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Thread: Not sure if I am making a big deal or not with coworker...

  1. #1
    Bronze Member LootieTootie's Avatar
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    Not sure if I am making a big deal or not with coworker...

    Hi Everyone,
    So I am a regular lurker on here and sometimes chime here and there, but this is the first time I need some perspective.

    I thought about bringing this up to my tiny circle of people, but I know they will tell me to be patient or let it go. However these are also people who are conflict avoidance and have this view that if you think just a small bit about work outside of work, there's something wrong with your priorities.

    I like to think me and my coworkers are all friends. Recently one of my coworkers, let's call her T, got promoted to be our Manager (we have 2 managers). One of my other coworkers, let's name him M, took over T's old duties. M & T are real close but not romantic or anything. I was told by our head honcho (CEO) that with the transitions and changes, more opportunities and responsibilities will be available for me. I assumed that meant I would take over some of M's duties since I'm next in seniority and I have had nothing but high praises from Management and head honcho since I started working there 4 years ago.

    M put out a meeting two weeks ago for the team to meet up, excluding Managers and head honcho. This meeting he said he was here to help us all grow and train us. M was always the report guru for our team. I pulled reports too but mine are not as comprehensive as his.

    *To give you an idea, we deal with millions of monies daily and tracking of those funds. So reporting is extremely important and M pulls the big reports- which are monthly, quarterly and annual. In addition, he's the only one who really knows how to create these big reports and put functions and formulas in it (we use a reporting application system not excel). My report, were always ad-hoc reports and brief but I would always export them to excel and scrub it from there to get my numbers - which always matched up with his.

    Any way back to the meeting he said his goal is to train us and if we show we can do the reports he's been doing, he was willing to give them away. He said we would have these training every Tuesday for an hour. I got the impression that it was going to be a competition to see who can do the reports and do it right would get his duties. Any way I guess I kind of went along with it thinking yea I can do this because I have more experience in running reports than the rest (except for M.)

    Since that meeting happened two weeks ago, he has been report training only one of my coworkers every day. This coworker is also a close friend of M & T. Today he asked me to come over to his desk while he was training her, and I noticed he was training her how to do monthly and quarterly reports. I was confused but not surprise. For two weeks he has been training only her and no one has said anything. I had this gnawing feeling he was grooming her to take over his duties... and yes, I've been acting like it's no bother. I am one of those people who don't like work drama so I try to keep my thoughts to myself to keep the peace.

    But now... I guess I am at the point of what do I do? Or should I still do nothing at all and let it go?

    I feel that if I bring this up to T, T is bias and will have her friends back. Also as a new manager, she may not feel up to tackling her first issue - which sadly would be a complaint from me. So I thought maybe I should bring this up to our other Manager.

    However if I bring it up to the other Manager, what do I say or ask? That I am bothered that M is training only one coworker and not the rest of us? it makes me sound jealous and insecure and truly I am neither of those things.

    Or should I not jump in to any conclusions and wait for my next meeting with Management (will be in 3 weeks) to talk about the potential of new responsibilities? But I feel that if I wait, to them it may mean I don't want the new responsibilities as much as the coworker who has been getting one on one trainings.

    Any way I can really use some perspective and maybe if anyone can share similar experiences in how they handled a similar work situation. What you did or/and would do different?

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    Yes, sounds annoying. But may I ask - is there any particular reason why you want M's responsibilities or reporting duties in the first place? It doesn't sound like reports are your forte. You may be shooting yourself in the foot. I'm just putting this out there - have you considered your other strengths at the company and improving what you already do best (whatever that may be)?

    From what I'm hearing, M's methods sound a bit ridiculous and unprofessional at the start (his screening methods) and he sounds a bit full of himself. It seems more like a beauty pageant than a training session. Let him do as he pleases and get his kicks. The end result, however he wants to prance around on stage, is that his responsibilities will have to transfer to another individual. You should keep building your rapport with your "head honcho" and focus on the things you are good at, create and devise better systems in your own way and request other opportunities or more responsibilities that you may be more interested in.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Andrina's Avatar
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    If I were in your shoes, I'd ask to meet M in his office, and then ask for clarification. I'd say: I should have spoken up at the meeting for clarification, because I'm not sure if I'm making a false assumption. Are we each getting a set amount of training hours and then you'll decide who has been the most successful, like a competition?

    Then listen to his answer.

    If you're more senior than the other co-workers besides those above you, and you believe you're the best candidate for those extra responsibilities, then turning a blind eye to favoritism will make you a doormat, and that's what you'll be treated as.

    Yeah, it's hard or awkward to stand up for yourself in instances like this, but try not to care about rocking the boat when they are the ones who created the need for you to speak up. If there is a reason you're being overlooked, maybe he has an explanation for this.

    I think it's better to start at the source of the problem, the person who you have an issue with, first. If you don't get the answers you want from him, then you can continue going up the chain of command. I wouldn't make that leap before speaking to M, which will really piss him off that you've gone behind his back to report this. If you have to go to T and she takes his side, you can go higher. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

  4. #4
    Bronze Member LootieTootie's Avatar
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    Thanks Rose & Adriana.

    Rose, you may be right... Maybe numbers are not my thing for the company. I know that when I do pull numbers for the Exec Team, they're always right - all the time. They use my numbers for PR release. I get requests every week to pull those ad-hoc reports and it's always for something different. They're just not as comprehensive as M, which takes up a lot of gb.

    I've also thought about the other things you pointed out... maybe I should focus on other strengths. However I am more on "projects" so when there are no projects or I am at a standstill with a stakeholder, I don't have much to do. It can get pretty busy for me but that doesn't mean I can't take on more. I also want to move up the ladder so I need more experience. Thought about doing contracts for our office, but the coworker who M is training was hired for that special reason. Because she had extensive experience in contract management. So now I am thinking policy and legislation but that means I need to train myself not to fall asleep reading legislative bills.

    Andrina, I spoke up in the meeting that I would like to do more comprehensive reports specifically monthly and quarterly :| Yep I did.
    I even told my managers this in my one on two meeting. I honestly feel that if I was to ask M, he would not give me a straight answer. He's good at deflecting and it doesn't help that everyone sees no wrong with him. I really don't want to go to T because T will tell M and M will gossip about it to the whole team.

    Since I got hired on, I always felt that M was competing with me. He used to do the ad-hoc reports I am doing now. However because his duties became too much, they told him to just focus on the comprehensive reports and train me on the basics of pulling reports. He was reluctant to train me, and he said it was because I was too new. 4 years now I've been doing these requests, and my turnaround time is a lot faster than his. So I am wondering if he isn't training me because he doesn't want me to do the comprehensive reports because I will process them faster?

    Any way, I am still undecided if I should say something or not... but you both did give me things to think about. Maybe there's a legitimate reason why I am being overlooked. Maybe I need to build on my other strengths. Maybe it's time to take a stand. Maybe all the above.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    I'd avoid making assumptions, so I'd avoid running straight to management based on assumptions. Part of promotability is owning reasonable enough communication skills to resolve questions with peers on your own. I'd consider involving management to be an escalation of a problem that I can't solve rather than a first step in ANYthing.

    I'd ask M when he might have a few minutes for you to ask some questions. This allows him to invite you into his workspace or to come to you when he's free, so you're not catching him at a bad time. My approach would be curious, not furious. I'd tell M that I was happy to hear that he's offering training on report runs, and I'd like to know whether I can either sit in on his sessions with HerName, or whether I can get on his calendar for the training also.

    Then hear what he says. He may have been directed to train this person to take over the task while he trains others.

    I'd also consider that M is moving 'up' FROM running reports, which means that reporting is considered a lower level support task. So while it may be a a nice skill to learn, it's not exactly a reflection on you if you're not selected as the support person for reports.

    Head high, and don't overthink yourself into an issue that may not really be an issue.

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    So just to clarify -it's not clear to me - do you want this added responsibility on its own or do you want it more now because it's a competition and because your ego is a bit bruised watching him train someone else?
    From what you wrote you and M are not the best match to work together. He was reluctant to train you to because you were "too new" -what does that even mean -isn't training for new people? If he does train you will you still have to work with him for a time as you transition - and if so does that sound like a good experience for you? If M is told to stop training the other coworker and switch to you given the back story do you think it will be awkward?

  8. #7
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Sounds a bit like you are missing the forest for the trees. You are way too focused on what is really a low level skill set you could train yourself how to do if you wanted to. It won't get you promotions. Open your eyes - people connections within the company is what gets you ahead. T got promoted and pulled M as a pal, M is pulling his pal as next in line. Welcome to office politics everywhere.

    If you are great at doing reports, you'll do that job until you retire and yes, managers will praise your skills....'cause they need them and you are useful like that.

    When you find yourself in a situation where you are outside that loop, you have three options - figure out how to get into the loop, if you can't, become best pals with higher ups, if that's not possible, do what most people do - move up by switching jobs into a new company.

  9. #8
    Gold Member East4's Avatar
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    OP, you could talk to the other colleagues who were attending the meeting with M where the transfer of the reporting task was explained, because it concerns all of you. If they share your concern, then you all go to your head honcho and explain the situation. It is up to honcho to see with M. And you are not taking unnecessary risk of being the only wistle-blower. The disadvantage is that it will take more time to coordinate with the other colleagues, and that they may chicken and not go to the big boss.

    Second option you do it solo by writing a very polite e-mail by recalling what was explained at the task transfer meeting and that you got the impression that a specific collegue is at the advantage of more training than all the other candidates for the task. You put on Cc all the other collegues that could be trained, T and head honcho. It is better to put these things in writing, because words could be twisted when refering to conversations later on. Also, if you have a private chat with M, then he would know that you are on his case, and depending on what person he is, he might take a pre-emptive strike by talking negatively of you to T or big boss.

    So, to sum up, either you enlist the collaboration of the other collegues concerned (option 1); or (option 2) you put it all in writing and in Cc the bosses (T and honcho), the e-mail should be very polite and constructive, focusing on the benefit for the company of having equally trained staff.

    I hope this helps.

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    Originally Posted by LootieTootie
    Thanks Rose & Adriana.

    Maybe there's a legitimate reason why I am being overlooked. Maybe I need to build on my other strengths. Maybe it's time to take a stand. Maybe all the above.
    Your thought process and how you approach this situation is different than what I would expect in a job. This job isn't a relationship where you wait for the guy to ask you out. You tell the job what you are looking for. You see yourself as an independent contractor willing to work for the best employer. You ask your employer to invest in you to make you better to give a better return on their investment. As such you can go to your manager and tell them that you would like to be promoted and you need to know what is needed to make that happen. If you want the training for the reports you go up to M and tell him you see he's offering personal training for another employee and you would like to be included. The goal here is not a competition for the same job, the goal is an opportunity to gain skills that will either allow you to gain a position here in your current group, a different group within the company, or another company entirely.

    The main thing though, stop waiting for people to promote you, go ask for that promotion and ask them what it takes to get one. Ask for the training, show what you've being doing and argue why you'd be good for the job. If they don't know you're interested they won't come and ask you if you'd like training or if you'd like to be promoted. Once you stop being passive about this then all this guessing as to what is M doing or what is someone else doing goes away. For all you know, M's friend asked be promoted and asked for those personal lessons.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by LootieTootie
    Any way back to the meeting he said his goal is to train us and if we show we can do the reports he's been doing, he was willing to give them away. He said we would have these training every Tuesday for an hour. I got the impression that it was going to be a competition to see who can do the reports and do it right would get his duties. Any way I guess I kind of went along with it thinking yea I can do this because I have more experience in running reports than the rest (except for M.)

    Since that meeting happened two weeks ago, he has been report training only one of my coworkers every day. This coworker is also a close friend of M & T. Today he asked me to come over to his desk while he was training her, and I noticed he was training her how to do monthly and quarterly reports. I was confused but not surprise. For two weeks he has been training only her and no one has said anything.
    Is it possible that this coworker is the only one who approached him after that meeting and expressed interest in learning these reports? You say you assumed it was a competition, and I'm a little unclear on that--do you mean that you assumed that M would select the person/people to be trained based on your individual performance, and that it wasn't an opportunity for you to come forward and request to be trained?

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