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  • My boss gave me a task list

    At a meeting yesterday with the manager of the plant and another senior team leader, my boss gave me a two page typed task list (dated of course!), runs through verbally the inventory of what I have to do, and ends the meeting with the words "I have witnesses!"

    I was humiliated. I know he hasn't been happy with my performance, my last performance review he rated me ok but gave me a warning that I had to pull my socks up. Twice he's used team meetings as an opportunity to tell me off about my progress. Now he's upping the pressure stakes by doing it in front of other groups.
    I feel too upset to go to work today, although I will probably work from another office today.
    Last night I yelled at my kid when I found he wasn't asleep, an overreaction because I was upset at my boss, so then my husband was angry with me and didn't give me any support.
    I'm at least 6 months behind in my work and have no idea how to catch up and get things done on time. And it's all getting to crunch time and is all due in the next month or two.

    I'm worried he's accumulating evidence of my bad performance by doing the dated task list. I'm wondering if I should start emailing him progress on work, so he knows what I'm doing and leaves me alone. But will he use the emails against me? I know he would print them out.

  • #2
    Wow! Well, if I may be a bit bold here, that certainly doesn't sound like a very functional environment you are working in. Despite a person's performance, no one deserves to be called out like that. Not trying to give you career advice but I would seriously be looking for another place to work if that were me. Maybe I've become a bit spoiled at my place of employment but even when you need to coach someone on their performance, it's done with respect.

    You didn't specifiy in your note but are you already a GTD practitioner and have fallen off the wagon or are you new to GTD?

    Comment


    • #3
      Agree with the last post. You should try and get very clear in your mind that you can be in control of the situation. When you do that, there are a few outcomes:
      - If there genuinely are performance problems, you can 'front up' to them and get a plan to deal with them. If you're not clear what they are (it sounds like your boss is humiliating via symptoms, not attempting to address the root of what his/her problem is), then arrange for a meeting - ideally in a less formal environment, eg over a coffee - to allow you to properly understand what you need to improve
      - If it's just that your boss is a twat, then ultimately you have the 'stay/go' decision in your hands. Firstly think through if other people work well with your boss and why/how, and also think about what you would do next. I don't know where in the world you are but certainly in most places the job market is not easy at the moment, so focus on lining up your next job first
      - In terms of more broadly how you operate, make sure you've deployed GTD well, so that you know exactly what, where and how you should do things. For things like a long task list - is it all new material, or are these tasks you already know about? If all new tasks, then you and your boss need to be realistic about how much you can get done. If your boss is completely unreasonable about this, then discuss it with their boss or HR

      It certainly sounds like a bad spot you're in. Wishing you the best with resolving it!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Suelin23 View Post
        At a meeting yesterday with the manager of the plant and another senior team leader, my boss gave me a two page typed task list (dated of course!), runs through verbally the inventory of what I have to do, and ends the meeting with the words "I have witnesses!"
        I've worked with a manager who was just like this. It's a pathetic way to manage staff and unless this person moves on soon, I would assume that your relationship with him is probably not retrievable and it's not the sort of work environment that you'd want to remain in anyway.

        Given that the employment situation in Australia is currently quite good I would suggest you triage the situation at work as much as possible while getting your name out to a few relevant employment agencies, update your LinkedIn profile, get onto SEEK, etc.

        Good luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Suelin23 View Post
          I'm worried he's accumulating evidence of my bad performance by doing the dated task list. I'm wondering if I should start emailing him progress on work, so he knows what I'm doing and leaves me alone. But will he use the emails against me? I know he would print them out.
          I'm very sorry, but yes, you must assume he is building a case to fire you. I don't know anything about Australian law and regulations, but you should find out. You probably want to document everything. You should assume anything on your work computers is available to your boss. Ask politely about due dates for every item, meet them if possible, and document exactly why you can't meet them if it's not possible. And start making plan B. It's time for your best GTD skills.

          Comment


          • #6
            My Take

            Although I don't live in Australia and don't know your laws regarding employment, I would agree that it does sound as if your position there is coming to an end soon. I'm so sorry. I've seen managers like this in both my corporate life and now in my consulting practice and they don't ultimately succeed (take some comfort in that), but you won't likely be able to alter the situation in a short period of time either. I remember your posts from about a year ago regarding your inability to connect with him, so talking this through, enlisting his help, or any of those other communication-based solutions aren't likely to work for you now.

            So take a deep breath, learn what you can from this, keep your cool and do your best to get your work done. If you do lose your job, go out with grace and dignity, turn the page on this as quickly as you can, and find a job and a boss that will fit with you better. Who knows? A year from now you may see this as the best thing that ever happened to you! Sometimes we need something outside of ourselves to move us along from a position that isn't really working for us.

            Best of luck!
            Last edited by Barb; 05-18-2012, 04:02 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Act now!

              Originally posted by Suelin23 View Post
              At a meeting yesterday with the manager of the plant and another senior team leader, my boss gave me a two page typed task list (dated of course!), runs through verbally the inventory of what I have to do, and ends the meeting with the words "I have witnesses!"
              (...)
              I'm worried he's accumulating evidence of my bad performance by doing the dated task list. I'm wondering if I should start emailing him progress on work, so he knows what I'm doing and leaves me alone. But will he use the emails against me? I know he would print them out.
              1. It's not professional to manage subordinates in this way (unless your boss is Steve Jobs ). It is not a management - it's a management theathre meant to make him feel better.
              2. Don't worry that he's accumulating evidence of your bad performance. You can be sure that he does it so there's nothing to worry about.
              3. Act now! Update your CV and look for next opportunities but without a hurry.
              4. Analyse the task list your boss gave you and give him your deadline estimates for each task.
              ...and NO - he will not leave you alone because you send him some e-mails.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'd agree, that, even if you work miracles and get caught up, he'll always be on your back. He sounds like an awful boss! I'm also certain the stress levels are doing you no good whatsoever. Sometimes a fresh start can be a good thing.

                Originally posted by Suelin23 View Post
                I'm at least 6 months behind in my work and have no idea how to catch up and get things done on time. And it's all getting to crunch time and is all due in the next month or two.
                In the meantime, was all of that 6 months work on that list? If not, could you compile all of your lists, and get some time with him - ask him for his priorities and which he'd like you do first. If he's micromanaging to the degree that he's giving you a detailed list, then he sounds like a bit of a control freak. Feeling like he's in control of what you're doing might make him feel better, and get him off your back a bit while you find something better.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm so sorry to hear you are in such a tough situation. I know exactly what it is like to have a really difficult boss. Over 10 years ago I was in the same situation, where my contract was coming to an end and my boss was, to put it short, a tyrant. When she had a bad day, I had a worse one...
                  I moved to a new job after being made redundant and haven't looked back...

                  I so hope that it works out for you. All the best.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What would he do with these tasks if Suelin23 suddenly disappeared?

                    Originally posted by vbampton View Post
                    If not, could you compile all of your lists, and get some time with him - ask him for his priorities and which he'd like you do first. If he's micromanaging to the degree that he's giving you a detailed list, then he sounds like a bit of a control freak. Feeling like he's in control of what you're doing might make him feel better, and get him off your back a bit while you find something better.
                    Unfortunatelly you treat Suelin23's boss like a goal-oriented, reasonable person. But apparently he's not.

                    Suelin23 will go to talk about priorities and I'm sure he'll say that everything on this list is important (because he deals only with the important stuff) and it should have been done already. Or six months ago.

                    One important question to ask is: what would he do with these tasks if Suelin23 suddenly disappeared?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You've gotten great advice thus far. Can I ask you to also help the company by having an exit interview with your boss's boss when you do leave?

                      I'm working with a group who is in the process of firing a similar boss, but part of the frustration is knowing that this situation has gone on for a long time and not many employees let supervisors know. If more had done exit interviews, the person would have been gone much quicker.

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                      • #12
                        It's a bit cheesy, but in a book called "The Four Agreements" by Ruiz, the first agreement is to "be impeccable", by which he literally means "to be without sin."

                        His basic idea is that if you honestly do the very best job you can, then really you have nothing to fear from criticism. If you've done the best you can and that just isn't good enough, then it's in everyone's best interest to get someone else for the job.



                        Cheers,
                        Roger

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          There is definitely some great advice in this thread - I was reading through and nodding pretty much all the way through.

                          The only other thing I thought of was what I heard Meg Edwards say in one of the GTD Connect podcasts that's always stayed with me. And that is that you don't have problems, you have projects. So as a GTD practitioner I think it's important to remember that you should turn it into a project. And of course, the first step is to define your successful outcome - is it finding a new job, is it finding a way to exist in this environment because there's isn't anything else right now, or a combination of the two, and so forth. Once you've defined that then you figure out the next action or actions.

                          I think sometimes when emotions are high, it really helps to rely on what you've learned in GTD. And remember, that a research / look into project is just as acceptable an answer as all the above ideas. And perhaps asking the GTD Connect community for ideas was already your next action ... I don't know. The important thing is that you define a successful outcome, and then the next action. At least then, you've made a choice about what to do, or start to do, about it ... AND you're doing something. And hopefully that way you've captured what has your attention, you've channeled it into a project and instead of it spilling out in anger at other people, it's channeled into your next actions.

                          Good luck - that just sounds like a miserable way to spend 40 hours a week.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            sounds a little woo-woo

                            I just had this vision of our gal meeting with her boss, going over her projects and timelines... with an ARMY of GTD Connect members standing around her. Some are armed with ball point pens, others with labelers, all ready to collect and process her boss... whatever that entails.

                            You go, girl! We're behind you!

                            Dena

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by artsinaction View Post
                              I just had this vision of our gal meeting with her boss, going over her projects and timelines... with an ARMY of GTD Connect members standing around her. Some are armed with ball point pens, others with labelers, all ready to collect and process her boss... whatever that entails.
                              What a great picture! Well said Dena!

                              Comment

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