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Anyone have experience with transitioning into a management position on the job?
May 17, 2007
4:18 pm
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balancesekr
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At my job I was recently promoted to take over the dept. So I kind of have to replace my old position. Here is the kicker...

I got my friend a job here, and it has been a little strange working with her. I have posted b4 about the challenges.

The main point is, I need someone who has skills that my friend just doesn't have, she has some of them, but would need training in many areas if I were to bring her up. And there is a 3rd person who works in the dept. He has been getting better, but I am really not sure he really likes design and his abilities are not spectacular.

So, I am left feeling very alone. I need to make a good decision here and I am confused with what to do. I think maybe I should move her up, she does good quality work and is pretty thorough, but I have locked horns with her b4 and she very easily can get in my face and tell me what to do.

I guess I am just not sure how to lead things here. The people I have interviewed lately have been very mediocre. My boss is kind of a strange guy, he just stares at me and gives me the jedi mind trick. I just feel really uncomfortable at my job lately. Maybe management isnt for me.

Thanks for reading.

May 17, 2007
4:43 pm
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gracenotes
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Balance,

That's a tough part of being promoted... your relationships with others are going to change just by fact of your new position. You are in charge now, and they are really your subordinates. Its not easy shifting gears. Sounds like your pretty much alone in making the decisions.

Has anyone stepped forth and expressed interest in the position? Is this person who sometimes tells you what to do your friend who needs training in many areas? Sorry, I am a little confused by the players.

My ideas on this are that people can be trained if they are willing, but if there are uncomfortable personality dynamics already, the chances of anything changing long term in that area are slim.

I would prefer someone who had experience, but in lieu of experience, enthusiasm and interest in the field who be a big plus, someone who wanted to learn, and someone I felt comfortable working with. Its really important to find someone who is comfortable to work with and someone who respects you as their boss!! Crucial. Aren't personality differences what really makes working in an office difficult? It's usually not the work itself. You really are in charge here and its important to pick someone who is workable, interested, will hopefully be sticking around for awhile, and has a temperament like yours.

I'm surprised that people are not knocking at the door for a job in design. Maybe this job needs to be advertised differently or something like that to attract the right people.

Hope this helps.

May 17, 2007
4:45 pm
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loverbee
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I would say that work comes first always. Just explain that you take pride in your work and that in reality you wouldn't be doing her or him a favor by hiring them just because they were your friend because in the end it is going to be a source of tension than if you were to just explain.

May 17, 2007
5:10 pm
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balancesekr
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hi gracenotes,

my friend is interested in the position, but has not done anything on her own to prepare for it. Example: done tutorials in animation programs... she really doesn't push herself to learn new things, she is just waiting for the company to train her.

She is very focused on her boyfriend and her family, she is young lives at home still, this is her 2nd real design job and her last job she hated and had problems with her supervisor. I got her a job with me and we had problems to start out, I think she had an issue that I am above her.

She complains a decent amount of the time and thinks she should be paid more, etc...

Part of the problem is the line was blurred cause we were friends! So I have been kinda close with her and the other guy in the dept and now I was promoted, I have been above them the whole time, but now I run the dept.

loverbee,
good point that work comes first. This is challenging because I have sorta been a friend with these 2, but now I run the dept, so things need to change a bit.

I feel guilty that I am not moving her up, but I just don't think she has the drive for the position, or the skills.

So I have to stop feeling guilty and just keep looking for someone good.

May 17, 2007
5:13 pm
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Shaney
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Hi there -

My friend and I both got jobs as designers for a company about ten years ago. Within the first year, I was promoted to art director. It caused problems, because she always felt her work was just as good as mine, and couldn't understand why I was promoted and not her. She was a responsible worker, and always pleasant, just not that talented. After another year or so, she was finally let go. We didn't talk for years because of the way it was handled. The department grew quite a bit after that and there were lots of times that I was faced with the same sort of scenario... I always needed someone better than what I had in the dept already, but rubbed everyone the wrong way when I hired from outside rather than promoting within. It's tough, especially if you're friendly with any of your coworkers - (which is another lesson that I've learned - there HAS to be a separation between work and friendship, I don't care what anyone says). Anyway... I have found, (if your company pays for outside education), that sending people that you feel have greater potential, to classes, is a good way to get from them, what you feel they may be lacking. If they do well, it could also justify promoting them. Management classes also helped me to deal with a lot of these issues too. Good luck to you.

May 17, 2007
5:25 pm
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Honolulugal
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Words of great wisdom, as always, Shaney!

H.

Congrats Balance! Sounds like you will be fine. Just don't let your co-workers bully you. I agree with outside training, sincerely. However, if they don't have the stuff, you are responsible for finding the "right stuff", right? Just don't get your own hiney in a sling trying to soft-soap any of them. I've had lots of buds of mine promoted and felt real joy for them. It never interfered with friendship because I automatically shifted into "they're the boss" mode. It is YOUR promo after all, correct? Good for you!

May 17, 2007
7:07 pm
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Rasputin
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Stresss is always part of our work Balance. You're working with different personalities each with their own package, it's really hard to get along with every one. Some folks are nicer than others. Not to mention that every one has his own persppective on issues.

As for your friend...ask yourself...Is she smart enough to take that position? If yes, then go ahead. It's the personality that counts in the end not anything else.

When it comes to you again...ask yourself Do you want this kind of job in the management position. Does it really matches your talents and values? Do you offer any training or coaching? If yes, then go ahead and best of luck to you.

May 18, 2007
9:18 am
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balancesekr
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yaye! lots of posts 🙂

Thanks for sharing that Shaney. I am on the fence about bringing her up cause she is a good worker, the work she does now is great, but if she was moved up she would be handling BIG accounts and this includes animation work and she does not know really anything about it. File types, animating, etc... She is more geared towards print. So my thought was have her handle overseeing the print orders, this will be her promo. But I wind up feeling guilty thinking about bringing someone in with this knowledge already.

Plus if I move her up, she will need a decent amount of hand holding and training, plus she has missed over 3 weeks of work in the past year due to sickness, car accidents, and doctors appointments, etc... I just don't think she i mature enough for the position. But then I feel I am making this decision personal, cause I know her and if I didn't maybe I would move her up?

The next guy on the totum pole is OK as a designer and there is no way he could head up the print! So, I guess I am doing the right thing bringing in someone with the skills already. It is just the people I have interviewed have been mediocre at best.

Does it sound like I am making a personal decision on my friend or a smart business move? This person needs to be my right hand and she has given me some trouble in the past, tension can build between us cause on some level, I think she thinks we're equal cause we went to school together.

My company is kinda cheap, they have not offered to train anyone else at this point. And my CEO told me to not be afraid to hire someone better than me, that tells me that my friend is definitely not the candidate!

Thanks for the congrats Honolulugal!
Yeah, I am trying to find the BALANCE here with this switch. Maybe when I finally interview someone GOOD I will feel better. I am just thinking out the dynamic with the new person. I need someone who isnt immature who will pal around with my "friend" and the other guy and bitch and moan about their jobs all day. I need someone mature.

Rasputin,
I don't think she is at the right level for this position, but again I feel bad that I am making this decision cause its personal. YOU know what, it is the right decision. Cause she can learn some of this stuff in time, but I need a solid person in place to hit the ground running!

Regarding management, we will see if its for me. My uncle once said to me, get used to giving out the work, someone has to do it, why not you? Otherwise someone will be giving you work to do! It's a BIG shift!

thanks
b

May 18, 2007
10:47 am
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gracenotes
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Balance,

By all means, hire an outside person. Your boss is giving you the go-ahead anyway. Your friend, from what you have written, just does not have the stuff, skill-wise or personaity-wise, to be the right candidate. Yes, this is a business decision, but it has to be a business decision and you will be working directly with the new person in this position.

As far as any fallout from your friend, if she happens to not like the decision, it really is her choice how she handles it. She can take the route of blame and anger at you, or she can step to the plate and make a decision to become better than she is at her job, get the animation training she needs, be proactive in asking for training and figure out what she needs to do so she can be considered for the next position. Maybe she will not even care about you hiring a new person.

This is reality, especially in a creative field. There's always some talented person around the corner and that person may be better than you. The best way to deal with this reality is to work on continually bettering skills.

It would do your friend no professional or personal good to be handed a job she's not really qualified for, or perhaps because you feel guilty. In a way, that would be enabling her.

Best of luck and this will be a great opportunity to see if management is something for you.

May 18, 2007
11:55 am
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Shaney
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balancesekr - I swear, you're living my life. At one time, I had eight people in this department, and it was complete hell. Plus, creative people are the worst - they come with egos that don't necessarily match their talent or ability, but always feel that they deserve more than they're getting. I've been doing this for 15 years and have only come across two to three people who deserved to be promoted from within the company. Looking back, I think I would have nurtured more of those who showed potential. Putting energy into existing employees who are willing to step up and make efforts, makes for a happier and healthier group. Always hiring from the outside, leads to a lot of resentment and divides the department. All in all, looking back, I feel like I made good choices, but I don't always feel that I was a good manager. I always did what was best for the company, but not always what was best for the group. And at the same time, you will never make EVERYONE happy. The hardest thing about all of this is finding the balance between friendships and work relationships. They need to respect you, and I lost that with a few employees who I happened to be friends with. You also have to find a balance between what you keep private as a manager, and what you share with your fellow employees. Your friends in the deptartment will want to know everything that you know, and will be pissed if you don't share it... but there's a balance. With my friend who ended up getting the boot? I really wish I would have taken the position of a caring friend rather than the professional prior to her being let go. I wish that I would have let her know that I wanted her to do well, and that I wanted her to move up and succeed - but that there were things that I saw, that she needed to improve - and that if I could, I would help her. I was afraid at the time, to hurt her feelings or bruise her ego, or even worse, make her feel that I was "ABOVE" her. But now I know that in order to be a good manager, you have to be above your group in a way that makes them want to follow your lead, not a way that makes them feel below you. I think you can do this with your friend. Now that the department is in a sort of restructuring mode, start off by having a meeting where you state the obvious - that you understand that the new arrangement may be uncomfortable and that you want to do what you can make the the transition easier. ( Talk to your boss before hand and maybe find out if there are any educational incentives, etc, so when you talk to your group, you can give them some indication of future plans). Let them know that you realize that there is room for improvement in the department and that your intention is to listen to their thoughts and opinions and come up with a plan. At the same time, let them know as a group (and maybe individually as well) what they're doing well, what their strengths are, and what you see that needs improvement. Let them know they're an integral part of the success of the department and that you appreciate them. blah blah blah.... try not to sound too much like a corporate weanie. You get the picture. Creative people who are organized, with a good attitude and work ethic are hard to come by. Most, in my experience, are a bunch of whiney nine-to-fivers who put out crappy work because they never feel like they're getting paid what they deserve, OR that anyone appreciates them. And you have to learn to deal with them, because they're not going anywhere - and no amount of coaching or attention will make them any different. Those people have a place too... it sucks, but that's the way it is. Just give them a bunch of production work or something :o). Anyway - I think you have a pretty good handle on what your department needs, and what it already has. If you see potential, talk about it and nurture it. If you see things that need to be improved, don't be afraid to talk about it and nurture that as well. :o) Good luck.

May 18, 2007
3:17 pm
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balancesekr
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hey shaney!

Yeah, I don't know if my friend would respond too well to me telling her what she could improve. When I have mentioned learning Flash, website design, etc.. she just seems like she's waiting to be trained by someone. She doesn't do freelance work, she is very family/boyfriend focused, the type who will marry right out of her parents house.

The other guy in the dept, he just doesn't seem too enthused about anything, I really can't tell what motivates him. He did tell me once he was jealous that I get to do animation, but his design skills are not that great. I don't know what I can do to push him along or what types of projects to give him besides the standard orders that come in. And my supervisor feels the same way about him, not sure of his skills, etc...

Its a rough situation because 2 people are needed to do the regular print work. Hence, why I wanna bring someone in with the animation skills already.

Thanks for sharing your story. I definitely need to talk with my boss about incentives here and hope for the future, future projects, etc...

May 18, 2007
3:39 pm
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Shaney
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I think we may have the same guy working for the both of us... jeez.

Well, you can't nurture and motivate those that don't have it in them to WANT to improve their skills and talents. I've had more of those employees than I can count. It makes you wonder why in the hell they're in this industry to begin with. And they're always the first to complain about their position or their salary. Hiring someone from the outside is the best idea for sure. It will either motivate the others to do better, or it will just add to their list of gripes and they'll just continue to do whatever it is that they're doing. I don't understand when designers don't take on outside work. I have 5 ongoing clients aside from my full time job. I mean, don't creative people just automatically persue more creative things to do? It's a passion as far as I'm concerned... but not for every person who considers themself a designer.

I know all too well how hard it can be. Management classes really really helped me to put everything into perspective. It essentially gave me the green light to do what I already knew was right, but felt guilty doing. It gave me more confidence.

Good luck to you :o)

May 21, 2007
9:13 am
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balancesekr
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shaney and anyone else who reads,

shaney,
I thought about it over the weekend, and I am definitely hiring from the outside. Both my "friend" and the other guy talk about pursuing other careers, and they have only been in the industry for 2 years. They are both younger and dealing with, "holy crap, I have to get up every day and support myself".

I am going to inform them, I was instructed to hire someone with the skills. And that the opportunity is there for them as well, and here are the skills you should start developing....

It's interesting, I was reading a book of affirmations and it talks about surrounding yourself with people who build you up, and congratulate you when you do well.

My friend, never congratulated me at all about my promo! She just said, I hope your getting compensated for that! Which belittles me and the situation. She may not have totally meant it as a jab, perhaps she just focuses on the negative.

Anyways, thanks for reading!
b

May 21, 2007
10:08 am
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balancesekr
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I can't believe it. My "supervisor" who just got promoted to VP of marketing, so in a way, he isn't my supervisor sort of anymore, doesn't even have the BALLS to introduce me to his new assistant, the MARKETING EXPERT, his new helper, with my appropriate title.

He says balancesekr is helping out with running things over here. Meanwhile, I run the department, and it gets said in front of my subordinates. This company stinks at backing you up and giving you credibility!

May 21, 2007
11:37 am
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Shaney
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Hey there balancesekr - I stayed home from work today because I have mounds of freelance stuff to catch up on. When I'm gone, the guy in my department does NOTHING except talk on the phone all day and look at porn on the internet. Nice huh? He's leaving soon, so whatever.

Not being referred to by my title has happened to me plenty of times when I first was promoted. I think it stung a bit at first, but I've learned that what I do and what my position is, eventually comes out. Titles never really mattered to me anyway. Theres this lady at work who is so caught up with letting everyone know that she's VP of Marketing, that it makes everyone sick. She has even gone so far as to say, "Don't make me pull rank on you, I AM the VP of Marketing you know." Yeah, how can we forget. If you're good at what you do, people recognize that before they give two shits about a title.

From reading what you've written, I think you'll do really well. You seem very level headed. Congratulations :o)

May 21, 2007
11:49 am
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balancesekr
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shaney,

Isn't freelance work great! It is so nice to work from home sitting in PJ's eating Frosted Flakes and getting paid!

Thanks for the compliment on being level headed! I try to be balanced 🙂

It is not so much the title BS, I just know that my coworkers are listening closely! Cause they are little bizniches!

They have said things to me months ago, like, gee you do all the work and get no credit, that's BS. Its like, listen here, worry about yourself, not me.

I am just gonna keep doing my job well and do my best not to think about what "they" are thinking.

b

May 21, 2007
12:48 pm
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Shaney
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I think I've told you that I want to look for another job in the next few months... and I don't want a managerial job this time. I've been a supervisor for 15 years already and I've pretty much had it. I want to look for a job where I'll be the only one in the department. Maybe a small company that needs a designer that can do everything without an entire department. I'm just done with dragging along employees who don't have the same passion for the job that I have. The work ethic of the people nowadays sucks and there's no turning it around. Everyone seems to have an entitlement problem - they want a LOT but give very little. I don't get it, but I know that I don't want to deal with it anymore. There was only one time in 15 years that I had a department full of people that I didn't have to babysit. They were all talented, responsible, and organized. I could leave for a week and not have a worry in the owrld that everything would be done right. I still talk to those people from time to time. Good designers are hard to come by, so when you begin to build your department, make good choices. I know you will... :o) GOOD LUCK!

May 22, 2007
2:20 pm
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balancesekr
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thanks shaney!

There's a management problem at my company too!

The Operations Manager has been asked to come to me when something comes up in the dept and she puts a new rule or process into place. So today, she does it again and goes straight to the people under me, and then they tell me, hey did you know about blah blah blah, NO I say.... so they inform me of the new procedure.

I go to her and ask about the new deal for her to explain it. And then I ask her to please come to me next time. WELL YOU WEREN'T THERE, and she laughs, so I say again, well I am just asking you to please come to me, it will help me out over there.

She won't! She is the kind who dishes it out but can't take it in. I am wondering if she is gonna come up to me later and say something to me about it.

How can this company expect me to lead when they break the chain of command and have no respect for it?

May 22, 2007
3:49 pm
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Shaney
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There are mean, crappy managers in every company, I swear. We have more than our share of them here, and they get crappier by the day. The owner of the company is a nice guy and doesn't like to deal with people fighting... so bad managers who behave like maniacs are never punished. Can you imagine? We have this handful of loud-mouth-no-rule-following managers who have never been reprimanded, so they just spout off like they own the place and terrorize the people that work under them. Since I was hired by the owner, over 10 years ago, no one really messes with me. I'm pretty level headed and just try to stay out of the drama. I've only had a handful of run-ins with the bad apples here, and held my ground thanks to my ability to verbally drive someone into submission. That skill comes in handy when you work with animals... so start practicing now. :o) Ha! My best advice is to stay even tempered, always remain open and approachable, keep it about work, and never let anyone drive you to tears... :o)

After I wrote the above post about finding another job, my boss told me that we're downsizing when we move to another buliding in a few months, but that he wants me to stay. They want to let the other guy in here go, so I will be the only one in the department. Be careful what you wish for, right? I promised to make the move with them but wasn't sure if the job would be stimulating enough for me to justify staying. He understood, but hopes I decide to stay. Anyway, I have a few things to think about, I guess. Funny how things work out huh?

May 24, 2007
10:08 am
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balancesekr
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shaney,

Over the past few days I have come to realize that staying even tempered like you suggested is the key! And remaining approachable. I think my body language was sending out messages that I felt uncomfortable because I was....so now I am aware of this and even if I don't agree with things going on here, I am putting on a even tempered face! :o)

So you are getting what you want kind of, if you wanna stay there! Career decisions are tough, sounds like you are a veteran with this stuff though. I hear you on the job being stimulating enough, I can see it coming, making the decision between making good money and not being that stimulated or moving to another job which is stimulating but alot of work and stress!

b

May 24, 2007
12:06 pm
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balancesekr
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I can't stand the "friend" I hired anymore.

Today she makes a comment about me not having lunch with her and the other guy in the department.

When she asked if I brought lunch I said I have to run errands today, which I do.

She says, I don't know 3 days in a row, do we smell or something? I think I showered.

And she says this in front of the other guy and the NEW Marketing guy.

I said, yup, I am too big for you guys. And however you wanna take it is up to you.

So I feel uncomfortable about this and I'm not sure if I should say something to her about it... cause I don't appreciate it and I think its messed up.

thoughts?

May 24, 2007
12:22 pm
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Shaney
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Hey b -

I know all too well how you feel. It seems, since your promotion everyone is jockying for position, testing you to see how you will relate to them or treat them. I can tell you from experience that you need to nip this right away. The more comments that are made (whether serious or jokingly), the more time that uncomfortable feelings have time to fester - the more issues you'll have and the harder it will be to wrangle it all in. You'll gain more respect if you're up front from the beginning. Be kind and be honest, whatever it is that you decide to say. I wish that I would have sat my friend down and had a serious chat with her. Instead I let things go, hoping the obvious tension would go away. No matter what I said, or didn't say, it was held against me and resentments grew. I wish that I would have explained to her about how uncomfortable I felt, and how happy I felt at the same time about being promoted. I wish that I would have told her that our friendship was important to me, but that I needed to be a manager as well as a friend. I wish that I would made it clear that I wanted to attempt to find that balance with hopes that she would be willing to do the same.

It's workable... it really is. And that's the part that I didn't realize at the time - being a good manager means communicating ALWAYS... even when it's not easy. Sometimes you have to humble yourself and break through the tension with some heart to heart communication. That will be what makes you approachable :o)

May 24, 2007
1:21 pm
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balancesekr
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shaney,

I just don't feel that this girl is my friend. It doesn't sound like it, does it?

This little girl has a CHIP on her shoulder, thinks she knows the right way to do everything... so I can guarantee she is going to have this deer in headlights look when I say something, and she will take the path of that I am over reacting.

I thought that I would talk to her early tomorrow morning b4 anyone is here and just say, I would really appreciate and prefer if you would refrain from making childish remarks to me in front of others here. This is my livelihood and yours, and I take my job seriously.

Or some version of that. I need to stand firm, cause this little bitch takes a football field if you give an inch. I feel a heart to heart won't work, I had a heart to heart the other day with her and that is why I think she is kicking me now.

May 24, 2007
2:21 pm
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Shaney
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Some of my co-workers definitely carried chips on their shoulders, ESPECIALLY after I was promoted. They could say what they wanted about me, but they could never say that I was rude, condescending or unfair. When I read what you wanted to say to her, I sense a bit of anger, or condescension. It may not be your intention, but it sort of comes across like that. "Childish remarks" wont' be taken well, and "I take my job seriously" may imply that SHE doesn't. You know what I mean? You can stand firm and still get your point across without sounding snappy. Maybe something like, "When I got my promotion, I knew there was going to be some sort of transition period where everyone was attempting to adjust to the changes... but I didn't expect that I would have to deal with comments from you that put me on the spot or make me feel bad. Let's just try to be kind and respect one another. After all, we spend 8 hours a day working together - lets try to make it easy.

I don't know.

May 24, 2007
2:28 pm
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Shaney
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One thing that I always considered before I talking to someone in my department, was the fact that that person would more than likely tell another person what I said... maybe even my supervisor. If what I said was done with tact and kindness, then there was nothing that could come back to haunt me. Just wanted to throw that in there for you to consider.

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