Friday, June 8, 2012

Go Team Go

My stay-cation has been restful, however not very exciting.  I have been doing a lot of sleeping, some shopping, socializing, and that's about it.  Pleasant times, but nothing substantial.

I've been checking my e-mail every morning and working from home around an hour each day, in order to keep some time-sensitive projects on track.  There are some meetings that I'm going to be attending when I go back to work, and I need to talk to my boss about how we're going to approach them.

My workplace is divided into regular staff and fancy professionals.  The regular staff is there to provide services to the professionals, so that the professionals can make money, and pay their overhead fees, which cover the staff's payroll.

My boss's approach for many years was:  The professionals are the geese that lay the golden eggs.  Give them whatever they ask for to keep them happy.  They are not employees, so we can't order them around.  They could go work elsewhere if they chose to.  If they are demanding, so be it.  If the staff don't like it we can also go work elsewhere if we choose to.

As of the past few months, things have changed.  For reasons which I won't get into, the company can't afford to give the professionals everything they want anymore.  The professionals, who are used to being asked "how high sir?" when they tell us to jump, aren't happy with this.  And my boss is not feeling sympathetic.

I can see the professionals' point of view.  They're used to receiving a certain level of service for their overheads, and no one consulted them about a change in the unwritten contract.

I can see my boss's point of view.  Times are tough, and everyone is having to buckle their belts one notch tighter.

The problem is that my boss appears to want to fight things out with the professionals. He's frustrated because they don't want to change.   He's tired of placating them and giving in.  But instead of approaching things assertively, he's gotten aggressive with some of them.  And he's encouraging the staff to do the same.  When an employee "takes a stand" or "holds her ground" in a conflict with a professional, he's on the employee's side, cheering and waving pom-poms.  And everyone's getting into it.

It feels like living on a reality TV set, where everyone is encouraged to take sides and dig in their heels for a good, sweaty struggle.  Some people are enjoying the juiciness of the drama.  The employees are understandably gleeful at getting a chance to tell off the professionals.  The professionals are not going to take this lying down.

People.  Keep your shirts on.  Has anyone ever heard of the phrase "solution-oriented problem solving?"  Say it with me!  There, I knew you could.

There is nothing to be gained from the type of confrontations I've witnessed thus far.  Fighting fire with fire is only going to burn down the office.  There must be a way for us to converse about the situation as mature, reasonable adults, yes?  Fortunately my boss is open to strategizing with me on possible approaches to these confrontations before we stage any more of them.

I don't like reality shows on TV.  I certainly don't like the feeling that I'm living and working in one.


DarcKnyt said...

Wow. That's pretty amazing. It reminds me, in a strange way, of the fight ongoing between the publishing industry and writers. For years, writers have been victimized and taken advantage of; now they have choices they can make and if they choose to move away from traditional publishing, there won't be anything left to publish.

I love the statement you made about fighting fire with fire. I realize the professionals think they're above the staff and entitled to royal treatment, but isn't there some room for improvement from both sides?

I can't wait to see how you resolve this one!

Warped Mind of Ron said...

I say you sneak into the Professionals homes and take a beloved pet. The the Professionals have to act more reasonable.... or else.

Jameil said...

Ugh. I can't stand drama. And it's so easy to get sucked in even when you don't want to be. Even if it's just having to listen to other people's foolishness. Also what part of the game is working on vacation? Yuck.

Granny Annie said...

Something is wrong if you have to work during vacation. Surely you can just leave it all alone and the drama will still be there for you when you return. I never like to hear of people working during a well-earned break.

Sparkling Red said...

DarcKnyt: Respect is a two-way street. Each side has to prove that they're willing to listen to the other and find some common ground in order to solve these problems.

Ron: Some of them don't have pets, but they do have young children. I'm afraid that if I take their babies hostage they'll be so happy to have a free nanny service that they won't try to get them back. I'll be stuck changing diapers until I give up.

Jameil: I wish I could have avoided it, but there's too much at stake. We can't open our new location until the telecommunications are up and running, and every day that we pay rent on the premises without earning income is a big deal. It was this or not take a vacation. Also, more on the subject in my reply to Granny Annie, next:

Granny Annie: I sure do hear ya, but... 1) see my response to Jameil, above, and 2) it evens out in the end, because I sometimes take time off during work weeks and don't get any dollars taken off my paycheque. If I want the flexibility to leave early without a penalty, I also need to be flexible enough to work from home sometimes, when it's reasonable to do so.

Jenski said...

Good luck with the solution-oriented problem solving! Hopefully you can get everyone to back up again and come to an understanding about the resources you have.

Tracy Makara said...

Too much drama for me! Sounds pretty bad. Hope things mellow out soon. :)

DarcsFalcon said...

I can certainly see how that would make work very uncomfortable, for everyone involved. I'm with you on the find a better way deal. I also know you're up for that challenge and will find the way to make it work out to everyone's advantage.

And after that, maybe your boss will give you a raise. :)

LL Cool Joe said...

This is why I dj. Honestly I just couldn't handle all the drama. I get enough of that with the kids.