07 Sep
Take This Job And…Shove It?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

When have you been at a job long enough to stand up for yourself? I have three very difficult people I work with; they blame others for their mistakes and make sure to point out when someone else messes up.

I believe in taking responsibility for my mistakes and learning from them. But there are many times when my co-workers or boss blame me for things I didn’t do. If I replied that I didn’t do it, my boss would suggest I was just trying to pass the blame so I started simply taking it. I thought it would be easier. Only now I’m really tired of it.

I’m certainly not the type person to roll over and take things but I’ve been a stay at home mom for a while and I’m unsure of how things work in the world.

Signed,

Wishing I Were Out To Lunch

__________________________________________________________

Dear WIWOTL,

I should warn you that once upon a time I had a certain mean supervisor and during one of his many bullying sessions I actually said: “Some day I’m going to be stinkin’ rich just so I can come back, find out where you work, buy the company, and fire your ass.”* Thankfully, this was a waitressing job in high school that had nothing whatsoever to do with my later career as an art historian, where I also might have told a few folks where to stick it, just with much bigger words. Maybe. Or the same words. Who can remember?

It seems to me that you have confused yourself into believing that the work-world is somehow much different than the toddler-preschooler-grade-schooler world you’ve been living in. This is absolutely not the case!  You know those whining, screaming, tantrum-throwing beings you’ve just spent all your good years waiting on hand and foot? Well, these folks are the same just much MUCH older and definitely not as cute.

It’s time to use those superhuman powers that only mothering can give you:

  • The Glare of Death:
  • The “I Know What You Did” Headshake combined with The “Very Disappointed in You” Tsk-Tsk
  • The “I’m Patiently Waiting and Listening” Raised Eyebrows and Forced Smile
  • The Firm Rebuttal with Exact Recall of Incident

(I have a feeling our readers could add quite a few to this list!)

If these don’t force the perpetrators either to confess or throw themselves into a Time Out in a hail of tears, then perhaps it’s time to have a frank discussion with your boss. Make sure to be humble but firm when speaking with him/her, make clear everyone’s expectations and lay out your responsibilities and those of your co-workers. There’s also the 21st century blessing of email confirmation, e.g. “Dear Co-worker, I’m just confirming that for this project you will be doing x, y, and z while my portion will entail 1, 2, and 3.”

Good Luck,

Tonya, TMH

*Jonathan, I still haven’t forgotten about you. I have a lottery ticket with your name on it! Jerk.

10 Responses to “Take This Job And…Shove It?”

09.07.11#1

Comment by Aubrey Anne.

Bravo! Perfect advice again. Grown ups are nothin’ but little kids all grown up. Stand up to their bully asses and show them what’s fair.

09.07.11#2

Comment by Cate8.

Thanks!!! Totally forgot about my ‘mom’ superpowers….

09.07.11#3

Comment by Tinne from T and T.

I use the same voice of forced calm on my idiot coworkers as on my toddler, works like magic.
Once you get used to the idea that a manager is basically a big toddler your office life improves drastically.

09.07.11#4

Comment by GhostMom01.

My advice is document, document, document.

Yes, the business world is very much like the toddler-eat-toddler world. I almost expect to see my co-workers squatting in the corners to mark their territory.

My fellow co-workers use email to have entire conversations (really, ENTIRE conversations). This affords a chance to document that I’ve told someone something or they’ve admitted something. Have this documentation ready to nicely send back to them after they’ve accused you of something. If you don’t have a real reason, concoct a reason to send it back them … and cc your boss and their boss. Or, at the very least, have the documents available to provide to your boss at review time.

09.07.11#5

Comment by Brattus Rattus.

After working for over 22 years with the government I can honestly tell you to document (as listed above) and don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard. If you didn’t do something and get the blame, tell the boss and try to do it in earshot of everyone, “I will always admit my mistakes. This is not one of those times.”

At least in my world, the looks you give people don’t mean anything. In my world (of government) it will be viewed as harassment.

Good luck to you and if you work anywhere even close to where I do, invest in vodka.

< :3 )~~~~~~~

09.07.11#6

Comment by Plano Mom.

The only time you should accept responsibility for the mistakes of your coworkers is if they are not your coworkers but your subordinates.

With that said, document as said before, and be sure and avoid reacting to accusations with more accusations. Simply say “That is not my mistake, it was not my responsibility, and if you like I’ll be happy to prove it to you.” Anything reactionary will simply label you as one of them.

09.07.11#7

Comment by Kelley.

I love the e-mail confirmation idea. Also, you made a great point about her co-workers not being cute. Ha!

09.07.11#8

Comment by Amy W.

I have been in several situations like that in the workforce. Either other women in the office felt threatened by me & the “go getter” attitude I had & how (sincerely) well I did my job & liked it. Or I had men who treated me as though I were a dumb blond (I’m a blond but NOT dumb) and took credit for my ideas & hard work. So, I started documenting EVERYTHING and cc’d other coworkers to make sure I wasn’t going to get screwed.
Good luck to you!

09.07.11#9

Comment by N and Em's mom.

Take some mental control. All the above advice is great, but also think about the next job. Concentrate on completing tasks, learn things that will look great on your resume, identify 2 or three people that you work with that are trustworthy, likeable and would make great references and cultivate relationships with them. Knowing that you are moving toward the edge of the ship and there is a life raft waiting for you will give you power. You get to decide when to jump.

Wendi Reply:

Love this advice.

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