So this will go poof, since its pretty doxxy, but I’m looking for some professional advice right now.
I work on the project management team for a small global health NGO that has recently gone through a lot of upheaval. (like, over half the staff left in the last year.) I was part of a new wave of hires, about 4 months ago, along with several people at the director level of my department.
Basically, the way the department is set up, there is the project management team that actively does the day to day work of managing the programs in the field, and the directors who provide leadership, technical oversight, guidance, and all that high level jazz.
Part of the idea of the new hires, both at my level, and at the top, is to make the department more technically minded and more effective, both of which being things that desperately need to happen. However, there has been a lot of tension between the project management folks and leadership over the new course of things, with the managers feeling that the newly hired leadership doesn’t appreciate what the team does all day, and isn’t really taking their perspectives and experience into account. Leadership also is extremely defensive, and I frankly feel like the managers have a lot of justification for feeling frustrated, but I also feel a bit caught in the middle, as the new hire.
This is all context for what happened 2 weeks ago, when I met with the senior director about something completely unrelated. Now, it’s kind of general knowledge that I have way too much work on my plate. It’s sort of complicated as to why, but its been a work in progress and I’ve been pretty stressed. The senior director brought up the issue of my workload, and basically insinuated that one of the two people I work with most closely must not be pulling their weight, and asked me twice to say which person.
Now these two people are: a. someone on my level, who works her ass off, is here till 7 or 8 most nights, and is generally deeply deeply committed. The second person is my supervisor, who is someone I like a lot and who actually has pretty good work life balance. While there have been some real frustrations around just how absentee she’s been about certain things, in general she’s been there when I need her, and it’s a work in progress.
But basically, when put on the spot by the director and asked point blank, essentially to choose, I was honest that she’s been absent, but tried to stress that we are working through it as a team. (I also was pretty pissed when I left that the director had put me on the spot like that. She has a history of doing things like this, and I find it a much more egregious management issue than anything my supervisor isn’t doing.)
Now, last week-both my supervisor and the director were traveling. So, I decided to leave it alone, but planned when they came back that I would just try to causally reemphasize to the director that things are getting better, and that my supervisor is working hard on that. It also sounded like the director was going to check in with me about this after vacation, so I didn’t think she was going to take any direct action.
However, today the director pulled my supervisor in for a closed door meeting, with her and another director. I don’t know for sure what they discussed, but when they left, my supervisor was visibly upset, and was making some comments in another meeting that made me think it was likely a conversation about this.
I feel terribly guilty about all of this. I think honestly, that the director already didn’t like my supervisor, and was looking for ammunition, and I hate that I feel like I gave that to her.
I feel resentful that I feel like I was pushed into the position of throwing my supervisor under the bus. I am sure I could have handled that situation more gracefully, but I really really do not like the idea of being in the middle of office drama, and I feel like I’ve been thrown there.
I am also worried about what this will do to my relationship with my supervisor. However, I don’t actually know 100% sure, a. if this actually was what they talked about and b. if my name was actually dropped. (However knowing this director, I feel like it’s likely!)
Thoughts, GT hive mind? I was really hoping this would die away and I could just find opportunities to be vocally supportive of the my supervisor in front of the director. Do you think I should bring this up with my supervisor? If so...how?