My immediate boss came up to my office today and we talked.
This post is going to go poof in a couple hours. For the purposes of this story, I will call my immediate boss Frank. First, I thanked him for offering to come up and meet with me once a week, that I wanted to utilize him as much as I could and was grateful for any guidance he can give, told him how important my job is to me, that it was very disappointing to hear that that hasn’t come across, and apologized.
Frank then told me that a major issue that his boss (who I will call Chris), the one who delivered the chewing out to me, is that he gets hyper critical and tends to explode on people. Frank says that Chris has basically ripped him a new one multiple times to the point that he was in tears, yet Frank has been promoted twice, and Chris almost always comes to him the next day and apologizes for his behavior. Which is interesting, because I’m in mental health and Chris is a therapist. Without going into detail for doxxing risk, we work with a population that has a lot of trauma, and Chris is a member of this population and has some of this commonly associated trauma. Which makes him prone to explosive anger apparently. Frank says that Chris sees his own clinicians for his own issues, as you’re really supposed to as a MH professional to ensure you’re healthy enough to work in the field... but that this is continually an issue, and Frank has had to learn to watch out for his moods and avoid him when he’s on edge. Ok.
Another piece of this: At the satellite office, our org shares a building with several other resources. There have been some setup and IT issues that became really drawn out as they are apt to do. One of them was getting a phone in my office- I’d had to use one of the other therapist’s work issued cell phone for the first three weeks. Now, one of the operations managers (let’s call her Dee) at our satellite office building has been kinda prickly and hard to get ahold of. She’s rarely in the building and never has time or availability to talk when she is there, but I was told she was my point of contact for questions about my office. Example of an interaction I had with her on the first day:
Me: “Hi, thanks so much for welcoming our org here, we really appreciate it! I was curious about the cooling system, if I should get a window unit or if we could turn the air down a bit on my side.” (five separate people had complained about it being burning hot in my office, it was 107 degrees outside that day and probably somewhere around 85-88 in my office, facing direct sunlight.)
Dee: “The air conditioning is on. I really don’t know why you’re saying it’s not cool over here.”
Me: “Oh, ok.” (in my head: ?????????????)
Dee: “There’s a desk fan somewhere in the remote storage closet, but you need to dig it out and put the pieces together.”
Me: “Oh...that’s alright, I think I have a fan at home, but thank you.”
Dee: “I’ll write down that you need the cooling people to make sure the ac is running. Don’t expect it this week.”
Me: “Okay!” (smiling, but hearing the Kill Bill sirens in my head, wondering if I’m bleeding from the eyeballs)
Anyway. Dee was the one that I guess received the package that included my company ordered phone. I came in one morning VERY briefly, like 3 minutes to grab my laptop and run, before having to drive 50 minutes for a meeting downtown. She shoved the phone in my hands and told me I needed to get it off her desk. Okay. I took the phone and told her I had to leave right then, but I’d look for her to see about set up the next day. Next day comes, she doesn’t come in. Thursday comes, and I walk around the corner to go find her, and walk in on her telling the IT person at the main office that she gave me the phone but that she didn’t know why I wasn’t making the time to get it set up. Cue internal screaming.
IT person tells HR. HR tells Chris. Chris rips me a new asshole. Here we are.
I told Frank my side of the story. He says that he believes me and told Chris that Dee’s telling did not at all mesh with what he has known about me since I started and how I have conducted myself at work. Basically, a game of middle school telephone got me my ass handed to me, and no one stopped to seek me out and ask me about it. Maybe I should have called Frank right after I heard Dee throwing me under the bus, I don’t know. I had no reason to believe it was going to go this far, and I didn’t feel comfortable seeming like I was preemptively throwing another person under the bus.
I told Frank that in the future I really needed feedback earlier from him, and that I welcome comments or constructive criticism or anything that can help me learn from him. I said that the meeting on Tuesday had been a shock to me, I hadn’t seen it coming and I wanted to do whatever I could to increase communication between us to avoid anything like that in the future. Frank says that Chris felt bad sometime after the discussion because he realized a lot of these issues arose from the poor level of training I’d gotten before being moved to the satellite office. Frank said today that he recognized that I’d essentially gotten NO training before being placed here and that he wanted to help me as much as he could. He also said that he has been happy having me and is pleased with my work so far.
FWIW, I’ve also busted my ass the past two days essentially showing what I can do and asking a lot of questions, and have kept in constant contact with Frank about all of it, so he knows I am going above and beyond. I’ve signed up for three outreach events, did 4 hours of phone networking, scheduled 6 new people, finished 10 charts, in two days. Apparently Chris also asked one of my satellite office coworkers (Bill) what he thought about me, and Bill told him that I’m great, a hard worker, easy to get along with, and a great fit with him and the other therapist. So there’s that.
This is what I know right now:
I make a very respectable living at this job for it being my first out of school. The benefits are great. The amount of PTO is great (three weeks the first year). It’s in my chosen field and will prepare me for grad school. I make my own schedule. I pay next to nothing for my insurance. I get a week off paid at Christmas. I like working with Bill and the other therapist. I have my own office. It’s 5 minutes from my home. The other admin staff at the satellite office, minus turd-ass Dee, are very welcoming and friendly and helpful. I do believe Frank is a good guy who is just stumbling now that he is a newly promoted supervisor, and that he wants to help me and heard what I had to say today. I only have to see Chris once a week for maybe 5 minutes, if that, unless there is a meeting in which case there are minimum 15 other people there. Same for the IT person who decided to run with all that drama (who, I got some extra warning, is kind of a hound for that crap). Frank is basically my point of contact.
My guard is definitely up and I am staying on my toes. I’m going to talk about it in therapy tomorrow. I’m also going to implement the idea that someone suggested to me in a comment in my last post, of having a weekly plan that I will email to Frank so he can correct it or give feedback as needed.
Sorry for the freaking novel. I had a lot to get off my chest apparently.
TL,DR: a lot of tuesday’s shitstorm amounted to office politics and drama, I spoke up to my boss and he was very receptive and encouraging, I still think this is overall a good gig when weighing pros and cons but I’m definitely going to keep my cards close to my chest and be careful and diligent.