You Really Couldn’t Manage This

, , , , , | Working | February 22, 2021

I’m a manager. One of the other managers pulls me to one side and begs me to talk to one of my team members. Apparently, he has been applying to every job available and then harassing the manager for updates. The problem is that he is not suitable for any of them; the guy barely manages to do his own job and is only still employed because he has been here for so long.

I go to speak to him and he is clearly in a bad mood already.

Me: “Can I speak to you about your recent job applications?”

Worker: “Can you tell [Manager] to respond to my emails? It’s been days and I haven’t heard anything.”

Me: “Okay. One: it takes weeks to interview and get back to everyone. And two: it’s human resources, not [Manager], that will give you a response.”

Worker: “Oh, I should be chasing HR. I knew it would be that woman somehow. She doesn’t like me.”

Me: *Already regretting this* “No, don’t do that. She will send all the responses out at the end. Can we talk about the roles you applied for?”

Worker: “I don’t see what business that is of yours.”

I’m screaming internally for him to shut up and let me help.

Me: “No, but I would like to help. You applied for several management positions—”

Worker: “Yeah, I could do that. I mean, you only walk around. Seems easy.”

Me: *Swearing internally* “That’s not the only thing we do. Do you have any experience in management or managing people?”

Worker: “Well, no, but I get along with everyone.”

He does not; people find him aggressive and difficult.

Me: “Okay, well, just something to think about — if that is really suitable given your experience. I see you have applied to a number of design roles, as well.”

Worker: “Yeah, yeah, drag, drop, copy, and paste. I can do all that.”

Me: “Have you used [Design Software] before?”

Worker: “Well, no, but I get all my reporting done right.”

He does not, in fact, get it right. After many attempts to help him, we long abandoned using his Excel reports due to the many, many mistakes. A grandmother working a few stations past him does it for us without problems.

Me: “Listen. These roles are not for you. But we can sit down and work out what we can do to progress you. I invited you to a development session next month.”

Worker: “Yeah, I suppose so.”

He did not turn up to the session but called in sick, apparently bedridden. But he was later spotted shopping in the supermarket right next to work at lunchtime. He stopped to chat with several employees, not expecting anyone to say anything. I left the company years after; he never got a promotion. Managing people is hard work sometimes.

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