Wednesday, November 30, 2011

the copy paper story

Several months ago there was a meeting at work where all the managers got together and basically went around said what work they didn’t have time for anymore and they divided it amongst the non-managers. I suppose I can understand that but, among other things, I was handed work that a coworker and non-manager, who I make more money than, apparently “didn’t have time for”. This work in question was updating the employee phone directory, a 25 name list that gets updated once every few months when someone leaves. The point is that it doesn’t happen very often and updating it takes a few minutes. To say that this person didn’t have the time to do that so they passed it to me is more symbolic than anything. It’s symbolic of them not respecting me and placing her on a higher podium than I. I told you that story so you can understand my mindset at the start of this story. I feel like the low man on the totem pole, like the office peon.

A while later there was another all manager meeting where the subject of copy paper was brought up. The front office worker who kindly brought up boxes of copy paper from the basement was leaving and there needed to be someone to take his place. ManagerA, who I dislike for a few reasons, says well James refills the copy paper in the hallway printers so he should do it. The GM said if I was available and going down there anyway I could bring up a couple extra boxes for the front office, even though I don’t even work in there, I have a separate office down the hall.

So ManagerA left the meeting thinking that it was now my job and it was her job to tell me every time the copy paper gets low. The GM did not mean this whatsoever. I was never told of this because my boss understood what the GM was getting at, that it isn’t my job but I would do it if I had the time. So a while goes by and the copy paper gets low and ManagerA sends an "I’m better than you and you’re not doing your job(bringing up boxes of copy paper) so I’m going to email you, your boss and the GM to tell them that you are not doing your job" email which I took immediate offense to for multiple reasons.

I went right to my boss and told him about the email and he figured out what happened with ManagerA misunderstanding the GMs statement. He explained to her that this isn’t my job and that was that. MangerB who actually has a cubicle in the front office decides to be nice and get the copy paper boxes this time. The next time the paper gets low she emails just me to tell me to refill it. I got pissed, told my boss and deleted the email. A day or two later she emails me and CCs my boss and the GM again to say I wasn’t doing my job. When that email came through I walked off the job. I told my boss I can’t deal with her crap and thankfully he understood and let me go without any repercussions.

The next day I get called into the GMs office to explain the situation. He completely sides with me and says ManagerA had no right stepping in. He explained I’m not some peon and that I’m a well-respected and valued member of the staff, but to this day I still feel like the office peon. The GM has a talk with ManagerA and tells her she has no right stepping in and everything calms down until a month later. Then the night audit person sends an all staff email and CCs me saying “To whom it may concern…” stating that the copy paper supply is getting low and someone needs to restock it (CCing me means he wants me to do it). I went right to the GM with this and he told the night audit to not send those emails.

A couple days later the night audit sends another all staff email about paper, I get pissed, the GM gets pissed, and he is written up. He sends an apology email to me saying he didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings and was just trying to help. This all goes away for a while until yesterday. It was a wicked busy day and I was in the front office to work on a few problems when a wicked nice coworker stops me and asks if I could bring some paper up. She is so nice and asked nicely enough that I told her I would do it when I had time since I was super busy. A couple hours later ManagerA sends another email about the paper to me, CCing my boss, the GM and the nice coworker who asked me earlier. Yeah I was pissed again. At least this time she said she brought up a few reams but it wouldn’t last so she wanted me to bring some more up. I’m shocked she did that little…

So that brings me to this morning. I get another email from the extremely nice coworker who asks if I could bring a couple boxes of paper up because they were running low. After all these emails I’m still pissed about the situation. I’m not pissed that I have to get the paper. I’m pissed about not only the tone of everyone when they ask me and who stuck their head into this mess when they had no business doing so, but also about what this really means. This all means I am some low level employee that people *cough* ManagerA can boss around, and after 5 years I still have very little respect and no way to advance in the company.

Some people will say that I should just do it and shut up. Some of you will be thinking that I should be happy having a job. Let me tell you that first off having a job that you absolutely hate some days just sucks. And by the way, my wife lost her job earlier this year. We went for a long time without her income and nearly lost everything. I know how hard it is. And now because of this economy I might have to live thousands of miles away from my wife until further notice because we can’t afford to lose my income. But hey, life is hard and I’m making the most of it.

Thank you for listening to my ranting. I will now go back to finishing my regularly scheduled post SPOILERS it’s about telling my best friend…

1 comment:

  1. This is a shocking story.
    And of course i still miss some details. But it is positive that your direct manager and the GM are completly on your side. The most shocking part that even after the GM repeatedly corrected her on her mistake that Manager A is still trying to make you responsible for the paper task.
    What i would have done yesterday, or at least this morning, after another mail of her (wich she cc'ed to your manager and the GM) to walk to her and in a very calm voice remind her that the GM (and correct me, if his word is not the final word) told her that copy paper is not your task.
    Directly ask her to keep herself from making any connections between you and copy paper for the future.
    You do not want to loose the job, i don't want either, and this limits us all in the tone we can use to express our feelings and handle confrontations in work space, but a serious tone that just states the fact that you are not about to make fun is ok. You had repeated backing by people superior to both of you. You will not start a fight with Manager A, but if i were you....I would not mind looking her in the eye and saying "Remember that it is not my job"
    I would even tell her several times and allow the information to sink in