Monday, September 29, 2008

Friend or Foe?

I try really hard not to bore you all with the ins and outs of my job, but something happened last Friday that I am struggling with. In the past it has helped me to write about my problems or thoughts here so bare with me on this one.

In case you don't remember or don't know I work for the State of Ohio Attorney General Office. It used to be a well respected state agency in Ohio that did good for the citizens of our Ohio. However this past spring there was a scandal that happened ultimately involving the Attorney General himself which wound up with our Governor and our state senate filling proceedings to have the AG impeached. Wisely the AG resigned before that went through. Now that leaves us with a temporary AG and an election in about a month. In our office all the supervisor,managers, chief's, and assistant attorneys' general serve at the pleasure of the Attorney General. This means they don't know if they will have jobs come January. So now that jobs could be on the line our upper management has decided they need to make all these changes and fix the things that were wrong in our office. The problem is they have no idea what really goes on so the changes they are making aren't really good ones.

One of these changes will greatly affect me. It will actually cause them to re figure my job duties. Currently as the Bookkeeping Account Representative my largest job duty is to work what we call the Error Sheets. When the collectors receive money it is scanned into an imaging machine for them to process. When they don't do this correctly it kicks out on the Error Sheet and since October of last year I am the only one that works these. For the past two years, maybe three, the focus for the collectors was quantity over quality making the Error Sheets very large. From the beginning I told my manager that it was a large amount of work for one person, before I was doing them all they were split between 8 people and they struggles to keep them current. I am no where near current, Actually as of today I am on the July 16 report.

A few weeks ago after many meetings, and complaints my supervisor was able to get one of what we call the Corners (Chiefs, Assistant chief, and Operations Manager) to realize something was going to have to change and these collectors needed to be held accountable for processing their checks. This lead to the decision that they would split the Error Sheets up by what staff processed the checks and give the Error Sheets to the supervisors to correct. Now it's absolutely great that I will be getting rid of them and gaining some different duties, what is not good is that to do this we have to give our supervisor the bookkeeping system to work the checks.

There is a reason that we have two different systems to process checks and that is so those of us in Bookkeeping can get our reports, pay our Outside Counsels & Third Party Collectors, as well as pay our clients the money they asked us to collect for them. So in giving the supervisors our system we give them the entire thing and one wrong move on their part could create complete caos for us. When I was informed of the decisson I voiced my concerns about this but the corners decided that it was not enough to change their minds. I could only say so much because it really isn't my decisson to make, I did however ask that the supervisor go through an extensive training to try and prevent any major mistakes being made. I'm sure some of you are thinking these people are superviors so why is that a problem but in our office supervisors don't know how to process the checks so this is going to take alot of work.

On Friday morning my Supervisor and I were called into our Managers office. I was informed that the project was going through and the Supervisors would have the system istalled on their computers by the end of the week. I was then asked by my Manager if I would help my Supervisor give the training. I said yes but I asked that once we had the materials together that we have the entire Bookkeeping Staff look at it and get their imput. My Manager agreed to this so my Supervisor went on to compile a list of the things we needed to dicuss and how we wanted the training to look.

Ok so I know the back story has been a little long but I felt it necessary to give you the full background on what has happened before I get into what has me so upset.

Everyday I eat lunch with the same ladies two of which also work in Bookkeeping. I consider these ladies to be good friends of mine. Friday one of them was eating with her husband so that left only one other. I was telling her about what the corners decided to do and her inital reaction was the same as mine, and she brought up every point that I had already dicussed with them. I told her this and that those were not good enough reasons for them not to do it. The next thing out of her mouth completly caught me off guard but she said to me and I quote " What are you anyway, A's (our supervisor) personal assistant?", I had no idea how to respond to this and I can only imagine what the look on my face was. Before I could collect my thoughts and respond she proceeded to say and I quote again "why are you the one giving the training when there are people on the staff that have been her alot longer than you like so and so, or myself?" At this point I got mad, I took those two comments together as a personal attack on me and what made it hurt even more was that it came from someone I thought was a friend. Now I'm not so sure if she really is a friend.

I have talked to some friends one that knows her, and one that doesn't and both of them said it sounded like she was jealous. The one that knows her also agreed this was not like her at all and they were very surprised by her comments. Part of me thinks that maybe this is a jealousy thing. See our current supervisor has only been in the position since March and when she has special prjects going on she goes to the person that it will affect the most for their help. Our old supervisor, who I loved, only went to two people with special projects which were this person and the other one she mentiond. Now I don't know what to do. Work was very uncofortable for me and I was very greatful for lunch plans previously made with another co-worker allowing me to not have to eat with this person. The problem is I can't avoid her forever and I just don't know what to do. Do I confront her about it, or do I act like nothing happen? Anyone have any good advice here?


Tiffany McCallen said...

If you really do consider her a friend, maybe what she meant was why are you getting saddled with having to conduct a training session... as in, "oh what a drag!"

Or, I can easily see the jealousy thing. That absolutely makes sense. And if that's the case, I say this one will have to slide.

We all open our mouths from time to time and share more than we intended. I know I do!

Emily said...

Jess my love. any person who would not be good to you has their head up their butts.

Candid Carrie said...

Baby Jessica,

One hundred and fourteen years ago (well not really but it seemed like it) I was just another teller on a teller line at a savings and loan association.

Change of events and I became the assistant teller on the teller line and was told very clearly. You need to be done with the tellers as your friends. You are in a position of assistant management and you are to sever your ties inside and outside of work or you will be unable to function in a position of authority.

I was young and didn't grasp the concept and all I could think of was, "Holy Crap! Listen to the man trying to tell me who I can have as friends."

Well, reality sunk in when these "peers" started to snub me. And then speak poorly of me. And getting up and walking out of the break room when I walked in. I felt like an outsider and nothing in my work world made any sense any more.

You are a good girl, Jess and I am guessing a good obedient employee. Just be quiet and do your job. I don't know why your coworker would act like she did other than jealousy that she isn't afforded the opportunity to be in a "teaching" position.

At the time I was being considered for the assistant teller position I had no idea I was being "groomed" for bigger and better things.

You don't know where things are going in your workplace, just be a good employee and as they continue to raise the bar you do your best to reach for it just by being who you are, dear girl.

And even though you are at work more than you are awake and at home ... well sometimes workplace friendships aren't always long lasting.

Share less with coworkers and read more. Show up with "books on tape" or whatever they are called these days and get into your inner place.

I can't stress it enough Baby Jessica, but just by being who you are will open some doors and close others. And sometimes the doors that close, slam hard and make horrible noise. But the doors that open hold uncertainty, so be careful.

Best wishes for continued success from me and your Aunt Pat (who I am guessing would say you are talking too much to your co-workers!)

Mom to 3 Monkeys said...

Jealous. It very much sounds like you caught her off guard and the first response she had was defensive. I would ignore it. Let it go and be the bigger person. You can only do the best you can at your job and being pulled into stuff like that will only leave you with regrets. (((HUGS))) I hope all this stuff passes fast for you. It does not sound like fun to have to deal with.