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Thread: Peers training me instruct me to do bad things, don't know how to handle it

  1. #1

    Peers training me instruct me to do bad things, don't know how to handle it

    Hello, I've never really had this problem before, and I'm not sure how to handle it.

    I started a new job roughly 3 months ago. The work isn't so much difficult, but it's very complex work that requires remembering many things, and doing many different things everyday, and doing everything just right.

    The way training works at this company, is that nobody is officially in charge of training me. Instead, I am just supposed to learn as I go, and all of my peers are supposed to advise and train me as things come up in our daily situations and tasks.

    I've been able to get the hang of most of it so far, however an issue I keep running into is my peers telling me to do bad things. In some cases it's just them instructing me to do things that management has said not to do, or telling me not to do things that management has said I should do, or several peers all telling me to do things differently and insisting that the others are wrong.

    Most of the time I just try to be very passive, wait for the peer to get distracted and then try to do things the right way. Some of my peers get very pushy though and will take over my computer, like physically, and then command me to finish something they have made changes to, or they will not let me do something for myself, and will get very irritable with me when I want to do it myself (do it the way management has said they want it done). There have been multiple occasions when I just did as a peer instructed, and then later I was informed I did it wrong, by another peer.

    This past week a manager who rarely interacts with me but was in the building that day pointed out to me that I was making a mistake. I explained that I was doing exactly as one of my peers had taught me to do, but I expressed that I was confused, and that this was happening a lot, sometimes in front of clients, too. I wasn't arguing with this manager, but just explaining that these issues are stressing me out.

    The manager's reaction was like she felt defensive. She told me that she would gets on everyone's case if they do things wrong, not just me. But that wasn't the point I was trying to address, which is that everyone keeps telling me to do things differently, and sometimes when I know they are telling me to do something the wrong way. She kept her defensive attitude and never addressed my real concern. She acted as though I was having an outburst or something, and at the end of the conversation she just told me to do it her way, as though I had been arguing against doing it her way, which is not what I was actually saying.

    Halfway through this exchange, one of my peers had wandered over and was listening in. They joined the conversation and basically accused me of me just being confused, and then proceeded to lecture me about my alleged confusion. The manager and my peer never actually spoke to each other, they just took turns speaking at me. It was very weird honestly.

    Days later this same week, one of my peers wanted me to process an order for a client, but only charge them for half of the items.

    This peer knows full well that this is unacceptable, even I know that this is unacceptable. She spoke to the client letting him know that he would only have to pay for half, while I was processing the order.

    The client was very happy to hear it, and started instructing me to add more items to the order, since he would not have to pay for all of it.

    The worst part is even my own fault, as I was so anxious with both of them talking at me expecting me to do this, that my stupid brain tried to neutralize the situation by processing payment for 75% of the items, so it wouldn't be "as bad" as half.

    I probably just should have refused to process the order, but in the moment I also was afraid of trying to talk to that manager again, and I was afraid of getting into a confrontation with my peer in front of the client, plus with the client siding with my peer, which is has happened before multiple times now, but over other things. This was the first time a peer basically instructed me to rob the company on someone else's behalf.

    Still it was my fault that I processed it at 75% of the items. Now it just looks like I did that willy nilly for no reason.

    I want to be more assertive going forward, but I don't know how honestly. I don't know what to say in situations like that. I'm already looking for another job because it's stressing me out, but I'm not sure when I'll get another job offer, could be weeks, could be months, and I need an income right now.

    Does anyone here have experience handling situations like this with a good outcome? Or at least how to try to handle it as best someone can?

    For another example of what I mean, a different peer and I were working together not long ago when I was doing something I had been taught to do, and the way I was supposed to do it (allegedly, I never really know at this point). The peer kept trying to persuade me that I didn't need to do the task at all. Not just do it differently, but not at all. I tried to smooth it over as best I could by explaining that well management had said we should do this task, and so I should probably do it, just to be safe. The peer decided he would do half the task himself, and I could do the other portion of the task. But then he refused to do his portion, and he didn't want me doing it, either. I tried to bring this up with a manager (different one from the other one) and tried to be light hearted and not accusatory but still express my confusion over the whole matter. This manager wasn't defensive, but his solution was just that from now on, I should just make sure to do that task by myself. He seemed to think it was funny.

    This is very weird right? I have never encountered anything like this before, and I am in my mid 30s. It is not a huge company, but not exactly tiny. There are maybe 40 employees total I would guess. I know sometimes smaller businesses can have some weird work cultures, but this seems over the top strange.

  2. #2
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    In any work place there are always exceptions to the rule.
    Maybe your peer was correct in charging 50% in that instance.
    You deciding to go 75% was wrong.

    Also are you not understanding the exception to the rule and applying the exception when the rule should apply?
    And then saying a peer told you do do that , when actually they didnít but only told you to do that in that one incidence?

    Do you ask questions at the time when someone instructs you as to why if it doesnít follow the rule?
    And are you understanding their response?

  3. #3
    Originally Posted by Billie28
    In any work place there are always exceptions to the rule.
    Maybe your peer was correct in charging 50% in that instance.
    You deciding to go 75% was wrong.

    Also are you not understanding the exception to the rule and applying the exception when the rule should apply?
    And then saying a peer told you do do that , when actually they didnít but only told you to do that in that one incidence?

    Do you ask questions at the time when someone instructs you as to why if it doesnít follow the rule?
    And are you understanding their response?

    There have been several times I have tried to ask why I am being instructed to do something differently from how a manager or another peer told me to do it. I get different explanations at different times from different peers.

    Some of the examples have included:

    - They explain to me that the other peer is stupid / ignorant / poorly trained themself / other flaws (in this type of case it feels like office politics, and I just feel very awkward and don't know how to respond honestly)
    - They explain that they think the rule from management is a bad rule, sometimes with a further explanation on why they feel that way, and that therefore nobody really follows it (in this type of case I get very nervous because sometimes a manager will get upset when I caved into peer pressure to not follow a rule, but they do not address my peers, only me, and my peers really do not have to follow the rule, which makes me feel frustrated and confused)
    - They explain that it's a certain circumstance (in these cases I will feel like I am learning in the moment, but most of the time it results in another peer or a manager telling me I did it wrong, as an example, from one peer "do X only in this situation" yet from another peer "never do X, no matter what" and from yet another peer "no, you can do X, but in a situation like this, not like that other one" and so on

    At the end of the day I am frequently getting criticized for just doing what I was told to do. It's just different people telling me different things. Nobody is officially in charge. I initially expressed my concern to management because I perceived them as being in charge, but the way management works is that they want me to defer to my peers, who have been training me, but do not address that my peers often tell me to do stuff that management then gets mad about. I feel like it's impossible to do what is "right" when I don't know what is right.

    With the 50% off thing, that is another example. One of my peers had instructed me that we do not have to charge for everything on an order, in certain situations. So I followed their lead and mimicked their decision making process on when to not charge for everything. A week and half into this, thinking everything was fine in this regard, a manager observed me doing this and took me aside to speak to me privately once the client had left. The manager told me to ALWAYS charge for EVERYTHING. I explained that my peer who had been training me the most around that time told me not to charge for everything in certain situations. The manager shook their head "no" and said always charge for everything. I expressed wanting to know what to do when my peers want me to not charge for everything, and the manager didn't give me a real answer, they just kept explaining that I should always charge for everything. This is what I mean when I say that I knew it was unacceptable to not charge for 50% off of the items, as this is what the manager had explicitly instructed to me. That is why I wish I had just refused to process the order at all, rather than doing the "not as bad approach" which was just bad judgement because I was anxious.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    It would be best to get your resume together and updated and start looking for other positions. You don't like the job, the coworkers, the management or the work culture.

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  6. #5
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    If your manager says charge 100% every time then why are YOU making a decision to charge 75%?
    Not one person told you to do that!!!

    Someone told you do charge 50%. Perhaps there was a good reason to do so. But there was never a good reason to go 75?

    Why are you doing what you want when you want? And then complaining about peers?

    If you want to discuss this with management then bring up exact examples including those where you made up your own mind what to do which went against all management and peers! And ask them what you should have done?

  7. #6
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    Look, honestly from reading everything you've said, I do think you've made the right decision to start looking for another job. This workplace sounds like a complete nightmare! I've had some bad jobs but this is really something else! For one thing, I don't actually think that the way this workplace runs is very productive and it sounds very unprofessional.

    Whenever I was new at a job, I either had to attend training session(s) run by managers or qualified trainers. Or I was trained just on my own by a manager or I actually did online training modules that were developed by the company. I've had so many jobs in my life and in none of them (even the bad ones) was it left just to all the other staff to train me. I mean, of course as a new person I would sometimes ask my colleagues questions and they would help, but this is after I'd already done official training provided by management/trainers. Also usually the workplaces I've been at had a culture of asking the managers for help, not your colleagues. You would only ask your colleagues if the manager was busy or wasn't there.

    I think that for one thing, it puts too much pressure on your co-workers to have to spend all this time teaching a new person. And they don't get paid anything extra for that, right? It sounds like the manager is completely unapproachable, because not only do they not show you anything, but you tried talking to her about some issues and all she did was get defensive. So that just tells you that if you ever have any other issues, she will not be understanding or helpful.

    I personally see nothing positive about this job, only negative. My only advice while you're still there is to do as managers tell you, not other staff. The managers are higher up so that's who you need to listen to. Also can you access company policies or can you request to get copies of company policies? I would say read the official policies and then behave as it says there. They can't tell you off if you're just following what is written in those official documents. But yeah definitely try to get out of that job ASAP.

  8. #7
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    Iím I guess being devils advocate here only because currently in my workplace we hired someone about 6 months ago to do a pretty menial job.
    Every single time she is corrected about her procedure etc she automatically says x person told her to do it that way. Which we know to be untrue because x person doesnít do it that way themself?
    This is an assistant job , no there is no one else in that role so, no, there isnít someone looking over her shoulder.
    Itís a job that others fulfill as an extra part of work when the job is vacant.

    Some jobs are like that. And should not need that much training.

    Perhaps OP, itís just not the job for you?

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    Originally Posted by Billie28
    Iím I guess being devils advocate here only because currently in my workplace we hired someone about 6 months ago to do a pretty menial job.
    Every single time she is corrected about her procedure etc she automatically says x person told her to do it that way. Which we know to be untrue because x person doesnít do it that way themself?
    This is an assistant job , no there is no one else in that role so, no, there isnít someone looking over her shoulder.
    Itís a job that others fulfill as an extra part of work when the job is vacant.

    Some jobs are like that. And should not need that much training.

    Perhaps OP, itís just not the job for you?
    Well, I guess whether you should receive official training or not also depends on whether you are really familiar with how to do the role or not. I've been working in exactly the same role for six years and have been at a few different jobs, but always doing the same thing. So they don't really train me anymore because I know how to do the work. But still, if I needed a bit of training or I was doing something wrong, then I would be approached by the manager about it. Whether you get much training or not, I still think it's very unprofessional that it's not management, but other equal staff that train new people in this job. They are not a manager so why should they have any authority to tell the new person off, especially as it sounds like many of them are just expressing their own opinions and not following company protocol. Usually when you're new you would also be given a code of conduct and policies and procedures. Or at least you would be told where to access any company documents, e.g. they might be on the company database. If someone was hired for a job, that means management thought they were competent for the role. But if the person has not received any training and has no idea what they're doing then yeah I would say the company is at fault.

  10. #9
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    Originally Posted by PurplePotato
    Hello, I've never really had this problem before, and I'm not sure how to handle it.

    I started a new job roughly 3 months ago. The work isn't so much difficult, but it's very complex work that requires remembering many things, and doing many different things everyday, and doing everything just right.

    The way training works at this company, is that nobody is officially in charge of training me. Instead, I am just supposed to learn as I go, and all of my peers are supposed to advise and train me as things come up in our daily situations and tasks.

    I've been able to get the hang of most of it so far, however an issue I keep running into is my peers telling me to do bad things. In some cases it's just them instructing me to do things that management has said not to do, or telling me not to do things that management has said I should do, or several peers all telling me to do things differently and insisting that the others are wrong.

    Most of the time I just try to be very passive, wait for the peer to get distracted and then try to do things the right way. Some of my peers get very pushy though and will take over my computer, like physically, and then command me to finish something they have made changes to, or they will not let me do something for myself, and will get very irritable with me when I want to do it myself (do it the way management has said they want it done). There have been multiple occasions when I just did as a peer instructed, and then later I was informed I did it wrong, by another peer.

    This past week a manager who rarely interacts with me but was in the building that day pointed out to me that I was making a mistake. I explained that I was doing exactly as one of my peers had taught me to do, but I expressed that I was confused, and that this was happening a lot, sometimes in front of clients, too. I wasn't arguing with this manager, but just explaining that these issues are stressing me out.

    The manager's reaction was like she felt defensive. She told me that she would gets on everyone's case if they do things wrong, not just me. But that wasn't the point I was trying to address, which is that everyone keeps telling me to do things differently, and sometimes when I know they are telling me to do something the wrong way. She kept her defensive attitude and never addressed my real concern. She acted as though I was having an outburst or something, and at the end of the conversation she just told me to do it her way, as though I had been arguing against doing it her way, which is not what I was actually saying.

    Halfway through this exchange, one of my peers had wandered over and was listening in. They joined the conversation and basically accused me of me just being confused, and then proceeded to lecture me about my alleged confusion. The manager and my peer never actually spoke to each other, they just took turns speaking at me. It was very weird honestly.

    Days later this same week, one of my peers wanted me to process an order for a client, but only charge them for half of the items.

    This peer knows full well that this is unacceptable, even I know that this is unacceptable. She spoke to the client letting him know that he would only have to pay for half, while I was processing the order.

    The client was very happy to hear it, and started instructing me to add more items to the order, since he would not have to pay for all of it.


    The worst part is even my own fault, as I was so anxious with both of them talking at me expecting me to do this, that my stupid brain tried to neutralize the situation by processing payment for 75% of the items, so it wouldn't be "as bad" as half.

    I probably just should have refused to process the order, but in the moment I also was afraid of trying to talk to that manager again, and I was afraid of getting into a confrontation with my peer in front of the client, plus with the client siding with my peer, which is has happened before multiple times now, but over other things. This was the first time a peer basically instructed me to rob the company on someone else's behalf.

    Still it was my fault that I processed it at 75% of the items. Now it just looks like I did that willy nilly for no reason.

    I want to be more assertive going forward, but I don't know how honestly. I don't know what to say in situations like that. I'm already looking for another job because it's stressing me out, but I'm not sure when I'll get another job offer, could be weeks, could be months, and I need an income right now.

    Does anyone here have experience handling situations like this with a good outcome? Or at least how to try to handle it as best someone can?

    For another example of what I mean, a different peer and I were working together not long ago when I was doing something I had been taught to do, and the way I was supposed to do it (allegedly, I never really know at this point). The peer kept trying to persuade me that I didn't need to do the task at all. Not just do it differently, but not at all. I tried to smooth it over as best I could by explaining that well management had said we should do this task, and so I should probably do it, just to be safe. The peer decided he would do half the task himself, and I could do the other portion of the task. But then he refused to do his portion, and he didn't want me doing it, either. I tried to bring this up with a manager (different one from the other one) and tried to be light hearted and not accusatory but still express my confusion over the whole matter. This manager wasn't defensive, but his solution was just that from now on, I should just make sure to do that task by myself. He seemed to think it was funny.

    This is very weird right? I have never encountered anything like this before, and I am in my mid 30s. It is not a huge company, but not exactly tiny. There are maybe 40 employees total I would guess. I know sometimes smaller businesses can have some weird work cultures, but this seems over the top strange.
    Why are all of these people interfering?

    Have you considered looking for a better job. This place sounds really screwed up.

  11. #10
    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    It would be best to get your resume together and updated and start looking for other positions. You don't like the job, the coworkers, the management or the work culture.
    Yes I agree, I am already actively looking for another job. I am just not sure how to handle this sort of situation in the meantime. I have honestly never encountered anything like this before. I'm not sure what to do or say in these situations.

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