefits, etc.). No surprise there.

    • Earthstone

      Agreed. I’d also posit that a good manager can get people to stay on despite overwork or bad corporate leadership. … That’s certainly where I’m at. I’d have left my job long ago but my manager is so great, supportive, and hardworking that I put up with all the crap corporate drops on us rather than looking elsewhere.

    • I’ve seen it written as “people don’t quit jobs. They quit managers.”

    • Sethala

      Having been at the same job for a pretty long time (enough to see several managers come and go), and been close to quitting myself, I can certainly agree with this. The biggest reason why I like or hate my job is because of who I’m working for.

  • Gretchen

    That’s when you shove the list in the manager’s face and tell them to shut the F up and listen. If you are not afraid, of course.

  • Max

    “No, I wanted you to START helping her with her calls. The fact that you were already doing it doesn’t matter. This is insubordination!”

    • Difdi

      So, throw all your progress in the trash bin and start helping her. She won’t make quota, but it won’t be your fault.

  • Stephen

    Time and Motion study needed. Time, for the time wasted, and motion, for the amount of s*** the supervisor talks

  • anitoo

    Managing up fail. Stop telling her you’re working through that list. Instead, you say “Okay, I’ll go do that now.”

    Stop your calls for a moment, head over to co-worker and say “I’m here so she sees me following directions. You making any headway? I hear ya, okay, back to work for me.” and go back to making calls. With the list prominently in front of you.

    • Banjooie Banjo

      Do you all see this? This is how you handle this situation.

    • ChaotixRocker

      AKA: Just make them happy and at least fake it!

  • Darth Pseudonym

    Please take yes for an answer!

  • Vyrmis

    How pointy is her hair?

    • Dana Corby

      Vyrmis, I love the “Dilbert” reference!

  • allahboleh

    Whenever layoffs are being discussed, first consider the levels of management in your organization. Then restructure to remove as many as possible. Prioritize the people who actually accomplish work relevant to the company’s core activities.

    • Difdi

      You’d think so, it makes sense to do that.

      But the people making the decisions are managers, and they KNOW their management is crucial to the company’s success, so they cut the less important jobs first — manufacturing workers, warehouse workers, sales staff. You know, the people who make what the company sells, the people who make sure the logistics work out and the people who actually sell it.

      It rarely works like the business schools (also operated by managers) say it will. So obviously the cuts weren’t comprehensive enough, and more need to be made. In the end, only when there aren’t any actually productive workers to fire, do managers start losing their jobs.

      And when the company is bankrupt and out of business, the managers there right to the bitter end lament about how an awesome business could have been saved, if only they had cut its heart out sooner and quicker.

  • Shatteredstar

    Those who know what they are doing don’t become managers often, they can’t rise to the proper level of incompetence.

    • Powers

      You appear to be misunderstanding the Peter Principle.

      The supervisor in this situation probably was quite good at his or her job, which was making calls and doing whatever other work keeps them from making calls. So he or she gets promoted, because that’s what you do with good employees. Never mind that he or she is apparently incompetent at supervisory tasks; the employer had no way to know that ahead of time.

      But now the employee is in a position for which he or she is not qualified. What do you do? A demotion? That’s insulting and could result in the employee leaving. So you leave him or her there and blame his or her underlings for any problems.

  • Clay

    Me: “Banjo guggenheim walla walla ptang tweedledee.”
    Supervisor: “Stop arguing with me and just do it!”

  • bananibal

    Guess that production quota must be suffering from all the time wasted on trying to teach her how to actually understand English.

  • Kitty

    Apparently, the promotion process includes getting your eardrums stabbed.

  • decius

    “Sure. I’ll start on that twenty minutes ago.”

  • Nora Miller

    I used to “pay lip service” to my supervisors. I’d agree with whatever they said then continue on with what I was doing. That is, if it was a scenario like this one. If I was told to do something else, well….

    • Clint

      Just smiling and nodding and goes a loooooooooooong way.

  • Denton Young

    Time to report to supervisor’s boss that supervisor badly needs a hearing-aid.

  • Ricardo Segovia Inostroza

    Bad manners and all, but a simple “Will do” would’ve sufficed. Sometimes it is better to agree to something that you are already doing, than to fight or explain why you are doing it.

  • sacke5

    – “I didn’t ask for excuses. Go get a list from [Coworker] and help her out. End of discussion!”

    – “I think you should go and see the ear specialist, because your ears are so full of earwax you don’t hear that I AM ALREADY DOING THE LIST. So shut up and let me do my work!”