I think, therefore I write. (我思,所以我写。)

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Saturday, July 02, 2011

Rant about work (III)

Gee, i can't believe it's July already and half of 2011 was gone. Time flies by so quickly that it's scary.

It has been a busy week for me. I worked till 4am on Tuesday night, or rather, Wednesday morning. I couldn't complete the report as i had planned even though i worked through the night. For all the previous reports that i needed to revise, normally i was just correcting the English. Hence i could complete them over the night. This time 'round, i needed to fill up the content too and that took me longer than usual.

On Tuesday night, i met the senior consultant on MSN. I clarified some of the points with her, and then also took the chance to tell her that i felt she did not put her heart into the work this time. As it was late already and i wanna continue with my work, we didn't chat much, and she logged off and went to bed (yeah, while her boss was about to work overnight to clean up the work that she did not do properly).

Then on Wednesday, i worked from "home" and had to help to do a little bit of babysitting. I will elaborate more on this in another post.

When i woke up at 10am+ and started working, i saw the senior consultant put a long message on her MSN. It was something along this line: "i did what i was told and now you said my work is not good. I am very confused." When she saw me online, she immediately deleted the message away. I'm not sure if i should be glad about this, for it at least showed that she would still be worried about me seeing it.

So i pretended that i didn't see anything and proceed to clarify a few points with her again. I also asked her why certain things were missing from the report, and she then started telling me how those were supposed to be covered by the Malaysian finance lady and not her, and she was there only to cover the portion that she was told to do. As i carried on asking her some more things, she still continued in such manner, kept on saying that she did not want to do the part where the management had said that finance lady could cover, as she did not want to be seen as a busybody. I saw that the conversation wasn't gonna work and decided that it was best for me to talk to her face-to-face when i am in KL. Then i ended the chat by diverting the topic to another work issue.

This senior consultant had really disappointed me greatly. Actually on the very first day when we were in Shanghai office, she had already exhibited (in my opinion) unprofessional behaviours. In the meeting with the China management before we started working, she was typing away on her laptop and did not participate in the discussion at all. Basically, she was showing her silent protest by giving this aloof attitude.

Then after the discussion, we concluded that the finance lady and the senior consultant will talk to the users together, while i worked on other stuff. Just before we went off to start our own assigned tasks, the senior consultant spoke to me softly, "can she just go by herself?"

She was referring to the finance lady. She was basically telling me that she did not want to work with that lady and would rather that lady talk to the users on her own. Then i got quite pissed, wondering how she would even need to ask such question. I just felt that she was being non-cooperative and throwing her tantrums even. I mean, c'mon, we were already there at Shanghai and we gotta do the work no matter what. So are you telling me that the company would fly you so far to just sit there in the meeting room and do nothing? How is it gonna reflect on the regional team?

But then, we were at a country office and i couldn't possibly show any sign of internal problems within the regional team. So i replied to her softly too, but in a straight face, "OF COURSE NOT."

Then unwillingly, in a sulking face, she went off with the finance lady to talk to the users.

A few minutes later, she came back to the meeting room (leaving the finance lady alone with the users) and started complaining to me in a very emotional manner. She was obviously very upset and then even told me that she was already unhappy with a lot of things in this company, and this China incident might very well be the push factor for her to leave. I did not want to aggravate the matter there and wanted her to quickly go back to join the discussion with users, and hence i just allow her to let off her disgruntlement.

After she finished her whining, i told her calmly that i understood her frustration, but at the end of the day, we would be the one who needed to write the report. If the report is not good, we will be the one liable and not that finance lady. I told her to just ignore that finance lady and just do as what she would normally do like all previous tasks. We have to ensure whatever we needed were covered just so that we could write the report.

Anyway, apparently, what i told her did not register into her mind at all. Now she actually told me that she did not cover the part that the finance lady was supposed to cover, even though she had told me how the finance lady seemed to be at a loss and did not ask users a lot of questions (she told me this just to prove that how lousy that finance lady was). Then i wondered - seeing how the work wasn't done properly by another person and you could actually let it slip, and didn't even bother to fill in the gaps? Where is the professionalism and sense of responsibility?

In fact, throughout the entire trip, she had shown her moodiness on-and-off. During discussion, she would just keep mum and kept on typing on her laptop. I intentionally asked for her opinions a few times, and she would just give simple reply or just say "i have nothing to add".

It was the worst working experience i've had with her so far. She has always been a responsible person but this time her emotion and negative thoughts got the better of her. Her behaviours and work attitude were totally out of my expectation, and i felt that this is not the end of it yet. This case had such big impact on her that she is now more like buying time only - she is looking for job (even during office hours) and she would just leave once she got a better opportunity elsewhere.

I definitely have to talk to her next week. Uh huh, i'm going to KL again next week. I think the talk gotta be something that either change her mindset or make her determines to leave. Seriously, if she can't change and still continues in such manner, i would rather she leaves than to become a tumour in the team. I would rather free up the headcount to get someone who can be more passionate about the work, than to have someone occupying the position but not being productive or not doing a good job at all.

This is not gonna be easy for me. I really hate doing this people management thingy, but i gotta do it nonetheless. See, it's similar as what she went through - being put into a situation or dealing with people that we would rather not have to do. The difference in how we handle it is that i know this is what i am being paid to do, this is my duty, and this is something i do not get to choose so long as i still want this job. Therefore i just have to do it to the best i can, no matter how unwilling i am and how frustrating it may be. I just wish she can understand this principle, just like a matured professional ought to.

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Poor girl, I'm quite lucky so far my left-right-hands are quite responsible & mature. Eventhought sometimes they'll grumbling & complaining, but after that they understand this is what they have to do, they'll still complish the task given accurately & timely.
Gosh! din she know that reputation & relationship is very important in working environment? Din she know even she resign, the new co might call to ask her ex-superior for opinion? So normally we'll still do our very best eventhought we'd tender our resgination. The world is very small oh!
But I believe my good friend wouldn't give any bad comment even was asked lah! Really, this kind of people should talk directly to her, and let her know u can't tolerate her attitude, so she can even change or go away immediately. She is the one left us no choice.
You think I'm cruel? Maybe being in Admin in so many years, we'd to be like this, can't be emotionally. Sometimes being kind to others is being cruel to ourself. Furthermore, this kind of people should be teached some lesson.

sigh, not sure if the consultant is really confused, or deliberately trying to shirk off the responsibility. must be hard for you to be trapped in such situation - being principled to deliver good quality of work and yet staff not only refused to cooperate fully but also giving hard time. and yet, if the other department is not dedicated doing the job, why should go extra to help them to make them look good undeservingly and gain the credit too when own's bonus, increment and promotion are bypassed. especially when there's bad blood spilt between them. of course, the ultimate product is the report, if the other department is not liable, the ball will roll back if to ignore or laugh at its incompetency. haha but at the end sendiri yang kena teruk. maybe you have set the quality demand higher than she expected, she doesn't want her work encompasses the finance lady (with mind of sabotaging her and her department) and you have advised her to ignore them to cover the part that only needed, there's where the confusion arises. she has lost the zeal, hence directionless and you have to be micromanaging for her tasks.

i agree even with all the grievance and plan to leave, one should not stay away from given responsibility. hard work in the past could be immediately forgotten and only be remembered with recent mishaps, that's reality. it might be stupid but at least we can maintain dignity and tell that we are not part of the contributor for the sinking ship. obviously everyone will leave when there's "better" opportunity elsewhere. people come people go. my current company after 1 year got about 8, 9 people resigned. that's the challenging part of being manager - managing people . i wonder what she would be thinking when she stumbles onto this blog and read about this rant. it seems if she put this mess at your responsibility and paint herself as victim, put you at the guilty side. you must not yield. it's rare and very fortunate for them to have you as your staffs' boss, boss who understandable, knowledgeable, approachable, reasonable, reflective, technical, workaholic, protective, staying up late late nights to go down the field to fix the problem. you are different from most other uncaring selfish bosses. sometimes when it comes to decision making, you have to be ruthless for the sake of the whole team. If the consultant continues on being like this, the best will be like what you mentioned - to root out before the tumour starts to spread. otherwise not only you stressed yourself very much which it's unhealthy, you will be also viewed as indecisive , incapable leader and less be respected. the staff probably was painting herself as victim and shunning others to take up the role, but i believe there are others will stand by your decision and passionate to fill in the spot to earn job experience.

hope you can sort out the problems with the consultant when you are in KL, personal and work. you did good, it's just that other people doesn't appreciate it. the company could have its flaw, at least it's not due to you and your team. recently i attended a workshop on 7 habits of highly effective people (not volunteer but being forced by management), perhaps to share them with you (from wiki):

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Habit 3: Put First Things First

Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Habit 6: Synergize

Self Renewal
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

you need to think win-win and good empathetic listener lor, instead of being autobiographical . https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits-habit5.php
cheers, don't let this spoils your coming 24 days to go trip, and all the best :)

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 1:19 am: Late night
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 @ 1:12 am: Trivia of my uneventful days
Sunday, June 26, 2011 @ 1:35 am: Back in SG
Friday, June 24, 2011 @ 2:08 am: Tired
Sunday, June 19, 2011 @ 8:11 pm: At Changi Airport
Saturday, June 18, 2011 @ 1:01 am: At KLIA
Thursday, June 16, 2011 @ 2:30 am: Workshop progress
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 2:25 am: At KL
Friday, June 10, 2011 @ 3:54 am: Rant about work (II)
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 6:23 pm: Rant about work (I)