Sunday, June 21, 2009

Promise to tell the truth?

I got a "talking to" at work on Friday. It really pissed me off, and the more I think about it, the madder I become. I got my ass chewed just for being honest. I was told that by telling the truth, I didn't use very good judgment. What is wrong with this picture?

Are they telling me that honesty is not the greatest virtue here at this facility? Obviously yes!

What has happened to the belief that honesty is always best? Perhaps if I explained the situation you would understand.

I do a test here at work that requires me to extract DNA from Staphylococcus aureus that has grown up from a culture plate. I then replicate this DNA and run tests on it to get it's exact DNA fingerprint. I then compair that DNA fingerprint to other Staphylococcus aureus fingerprints from other patients. It is a long laborious process, and I am the only person at this facility that knows how to do it. In February, I am "supposedly" getting a promotion to Supervisor of my department, although, I have to apply and be chosen for the position just like everyone else. But when I was hired on here, I was basically promised the job. After all, they called me for this job, not the other way around. So I have been told that I need to train someone else to do this particular test so that I am not the only person that knows how come February. I choose someone that I get along with, that is a hard worker, and is eager to learn. She is a new tech, fresh out of school, and I like her work ethics. Her only problem is that she doesn't kiss ass, therefore, the powers that be does not like her. I have been working with her for almost a month now, and they tell me last week that I cannot train her anymore. They do not want her performing the test. I didn't understand why. They gave me some BS about not wanting her to spread herself too thin while she was learning. I then ran down the list of all of the other employees and none of them were good candidates. I was frustrated. I already had this girl able to do half of this test on her own and now I would have to start all over with someone new. I was asked into the Chief's office and she explained to me that whomever learns this test must be able and willing to communicate with her. She told me that this girl did not do that. The two of them do not get along and she really didn't want her doing the test. So I had to go back and tell this girl that she would not be able to train on this test anymore. She asked me why, and I told her the truth. I was then told to poll the other employees to see who else was interested in learning. They were confused and asked why I was not training the other girl anymore. I told them that we needed someone that was able and willing to communicate with the Service Chief. Therefore I told them the truth. Later, I was called into the Supervisor's Office. She was not happy with the second (and only person to volunteer to learn) I picked. She told me that she sent out an email to everyone telling them what skills the test required and for anyone interested to contact the Service Chief my next Friday. She then proceeded to tell me that I did not use very good judgment by telling people the truth about all of this. Needless to say, I was very upset. I apparently don't have any right to pick and choose the people to train for this test; a test that I wrote the procedure to, and no one else in this whole state knows how to perform. Plus, I was wrong for telling the truth.

I'm shocked at the lack of moral values displayed here. I too refuse to kiss ass just to get ahead in place. What ever happened to the idea that honesty, hard work and determination is what it takes to get ahead. Instead it's who you know and who you are willing to blow. And that is just disgusting.


just bob said...

Are you telling the truth now or did you just make up this story? ;)

Leah said...

I hate to say it, but a certain amount of ass-kissing makes the work world go round; whether we like it or not, it's expected of us. I didn't like to do it too often when I was still in the workforce, but sometimes it just made my life easier. Anyway, I didn't like to call it ass-kissing, just euphemistically "respect." Whether I respected or not.

kylie said...

i will show respect to the position whether or not i respect the individual but i will not kiss ass just because it's possible.

your judgement should have been respected and the boss should have made a decision to get along with your trainee. that would have been the right thing to do.

also, if they wanted to vet your choice it should have been done before the investment was made

it's a story of poor management and immaturity on their side.

hard work and determination are good things and they will eventually earn the respect they deserve but the short term isnt always so hot

hang in there


the truth shall set you free....

although freedom isnt always what we want, we just dont know that yet...

she didnt like you telling the truth cause it made management look like fools... kudos to you for telling it like it is...

Cece said...

I'm trying to post a new post tonight, but blogger isn't letting upload pics.

Brian Miller said...

thanks for stopping by today! you know it frustrated me to no end when i worked at Citi and the ones that cow towed to every whim moved right along. i got luck, hitched my star to someone that respected hard work and it actually got me somewhere...

padraig said...

Okay, I'm going to make an unpopular comment.

Your boss should be fired, for being a bad manager. And you probably shouldn't be promoted, because you blew it on this one.

You hand picked an employee to be a subordinate. For whatever reason, the person above you does not like your choice.

It is your boss's responsibility to come to you *when* she comes to that realization. You're supposed to be getting a promotion to Supervisor, the Service Chief should present this as a problem for you to solve to prove you can be a Supervisor - "whomever learns this test must be able and willing to communicate with [the Service Chief]"... she should have told you, "I'm having some trouble with your picked choice, here's what the problem(s) are, go fix them." She didn't do that, that's a failure on her part.

Here's the rub; if you want to be Supervisor, you should have talked *exactly about this* when your Service Chief first complained about your choice. "Boss, 'She doesn't communicate' isn't enough information. What isn't she doing? Is she not responding to your emails? Voicemails? Is she not submitting her TPS reports on time? How can I fix it? I will mentor her to give you the sorts of information you need, or otherwise fix the communication problem. You want me to be Supervisor, you're going to have to trust my judgment on the skills of the employees. You have a right to demand that I get them to work in a way that you're comfortable with, because you're the boss... but if you give me this promotion, they're going to be *my* troops. If I have to go back to this person and tell them that they're out of the training, they're going to want to know why, and without giving me a chance to fix the problem I don't really have much to say to her except that you don't like her."

Then you've forced the problem back on the Service Chief's lap. She must now either give you a chance to fix it, or give you tacit permission to tell you that you can tell the girl that the Service Chief doesn't like her. Of course, "the chance to fix it" likely means that both the girl and the Service Chief are going to have to adapt to each other, but that's a different (and equally hard) problem for another thread.

You didn't go to bat for your girl. If you're in a management position, you're the buffer layer between the people that work for you and the people that you work for. It doesn't matter if the people above you are stupid, venal, jealous, insipid, boring, uncommunicative, backbiting, whatever... it's your job to make the people under you happy that they work for YOU, and deal with the misery of the people above you yourself.

If you're going to be a boss, part of that is *forcing* YOUR bosses to be a boss. That means fighting, every step of the way, to make sure that they're treating your people right. Make your Service Chief write out a list of items that the girl needs to work on. Make the Service Chief agree to a time frame for improvement. Make the Service Chief show up to the evaluation and the end of the time frame and put, in writing, her recommendation or criticisms. If the Service Chief won't do that, document it. Every other time the Service Chief doesn't do her job properly, document *that* too. Eventually, take that folder to the Service Chief and call them out on it. You'll probably get fired.

What you did was skip the "make your boss do her job" part and go straight to "your boss didn't do her job, so here's the consequence." In *any* organization, that's going to get you in trouble. By telling everyone the truth, you implicitly accused your boss of being incompetent (which she is, but the truth is neither here nor there in this case), and that's almost never okay... because part of being the "buffer zone" of being a manager or supervisor is that you protect the bosses from the front line workers, too.

padraig said...


> What ever happened to the idea
> that honesty, hard work and
> determination is what it takes
> to get ahead.

I have never, not once in all my years of working, from the blue collar slaughterhouse job all the way to the sittin' around working on million dollar pieces of telecommunications equipment, from non-profits to for-profits to volunteer organizations, not *once* have I ever noticed that honesty, hard work, and determination get you anywhere.

Sales gets you somewhere. Politics gets you somewhere. Communication skills get you somewhere. Negotiation gets you somewhere... at least, if you define "getting somewhere" as upward mobility and bigger paychecks.

Honesty, hard work, and determination make it so that you can live with yourself (which is its own, very important, kind of success). They have nothing to do with either upward mobility or bigger paychecks, unless you work entirely in an organization of people who are determined, honest, hard workers.

Haven't found one yet. Lemme know if you do, it'd be nice to work there.

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