Help with work situation!

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Thank you all for your responses.

Today, they didn't talk about it. Apparently,my boss said jokingly to the team leader "you can stop being nervous,I got you off the phone list". She said this laughing! My other coworker heard this and was pissed.

Apparently she thinks this is a joke.

SpiderL , that is what I would to too, but they actually want us to sit at the reception desk, not just forward the calls.

I am so sad, I can't stop crying.

I guess my other teammates are waiting for someone else to speak first en masse.
My company is the kind of company where the owners ask people to bring them lunch and drinks. I have been there 5 years and the owner only asked me once the first few weeks I was working there. I banged the coke on his desk and he never asked me again! He told me to buy something for myself (he gave me money from his pocket). They only ask certain people ( usually the lower paid employees). Not that that is right,but I guess they only ask the people who see nothing wrong with it or won't complain. Yes, they are evil.

I will update on what happens tomorrow.
Curious then, why do you still want to work for them? They sound like *******s. I co-oped for a company like that. The owner didn't treat me badly but he did to the receptionist and another engineer there. Is the job market bad where you are? I believe you are in an IT field which is usually easier to move around in than other fields.

It's really odd for someone to give you money and tell you to buy a treat for yourself like a child.
Thank you all for your responses.

Today, they didn't talk about it. Apparently,my boss said jokingly to the team leader "you can stop being nervous,I got you off the phone list". She said this laughing! My other coworker heard this and was pissed.

Apparently she thinks this is a joke.

SpiderL , that is what I would to too, but they actually want us to sit at the reception desk, not just forward the calls.

I am so sad, I can't stop crying.

I guess my other teammates are waiting for someone else to speak first en masse.
My company is the kind of company where the owners ask people to bring them lunch and drinks. I have been there 5 years and the owner only asked me once the first few weeks I was working there. I banged the coke on his desk and he never asked me again! He told me to buy something for myself (he gave me money from his pocket). They only ask certain people ( usually the lower paid employees). Not that that is right,but I guess they only ask the people who see nothing wrong with it or won't complain. Yes, they are evil.

I will update on what happens tomorrow.
Originally Posted by violets
If I felt my participation was something really needed by the organization and would benefit the organization, I would do it. Occasionally. But I would.

But if I felt it was unnecesary or that I was being targeted unfairly to take this duty on, I would just say I was in the midde of something when they came around asking for me.

So there is no other person there in a SUPPORT STAFF roe who can answer the phone, fwd calls and take messages?

But like they say...sometimes you do things you have to do so you can do things you want to do.
scrills likes this.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG


Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 01-08-2013 at 08:31 AM.
I worked for a small company where the owners at times were stuck on phone calls through lunch and would ask someone who didn't have an immediate deadline coming up to get them food, and provide money for that person to get themselves food as well. It was nice because we would have been willing to pick something up for them anyway without them paying for our food, too.

When the admins were out picking up supplies, sick or whatever, we would fill in answering the phones. Because there were incoming service calls they had to be answered.

Rather than being insulted, we all felt it was part of chipping in to get what needed done. Certainly had getting lunch or answering phones kept us from doing our own jobs we would have explained to the owner that it was interfering and been exempt from requests, and there were times that was the case for everyone.


I think there's an attitude problem in the office, whether it's yours or that of the bosses. I don't think being asked to chip in with answering phones is a problem at all.
rileyb, scrills, wild~hair and 3 others like this.
The pews never miss a sermon but that doesn't get them one step closer to Heaven.
-Speckla

But at least the pews never attend yoga!
I worked for a small company where the owners at times were stuck on phone calls through lunch and would ask someone who didn't have an immediate deadline coming up to get them food, and provide money for that person to get themselves food as well. It was nice because we would have been willing to pick something up for them anyway without them paying for our food, too.

When the admins were out picking up supplies, sick or whatever, we would fill in answering the phones. Because there were incoming service calls they had to be answered.

Rather than being insulted, we all felt it was part of chipping in to get what needed done. Certainly had getting lunch or answering phones kept us from doing our own jobs we would have explained to the owner that it was interfering and been exempt from requests, and there were times that was the case for everyone.


I think there's an attitude problem in the office, whether it's yours or that of the bosses. I don't think being asked to chip in with answering phones is a problem at all.
Originally Posted by NetG
I agree with NetG - I am a VP/Director level and I would pitch in and answer the phones or sit at the reception desk if it was needed so the receptionist could get a break. I am not sure why you see it as so degrading - those jobs are important jobs too, I am not above doing needed tasks at work. I'm not going to fetch dry cleaning or coffee for people because those are personal errands, but I'll answer phones, make copies, get supplies, etc.

If you are a senior member of the team and feel that this is not the most effective way to handle this situation then handle it in a professional manner and put together your own proposal for who should provide coverage and what the schedule should be and present it to the team in charge along with the reasons why your plan will save money, better optimize skillsets or more evenly distribute the burden amongst a larger pool of people. I understand being annoyed or ticked off at having to do it, but sitting and crying over it isn't going to fix it and isn't really demonstrating that you are too high level to waste your time at reception.

Either that, or as others have said, maybe you should find a new job where you don't have to do anything you think is beneath you.
Munchy, NetG, scrills and 4 others like this.
I haven't got the slightest idea how to change people, but I still keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.
I worked for a small company where the owners at times were stuck on phone calls through lunch and would ask someone who didn't have an immediate deadline coming up to get them food, and provide money for that person to get themselves food as well. It was nice because we would have been willing to pick something up for them anyway without them paying for our food, too.

When the admins were out picking up supplies, sick or whatever, we would fill in answering the phones. Because there were incoming service calls they had to be answered.

Rather than being insulted, we all felt it was part of chipping in to get what needed done. Certainly had getting lunch or answering phones kept us from doing our own jobs we would have explained to the owner that it was interfering and been exempt from requests, and there were times that was the case for everyone.


I think there's an attitude problem in the office, whether it's yours or that of the bosses. I don't think being asked to chip in with answering phones is a problem at all.
Originally Posted by NetG
I agree with NetG - I am a VP/Director level and I would pitch in and answer the phones or sit at the reception desk if it was needed so the receptionist could get a break. I am not sure why you see it as so degrading - those jobs are important jobs too, I am not above doing needed tasks at work. I'm not going to fetch dry cleaning or coffee for people because those are personal errands, but I'll answer phones, make copies, get supplies, etc.

If you are a senior member of the team and feel that this is not the most effective way to handle this situation then handle it in a professional manner and put together your own proposal for who should provide coverage and what the schedule should be and present it to the team in charge along with the reasons why your plan will save money, better optimize skillsets or more evenly distribute the burden amongst a larger pool of people. I understand being annoyed or ticked off at having to do it, but sitting and crying over it isn't going to fix it and isn't really demonstrating that you are too high level to waste your time at reception.

Either that, or as others have said, maybe you should find a new job where you don't have to do anything you think is beneath you.
Originally Posted by rileyb
But in her defense, she mentioned that her team just went thru a big restructuring and, during that process, she lost her major projects. Then she was moved to another area, where she is doing a type of work she hasn't done in years. Clearly, she feels her position isn't very secure under the new management.

Maybe if her job situation felt secure to her, she wouldn't feel so nervous about taking on the receptionist responsibility.

I don't think she is saying this out of arrogance but out of fear and frustration that it could be sabotaging her career.

Also, some of this depends on company/organization size. In smaller orgs, ppl filling in and wearing multiple hats as situations merit, is typical. In larger orgs, there are more clearly-defined levels of responsibility that employees generally don't cross. (At least that has been the case iME.)
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

^^ I get what you are saying, but if she is afraid/feeling insecure, I don't think the answer is to not help out. That makes you less valuable. If I thought my job was in jeopardy, I would be showing how much of a team player I was.


But, I agree with NetG and RileyB. I'm sure I see what the issue is

When they got rid of our admin, we all had to split her functions. No one thought twice about it. And yes, I work in IT. And 80% of those people did go on to loose their jobs

I also like the suggestion of coming up with a proposal for a long term solution. Very nice idea (careerwise)
^^ I get what you are saying, but if she is afraid/feeling insecure, I don't think the answer is to not help out. That makes you less valuable. If I thought my job was in jeopardy, I would be showing how much of a team player I was.


But, I agree with NetG and RileyB.
Originally Posted by scrills
+1.
I'm just a little lost about what there is to be so upset and crying about..
"Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”
^^ I get what you are saying, but if she is afraid/feeling insecure, I don't think the answer is to not help out. That makes you less valuable. If I thought my job was in jeopardy, I would be showing how much of a team player I was.


But, I agree with NetG and RileyB. I'm sure I see what the issue is

When they got rid of our admin, we all had to split her functions. No one thought twice about it. And yes, I work in IT. And 80% of those people did go on to loose their jobs

I also like the suggestion of coming up with a proposal for a long term solution. Very nice idea (careerwise)
Originally Posted by scrills
I thought she said she is going to do it but just doesn't want to.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

^^ since she is crying and asking what to do, I took it as if it was questionable. Would she do it or speak to management about it?

Well, my department and I were going to flip out when we heard this!I
am so angry and upset that she would think of us as being able to fill in this duty.
Please don't tell me there is nothing wrong with this. It sure as heck is wrong for me and step in the wrong direction (career wise,I mean).
I don't think I could even fake siting at the receptionist desk. I have been crying about this,I work very hard for that company. This is a slap in the face. I feel like I am closer to a demotion. That woman thinks we are that skill level?? Everyone in my team is overqualified to be a receptionist.

What should we do on Monday?
But in her defense, she mentioned that her team just went thru a big restructuring and, during that process, she lost her major projects. Then she was moved to another area, where she is doing a type of work she hasn't done in years. Clearly, she feels her position isn't very secure under the new management.

Maybe if her job situation felt secure to her, she wouldn't feel so nervous about taking on the receptionist responsibility.

I don't think she is saying this out of arrogance but out of fear and frustration that it could be sabotaging her career.

Also, some of this depends on company/organization size. In smaller orgs, ppl filling in and wearing multiple hats as situations merit, is typical. In larger orgs, there are more clearly-defined levels of responsibility that employees generally don't cross. (At least that has been the case iME.)
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
To me, that is a separate issue altogether. I can understand the fear/uncertainty in feeling like your job is insecure, but one sure way to make your job insecure is to refuse to help out when needed or to be dramatic about it. She has certainly framed this situation as that she doesn't think she should have to answer the phone and that she is insulted that they would ask her to do so. If what you state above is the underlying issue then the answer is simple - start an aggressive job hunt.

Asking someone to sit at the receptionist desk (and actually in this case multiple someones, not just one person) for 1/2 hour a week or what have you, is not the same as demoting someone to BE the receptionist. If you're job hunting you never even have to mention it, I don't see how it would damage your career. The perception that you don't want to be a 'team player' (forgive the lame cliche) will certainly damage your career, however.

ETA - Another reason that I would absolutely pitch in and answer phones is that customers/clients are the primary reason any of us HAVE jobs for the most part, so having someone to answer the phone is a critical part of daily operations. Sending people to voicemail is not an acceptable option in my industry and it seems not in violets' either. Personally, I'd welcome the break in the day to be able to just answer phones and chat up some visitors, I might learn something new or gain a different perspective on how we're perceived as a company and be able to improve some things.
NetG, scrills, wild~hair and 4 others like this.
I haven't got the slightest idea how to change people, but I still keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.

Last edited by rileyb; 01-08-2013 at 10:07 AM.
That's why I said there's an attitude adjustment needed somewhere - it sounds like an entitled "I don't want to do something I find menial" attitude from the OP, but that could stem from an attitude by management like they're shoving people out the door. Job searching may be the answer, but certainly most people in most jobs do things which are seen as "beneath them" and "not part of their college education" but do them anyway. As an engineer, probably 70% of my job involves paperwork, setting up meetings for different topics I want to cover, transcribing notes from meetings, etc. All things which need to be done and since I don't have a personal admin to do it, I do it. So do my bosses for their meetings.
Rubber Biscuit likes this.
The pews never miss a sermon but that doesn't get them one step closer to Heaven.
-Speckla

But at least the pews never attend yoga!
i got form the op that they expect the employees to not only do their regular job but also someone else's job. instead of the company hiring another receptionist or finding another way to cover the phones they want other employees who already have work to do, to step away from their jobs to answer a phone. the company wont hire someone because they wont pay for it. so they are just looking for free labor. its frustrating because the other departments feels it is not their job, which its not, and they have their own work that has to get done. teh company has expanded so you would think they would have hired at least one more receptionist. expectionally since the office opens at 6, but the receptionist doesn't even come in until 8. at least that is what i got from it.
OP, I can fully see your frustration with the situation. I've been in situations where I felt similar. I never felt insecure in my job in that I thought I would be fired/laid off, but I felt extremely undervalued and insecure in my position, in that people didn't realize what I did or the skill level needed to do it. Its the feeling of being taken completely for granted. It's one thing if you're being asked to help out in the way that anyone could/would be asked to help out, but it's another entirely if you're being told (directly or indirectly, or even just feel as if you're being told) that your position/skill/abilities are no different than that of the receptionist. There is NOTHING wrong with being a receptionist, and yes of course it requires skills, but it is not the same as other job functions that require more specific skills, training, and experience.

It sounds as if the woman making the decision is who you directly report to? I would talk to your direct manager (either her or someone else) about why you don't feel that answering the phones is the best use of you and your whole department's time. An hour and a half a day is 7.5 hours per week--that's almost a full day of work: come up with examples of what can be done in that amount of time that will be sacrificed for this. And suggest number of the salary of someone your position vs. that of the receptionist. It clearly doesn't make sense for someone who makes $20/hour to do the job of someone they could pay $10/hour to do, for example. I'd also speak about the general sense of moral on the team--with the reorg the team has felt undervalued and displaced, and having the team do the job of the receptionist is only going to serve to further disillusion the staff and lead to job dissatisfaction. However, I would be careful to frame the whole conversation as people are willing to chip in where necessary--especially if it was on a much more limited basis, and didn't single out your department specifically, and there was some recognition of the work your department does overall.



It's all about the situation. At my last job I was so frustrated I was regularly crying (almost always in private) about not being able to get anything done and my boss essentially taking credit for my work. Every single time he had a meeting regarding one of my projects or presented something I had done to upper management, I would be so incredibly frustrated and upset. He got 3 promotions, and I got none, over a period of a year and a half. I only stayed that long for some other external reasons. At my current job, I don't feel like I'm taken for granted, and I don't feel like people are stealing my work and stepping on me for my own benefit. My boss now regularly discusses my projects with senior management and needs to present things I worked on, but I'm never concerned. She's representing me well, and not using me to her advantage.

Just like it would be no big deal to be asked to fill in for the receptionist if you otherwise didn't feel stepped on...but it's a different story if they're already treating you like crap.
spiderlashes5000 likes this.
"I don't know! I don't know why I did it, I don't know why I enjoyed it, and I don't know why I'll do it again!" -BART SIMPSON
That's why I said there's an attitude adjustment needed somewhere - it sounds like an entitled "I don't want to do something I find menial" attitude from the OP, but that could stem from an attitude by management like they're shoving people out the door. Job searching may be the answer, but certainly most people in most jobs do things which are seen as "beneath them" and "not part of their college education" but do them anyway. As an engineer, probably 70% of my job involves paperwork, setting up meetings for different topics I want to cover, transcribing notes from meetings, etc. All things which need to be done and since I don't have a personal admin to do it, I do it. So do my bosses for their meetings.
Originally Posted by NetG
I agree, but having to fill in at a receptionist's desk is different. I don't remember but if it truly is temporary it doesn't sound too bad. But combined with everything else she has said (her projects changing, restructuring that she is not happy with, owners asking people to do personal errands, yelling at them, etc.) it sounds like it would make sense to look for another job. I'm really confused as to why anyone would stay at a job where they feel insecure about her position and that makes her cry.
wild~hair likes this.
I don't want to stay there. I don't cry at work,only at home.
The whole company doesn't do help the receptionist., only the lowest paid employees and now apparently my team.

I know it can seem like I am just being petty but this new manager is just trying to make herself indispensable. She is doing that by giving us crap work and taking all the "important " work/accounts for herself. It isn't just that I think answering phones is " beneath me".
It not that I think receptionists have no skills either. Its more of a situation where I didn't ask to be. This is yet another way to push us out of her way. The second week she was came to work for us
I was called to one of the owners offices. Apparently I was being threatened to be written up if I didn't write down everything I knew about our accounts. (It was not documented).I had a lot of it just in my head and she needed the information to be my boss! She is quite the
manipulator.
And no I do not feel insecure about being fired. I don't want to do a job so far from my skill set because it is a disservice to me.

I am not real good at playing games, so I wrote down everything I could think of and she took the accounts with most visibility and told me
I was not allowed to call them.
I turned around and told her I wanted to work on my software development skills, writing queries since most of my team needs reports and I understand better than anyone how to write them.
So I outsmarted myself out of "competing" with her. Now she doesn't compete with me because she is not into software development.

So no, I don't appreciate one bit being told that I need to play receptionist now. It's just a waste of my time.
OP, I can fully see your frustration with the situation. I've been in situations where I felt similar. I never felt insecure in my job in that I thought I would be fired/laid off, but I felt extremely undervalued and insecure in my position, in that people didn't realize what I did or the skill level needed to do it. Its the feeling of being taken completely for granted. It's one thing if you're being asked to help out in the way that anyone could/would be asked to help out, but it's another entirely if you're being told (directly or indirectly, or even just feel as if you're being told) that your position/skill/abilities are no different than that of the receptionist. There is NOTHING wrong with being a receptionist, and yes of course it requires skills, but it is not the same as other job functions that require more specific skills, training, and experience.

It sounds as if the woman making the decision is who you directly report to? I would talk to your direct manager (either her or someone else) about why you don't feel that answering the phones is the best use of you and your whole department's time. An hour and a half a day is 7.5 hours per week--that's almost a full day of work: come up with examples of what can be done in that amount of time that will be sacrificed for this. And suggest number of the salary of someone your position vs. that of the receptionist. It clearly doesn't make sense for someone who makes $20/hour to do the job of someone they could pay $10/hour to do, for example. I'd also speak about the general sense of moral on the team--with the reorg the team has felt undervalued and displaced, and having the team do the job of the receptionist is only going to serve to further disillusion the staff and lead to job dissatisfaction. However, I would be careful to frame the whole conversation as people are willing to chip in where necessary--especially if it was on a much more limited basis, and didn't single out your department specifically, and there was some recognition of the work your department does overall.



It's all about the situation. At my last job I was so frustrated I was regularly crying (almost always in private) about not being able to get anything done and my boss essentially taking credit for my work. Every single time he had a meeting regarding one of my projects or presented something I had done to upper management, I would be so incredibly frustrated and upset. He got 3 promotions, and I got none, over a period of a year and a half. I only stayed that long for some other external reasons. At my current job, I don't feel like I'm taken for granted, and I don't feel like people are stealing my work and stepping on me for my own benefit. My boss now regularly discusses my projects with senior management and needs to present things I worked on, but I'm never concerned. She's representing me well, and not using me to her advantage.

Just like it would be no big deal to be asked to fill in for the receptionist if you otherwise didn't feel stepped on...but it's a different story if they're already treating you like crap.
Originally Posted by Who Me?

This exactly how I feel.
It's a nightmare, everyone wants a piece of my job. It is very frustrating. I just want to do my job!
It sounds to me like you’re in a really dysfunctional working environment. If it were me, I would start looking for a better place to work.

You wouldn't be reacting this way if you did not have these other issues with your boss, etc. If you felt secure and valued, this reception thing would be NBD.
I agree with those who have said that occassionally filling in for reception so they can get lunch or have a break and your clients can still be served is no big deal and shouldn't have you constantly in tears or feeling you are doing work beneath you, but it sounds as if there are some other issues.

I guess if you need this job and feel it would be difficult to get another comparable one, then you need to suck it up and be a team player.
Josephine and nynaeve77 like this.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











Well, it's been 2 weeks since this. We have had 2 group meetings and there has not been a word about this. I think she probably had second thoughts about it. Or she got too many evil eyes on her. I never complained to my manager or HR about not wanting to do this.

I did however told 2 of the other managers that were at that meeting that I thought the whole thing was not the best and why. They are my friends so it wasn't like an official conversation.

Anyways, my team is very happy no one is talking about this.

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