Fun As A Manager…Part 2

So I have this delicate problem, with an employee in my office who, not to put too fine a point on it, talks too much.  As if that weren’t enough, she whines about everything.  Every day she comes in with a big bright smile, but it goes downhill from there.  She is too hot, she’s too cold (move to Iowa already, then you’d have something to complain about), it’s too humid, it has rained too much to mow the lawn and the grass is too tall, her knees hurt, her back hurts, and her head hurts.  And then, it takes her at least an hour to report what she had for dinner the night before, what movie she saw (and how much that movie reminds her of this OTHER movie she saw), and what her live-in boyfriend Keith said.  (It’s a wonder he can say anything.)

As I know well, you cannot change or “manage” a person’s nature, and I wouldn’t even want to.

But last week it sort of came to a head when she (her name is Kitty) said she was too hot.  Then she went to the restroom, which is right next to the thermostat, and said No wonder!  It’s 76 degrees in here!  OMG…call the paramedics.  P.S. The energy experts encourage us to set the thermostat at 78 in the summer.  Which I think is too extreme, even for me.  And P.P.S., it was about 82 outside at the time.

So I said, Tough.  She said, did you just say “Tough?” I replied, I’ll set the thermostat a degree or two cooler, but it seems to me that you are rarely happy.  She said, I don’t think that’s true, but I guess that’s your perception.  I used to be uncomfortable with this concept, but these days I want to say, What part of my perception being the one that counts do you have a problem with?

At the time I made the comment, there were three other people in the office.  Two of them were instantly engrossed in…something else.  I look over at the third person, my assistant manager, and she is desperately trying to wipe a smile off her face.  Like thank you God, finally somebody said something. She finally had to leave the office because she knew she wasn’t going to be able to keep it together.

Then guess what happens?  Kitty immediately jumps up and follows her, without a doubt to complain how mean and cruel I am..  I bet on that happening, and too bad it isn’t the lottery, because I would be a millionaire now.  I love my assistant manager, but she has this tendency to be  maternal.  She seems to forget that these people are adults. Even when she agrees with me (as in this case), she tends to listen non-judgementally.  Which in real life is a pretty good quality.   In management life, not so much.  One day she too will have the opportunity to get screwed by people she worked hard to understand and accomodate.

So two or three days after the “You are rarely happy” comment, I pulled the assistant manager outside for a pow-wow and said, I officially can’t take it any more.  I can’t get anythng done from the minute she walks in the door until the minute she leaves.  You have to hand it to the assistant manager.  She said, so do you want to talk to her, or do you want me to?  I would never have demanded that she do it, but I was grateful and relieved when she volunteered.  I said, it would be nice if you did, because Kitty already thinks I’m the Wicked Witch of the West, whereas you are the good witch Glinda.

In the interim, Kitty told us that she has always been a talker. When she was a child, her father told her she must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.  That was probably pretty funny when she was five years old.  Not now.

6 responses to “Fun As A Manager…Part 2

  1. I guess that is why managers get paid the big bucks…they have to put up with the jerk employees. Which is why, after 10 years as a manager, I wasn’t so keen on it. At the risk of being a class snob, I’d think that blue collar workers can be more of a pain than white collar workers. Not always, but a rule of thumb.

    > set the thermostat at 78 in the summer.

    I make Susie suffer with 80. But, there’s a ceiling fan so that helps keep her cooler. And, we have good insulation.

  2. sc, my sister would agree with you. Having been offered a job in management, she declined,mostly for the reasons you cite…she didn’t want to deal with idiots.Like you , she’s done it too. It’s also true that in her field, the technical people tend to make way more money than the managers. Kind of like football coaches.
    And you are a class snob 🙂 Why try to deny it at this late date 🙂 But I’d say you have it backwards. White-collar people have more excuses.
    Poor Susie! I would have thought that as thin as she is, she would like 80 and she would be freezing with much less.

    • > And you are a class snob

      I will confess that it is difficult to overcome your upbringing….lol!
      But I’m not voting Romney! (Not that Obama has done much to warrant re-election.) If it wasn’t going to be close, I’d vote Libertarian.

  3. My office is really casual, and I’m pretty casual. I sexually harass Jill, my assistant all the time…..she gives it right back. I’ve got a couple of others in the office that have assorted neuroses, gambling problems, 1 closet drinker, a 24 year old kid that smokes three joints a day. I put up with it because they show up on time, don’t call out, sort of do a decent job, and don’t rip me off. For this loyalty and diligence, I pay their insurance(health and life), have a defined retirement plan, and also loan money, bail out of Jail for multiple unpaid speeding tickets, have great parties, celebrate birthdays, holidays, etc.

  4. ” I love my assistant manager, but she has this tendency to be maternal.”

    I believe every office should have a designated office Mom, whether official or unofficial. I strove to facilitate that during my working career. Takes a lot of pressure off the communication process between management and non management personnel.

    I’m curious about something in your office. Do you have metrics that you are held accountable for? If so do your employees? Again if so, do you operate an annual or periodic evaluation on these metrics?

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