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I'm ready to call it quits. Unfortunately, I owe the company another year's time because they paid for my tuition...
I work for a rather large company in a small community. There are 6 of us in the Accounting department. Five of us get along famously, and none of us care for the other person. I know it sounds like we are all ganging up on her, I thought that too for quite some time, but I've come to discover differently. Unfortunately, she's my direct supervisor, as she loves to remind people.
I've been with this company for 2 1/2 years. During this course of time the five of us have attempted talking with the department manager, and we were told to handle it amongst ourselves. We have had a closed door session and that didn't work. I requested a partition be put up between her and I. The very day I requested the partition she and I had a screaming match.
She was recently given a title as A/P Supervisor to protect her seniority, and it's only a title is what the rest of us were told. I recently received my Bachelors Degree in Accounting. She has gone around telling people that my degree is worthless and that she is my supervisor. Yes, and she has the same amount of experience as me, but has been with the company for longer, and has only a certificate from a business school.
The woman is very unprofessional. She's very good at the disappearing act. She does nothing to assist when one of us is out sick. She's very lazy. In fact, most of the time she is at work she's playing on the Internet. But then she makes it a point to let people know when she's taking work home with her (As if she's doing extra). We fill out yearly surveys on employee satisfaction, anonymously. I spoke my peace on mine, knowing that by the questions they can decipher who is who.
My problem is that I think we should all be treated fairly and someone needs to say something to this person. However, she can do no wrong in management's eyes, and if one of us says anything we are told we are being petty and to handle things amongst ourselves. Talking to her and talking to management has done none of us any good.
I don't know what to do. I'm ready to call it quits. Again, unfortunately, I owe the company another year's time because they paid for my tuition. If I leave before then I would have to pay them back. The job is good, the pay is good, the fairness is non-existent. Please help me!
Don't quit. Yes you have a challenge but I believe the five of you can meet the challenge successfully, in a way that benefits the five of you, your insecure supervisor, the "out-to-lunch" manager and the company. They are lucky to have you on the team.
You say the five of you attempted to talk to the department manager and that you had a closed door meeting. For each, who was present? Was that as a unified group? What was said exactly? What was the tone? If you were the manager/supervisor that heard what you said, how would you have heard what was said and how would you have responded? How would you like the manager and supervisor respectively to respond to you/the group? What do you think the manager and supervisor are feeling? What do you think their needs are?
Now reflecting on what was said, what do you think you/the group can do differently that might generate a positive outcome?
After I get your response, I'll be able to guide you further. This is a complex situation and I don't want to give you a superficial answer. The stakes are high in that your tuition is at stake.
Thanks for writing to Office Politics. Let us know how it works out.
Arnie Herz, Esq.
FOLLOW UP BY ARNIE
It is a complex situation that I can’t solve by giving you a few pieces of advice by email. Management needs to hire a conflict specialist to clear the air and get everyone working as a team. The communication dynamic is impaired and won’t heal on its own. Unfortunately, management does not see it as a big enough problem to address. Perhaps you and your co-workers can speak with the boss again and see if he is willing to speak with me on the phone for 15 minutes. I am happy to provide a free 15 consultation to him.
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