Office politics a no no

Tis a Sunday for a weekend post.  I slacked off on Friday and didn’t post but I need some advice like rull bad so thus – a weekend post! Hooray!

I didn’t get up at 3am to watch the Royal Wedding like Lucky did, but I have been catching the repeats all weekend.  I don’t envy Kate Middleton as much as I envy Harry’s girlfriend Chelsy Davy.  Will is the guy we all know we should like because he is straight laced and a gentleman, but bad boy Harry is just so freaking cute.  And still on the market.   Lucky, switch up our trip to Italy for London?

This whole Royal Wedding thing has made me take a look at my own life though, I just loved the ceremony and all of the traditions they took part in.  It was so formal and not at all American which is why it screams class.  The fact that they waited until they got to Buckingham Palace before they even had their first kiss is just precious.  I want that.  But it’ll never happen, because I’m American and in America if you’re not all over your new spouse at the wedding people whisper and think you don’t love each other.  Ughhh…. eff this country.  Anyway, in honor of the holiday and from now to eternity please refer to Lucky and I by our Royal names honorably given to us by E!’s Royal Name generator:

Princess Gizzy Arabella Ingleshirecott of New Yorksburgh and Dame Lucky Tildsley De Sotocock of New Yorkport

But, on to my real problem: work.  Things seem to be getting easier every day, I’m still learning a lot and hate pretty much everyone I work with but I feel like I get a hell of a lot more than anyone else accomplished and I’m almost to the point where I can sit at my desk and google fun things until I get an email of someone asking me to do something, then I can start working.  

So there’s this part time lady, we’ll call her Corned Beef.  There are 4 other people that hold the same position I’m in, and a few years ago Corned Beef was one of us, she wasn’t at my desk but when the guy who sat at my desk suddenly got fired last year everyone pitched in to pick up the slack until they hired me 9 months later.  Corned Beef only works 2 days a week so she misses a big majority of the drama that happens with our accounts while she’s not working.  The past few weeks she’s been working on these reports basically to make sure we’re all doing everything correctly.  She had come to me about a few things that I was putting into the system wrong, I took note of it and we all went on our marry day.  Until Friday morning when I got to the office and saw she had sent this email Thursday night:

Hi Gizzy,
Since I know you bring your lunch I wanted to ask in advance if you would like to go for lunch next week.  I have a few things that I have found that are work related that I want to discuss with you and would prefer to not do that in the office.  Don’t be afraid…..there are things that I have found while doing the exception reports that I want to go over with you and some other office politics items.  I must admit that going through those reports is down rite mundane, but at the same time very enlightening!
I don’t know if you have been to the cafeteria for lunch, if not they have a big selection of items and the food is good, but expensive.  Consider lunch on me, since I am inviting and it will be considered part of training.  Let me know if Tues. or Thurs. is better for you.

Corned Beef

I know what you’re all thinking, Gizzy you’re such a tool that email is not bad at all she is trying to help you, which is exactly what Anth and JM told me when I got home Friday night and made them analyze it with me.  But, I am pretty sensitive to any kind of criticism when it comes to my work, I take detailed notes on EVERYTHING and ask a lot of questions and take work very seriously because if something goes wrong I am going to make sure it wasn’t my fault – to the point where I have a hard time making friends in the office (as you can clearly see by now.) People always tell me that I’m too serious and need to take a break and go outside and get some fresh air.  Uhhh no, because not taking breaks means I can leave half an hour earlier.  And that’s what this is all for, so I can come home and lay in my bed.  Seriously, once I have all of my student loans paid off and buy myself a new car I’m quitting my job and getting one where I only have to work 15 hours a week that just pays my rent and utilities.  

But anyway, Cocktails At Tiffany’s readers this is where I am reaching out to you.  What do you guys think this email means?  Did I fuck up so badly that she has to take me to lunch to tell me I’m about to get fired? Is she trying to shit talk Cigarello because he taught me how to do everything wrong and doesn’t want him to hear? What are the office politics about!? They’ve already told me there’s not much room for promotion so they don’t expect me to stay more than 2 years, so how could there possibly be office politics involved at all? I don’t talk to anyone so I’m not manipulating people.  This all just seems so weird to me.

Lucky did some analyzing with me Friday morning while she was at her work retreat, and I told her that I don’t think the lady is trying to be malicious or rude because she’s really my only friend at the office.  But, I don’t understand why it needs to be taken outside of the office when we have conference rooms and empty offices we could easily talk in.  Lucky pointed out that it’s inappropriate that she’s taking it outside of the office, and I agree.  Especially if she’s going to tell me I’m doing a bunch of things wrong, I understand not wanting to embarrass me in front of anyone else, but I also feel like if I’m doing things wrong my boss needs to call me into her office to talk to me about it, not someone who is there 2 days a week and who is essentially below me and one of my assistants on our work totem pole.  

The “lunch meeting” is on Tuesday, so bring on your thoughts.  I need to prepare myself for anything that could fly my way Tuesday afternoon.

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13 thoughts on “Office politics a no no

  1. mairedubhtx says:

    Not to upset you, but I don’t think it sounds good. She probably doesn’t like the way you’re doing something or interacting with someone in the office. Doesn’t sound like she can fire you but she doesn’t like something. That’s what it sounds like to me.

    • I know that’s what I thought too! She hasn’t been afraid to tell me things I’ve been doing wrong in the past so I don’t know why this time would be any different. Ugh! Thanks for the advice!
      -Gizzy

  2. justmarriedgirl says:

    I have a couple of ideas about this subject, so I’m just going to apologize in advance for the crazy long comment.

    In my mind, this could go a few ways, but I’m going to stick to two of the most probable scenarios: (1) This woman really is on your side and wants to help you, or (2) this woman thinks very highly of herself, has been there a long time and wants to treat you like a mom/mentor but yet also has a secret agenda.

    (1) I don’t think it’s entirely inappropriate to meet outside the office and discuss office things. For example, if my co-workers and I want to discuss something private, we go for a walk or go to the coffee shop or cafeteria. Basically, if you don’t want anyone to hear what you’re saying, it’s best to say things out of the ear shot of others, and all of the aforementioned activities lend themselves to privacy. If she is really on your side, she might want to warn you about people in the office who aren’t on your side or things that have been going on for a while in the company that you might want to avoid. She just might want to enlighten you about some people or things, and the safest place to do this is away from your office. Example: A well-intentioned co-worker once warned me to stay clear of another who was in-sane. I was including the latter on emails and projects, and I didn’t know that this would be a terrible idea. It was some of the best advice I got as a new employee.

    (2) This woman has worked with your company for a while and thinks very highly of herself. She considers herself an expert and loves drama and gossip. She may or may not have your best interest at heart, but you can never be quite sure. She may think she’s being your buddy by going to lunch with you. She wants to tell you about your mistakes away from the office because she doesn’t want to embarrass you OR she wants to do it out of the earshot of others because what she tells you may not be entirely true. She will give you advice under the guise that she has your best interest in mind. You will feel so happy to have such a great pal at work and will confide in her. She may or may not use this against you. She may or may not give you faulty advice. The best thing to do is to listen to what she has to say, to be polite, but to not share any secret feelings, worries, insecurities or gossip with her. When she gives you advice, take it down in a notebook or in your very good memory, then do some sneaky checking on your own to be sure this is real advice. Example: I once worked with a colleague who seemed perfectly nice, but of course, she knew EVERYTHING. She was very negative and critical of everyone, and she’d often give me bad advice. It wouldn’t get me in trouble, but it wouldn’t help either. I don’t think she was completely malicious; in fact, in her mind, I think she thought she was being helpful. But I learned to jut listen to her (she had some street cred, so I didn’t want to blow her off and become an office outcast), and then, I would just do what felt right.

    Whether it’s (1) or (2), I think you’ll be fine. If it’s a worse case scenario and you find that she’s reporting on you to the boss or something, just be sure you have excellent notes of all meetings (dates, times, what was said, etc). But, I’m not quite convinced that is what’s going on. My guess is that she’s on her own little power trip and just feels like she wants to “help”. Office politics are stupid, but unfortunately, even if there’s nothing to gain, people love to play them. I think it’s always best to stay neutral and to be a common denominator than to stand out for being too vocal or too much of an outcast. If you’re on no one’s radar, people will just leave you alone, and that’s the best scenario of all.

    Good luck! Be strong! Admit NOTHING!

    • Ohh Gina, have I ever told you how much I love you? Because I do, you’re amazing and you give the best advice!

      I think both of these scenarios are entirely possible. So far this lady has been there to help me, she’s taught me a lot and told me the correct way (the way my boss wants things done) to do things after people who originally trained me had told me the wrong way to do things. She even answers my emails from home on days she’s not at work.

      But! I forgot to mention something important, she is a temporary employee and now that my position has been filled when her temporary employee status is up she may not be needed anymore, and they might let her go. Her status was just renewed so she has until March 31, 2012 but still, who knows, maybe she’s going to tell me to do a bunch of stuff wrong so she can have some job security. I don’t think she seems like a bad or malicious person, but I’m starting to think that maybe whatever she tells me I should take my notes to my boss and just “double check” about everything. Ahh we’ll see, thanks as always for your advice!!!
      -G

  3. Lucky says:

    I agree with Gina, for the most part. I am standing by my ground that taking things outside of the office isn’t right. I am a fan of honesty, so if she has something to say about work, she needs to say it on office territory, in a professional setting, during work hours. Write down everything she says and don’t say anything you want repeated.

    I doubt it’s anything too serious, but it could be the start of serious shit stirring.

    -L

  4. Matthew says:

    Interesting.

    It seems like it could going either way…in a way.

    I can see a genuine notion of wanting to take it outside of the office just to make things more casual (because I know in my office when a couple of us go into one of the many conference rooms the people on the outside of those doors start talking and speculating).

    However, if a lot of it is work related it should not really be taken too far out.

    I guess a lot of it also depends exactly how much “power” she has, besides possibly seniority. Is she taking it has her own personal responsibility to “critique” your work or did someone higher up ask her to do so?

    Guess it’s fairly difficult to tell without being in the situation.

    But no sirens are going off so it sounds innocent enough.

    • Yeah you bring some good points to the table. She doesn’t really have any seniority over me, yeah she has been there longer but essentially her position is below mine.

      She has been running reports and can tell if things we’re doing are wrong. Which I’m sure a lot of mine are because I wasn’t trained properly, she knows that and has had no problem coming to me before and telling me about things she’s found I’ve been doing wrong. So that’s why I’m stumped. Hrmm… so mind boggling! Thanks for the tips!
      -Gizzy

  5. Melissa says:

    I would find it hard to take a boss seriously who would spell right as “rite” and therefore think you have nothing to worry about.

    Well, also, when I was being “counseled” by my manager for errors I was making (it was complete BS, but that’s irrelevant), the emails I received looked nothing like that…

    She probably just wants to tell you that people would like you better if you were more social or something, which seriously doesn’t matter anyway. (And is also criticism I’ve received from my boss at one point. “This is just my personality.”)

    • Yeah that’s exactly what I’m going to say. I’m not there to be social so I don’t really care if they like me. I’m sure that sounds bitchy but oh well, I don’t plan on being there long. Thanks for the advice!
      -GIzzy

  6. call guy says:

    Doesn’t sound bad at all to me and I’m by my own admission a cynical, pessamistic worrier!

    Hope it goes well.

  7. […] It’s the moment you’ve all been sitting on the edge of your chairs waiting for since Tuesday.  Drum roll please…. MY LUNCH WITH CORNED BEEF.  Annnd the crowd roaaars.  I’ve been wining and dining myself tonight, clearly.  But on to the story…if you haven’t read my post from last week about an email I got from a co-worker it may be helpful to catch up on the situation. […]

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