Thursday, October 30, 2008

Being The Boss' Girlfriend

Few roles in the workplace will undermine a woman's credibility as much as "being the boss' girlfriend". Certainly from conception, I have had privy to knowledge and information about this company that only The Partners know. I have been Chris' sounding board for ideas and listened to the ongoing personnel problems as My Honey's company grew at an astronomical rate. But I have never been actively been involved in any aspect of the business(except maybe that profit sharing thing-LOL). When things took off, they just exploded and the proper policies and people were not in place to handle everything effectively.

The current Office Manager is the wife of the Sales Manager. She basically came in as a Casual Employee-just part-time to help keep the office paper work from piling up. She's a nice lady. She was an obvious choice to start out with because she does have experience. Her husband was supposed to be in the process of hiring someone, but of course, once he got his wife in, he just never got around to doing that. She has quickly worked herself into a full-time position and is desperately trying to make herself invaluable. Her biggest downfall is that she constantly wants those pats on the back for doing what she is paid to do, no matter how routine. She has an annoying tendency to want to chitchat for long periods of time, about nothing. Or, she will continually ask for clarification on the same thing over and over.

The Safety/HR Manager is a recent hire. She unfortunately came on board after the last Safety Manager managed to mess quite a few things up. In her defense, she did have some issues to deal with right off the bat, but I feel that she has surely had sufficient time to resolve those issues and should have been on top of producing this Policies and Procedures Manual. Other than that My Honey has been impressed with her work and likes her.

So with that perspective, I can't say that it was ever my intention to walk into the office and start cracking the whip. Initially, Chris had asked me to come down and simply watch the office and answer the phones so the Office Manager(OM) and her husband, the Sales Manager(SM) could take a few days off. It was short notice because last week, the SM told Chris they needed some time off. No problem right?

Since there have been a few issues with just how things were being run, we both thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to do what I do, really well...and that is snoop into things. I'm a good snoop when I want to be. Since Chris' spidy senses have been telling him that things are not what they seem, he just wanted a second opinion and some outside insight into how things are being handled.

Once the SM and his wife heard that Chris had everything covered, so they could take their days off....they reneged and said that actually it would be the following week that they needed days off. Huh? Nothing like sending up a huge, red flag!! We can't pinpoint what is going on, but something certainly is.

I really, really don't like it when people try to reinvent the wheel or make normal business processes difficult to understand. There is only two reasons why people do things like that...1)They are trying to hide information or 2)They are incompetent and feel that they are making themselves indispensable. Guess what? Either way, your days are numbered. The wife...she is going to be gone. She's a nice lady...she helped out, at first. Now she is a liability and causing more issues than she is resolving. The Sales Manager? Not sure how that is going to play out. Once the policies and procedures are in place, he will have to make the choice to step up to the plate and do what he is paid to do(and I might add...he is VERY well paid) or he will find himself looking for another job too.

The Safety/HR Manager? I think if she does not take my interference personally, she will be just fine.

There is one more player in this little saga that I haven't had the "pleasure" of dealing with yet. She is the Payroll/Billing Manager in South Dakota. She technically works for Chris' partners and has been involved from the beginning. She has been a huge thorn in My Honey's side and would have liked to see her GONE a long time ago. She is the person who is instigating all of these little power struggles. She has not wanted to share information or relinquish control of processes that she used to be in charge of. Ideally my goal is to get everything away from her and she can go back to doing whatever she does for the other partners. I guess I would settle for letting her continue to do payroll and billing, but she had better get a better attitude(not likely) or she will not like me showing up at her office-heehee.

I guess somewhere along the line, I realized that being the only person who can do the job does not make you invaluable. You become valuable by doing the best job you can. If you make mistakes, you cannot constantly deny or try to shift blame. I think this is most women's biggest downfall in the work environment. Women HATE....HATE to make mistakes that other people find out about. Self-confidence is such a huge issue for a lot of women too. Women often make the mistake of tying their confidence level with their performance. Have you ever noticed that a truly self-confident woman seldom blames others, even if others are the one's at fault? They take the attitude that they should have paid more attention and caught the mistake. They may tactfully point out errors that came after them, but they just don't get caught up in the "blame game".

Women who lack self-confidence are the first ones to point the finger at someone else, everything that doesn't go just right is always someone else's fault. They have screwy methods of doing things, with the twisted thought that if they keep things confusing enough, that they are creating job security because they are the only ones who can find or process a bit of information. This method only works if you have a boss who has no interest in finding anything themselves, ever! But if other people have to locate information, eventually they get tired of jumping through those hoops and your gone and someone is brought in who will use at least the basic office methods that most people understand.

As for me? I stayed home today...worked on painting the ceilings, cleaning the home office in preparation for painting that and still managed for whip out about 3/4th's of the Policies and Procedures Manual, all before noon. Super woman? No, it was just that darn easy to do and now they should all be a little worried that "the boss' girlfriend" can accomplish in a couple of days what they haven't been able to do in months!!


Adventures Of A Horse Crazed Mind said...

Wow! You said a whole lot of things there. I find that at times like these I always seem to think and act as a thinking of the people around me as I would of a herd of horses or in horse training...pecking order and dominance levels, and even in breeds (I know a lady that is a shetland pony through and through) lol Horses are so rational (in the simplicity of why they do what they do) that I use them to rationalize the often irrational outside world. Do you do that? I also find I use the same subtle pressure tactics to get things done...until the shit needs to go down and you then you MAKE it happen by cracking that whip. lol Rewarding a try and make the wrong thing uncomfortable.

Sounds like this shake up has been a long time in the making. I have a personal pet peeve with home-er jobs...It will be really interesting to see what comes out in the wash! Watch your back...I feel some eyes on it!

Callie said...

You're right. Confidence equals accountability. If you are confident then you can be accountable without a blame game. I have to be at my job, but I've been doin' it for twenty years. Confidence and accountability also flows through to the confidence that a client may have in your ability to get the job done. Well, done, almost there with the P&P handbook! Sounds like it's about time!

Paige said...

and there is nothing worse than a power-crazed woman--especially when it is manufactured power like you are talking about.

Like Lil hitler in my office. she is killing me

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Horse Crazed-I have a tendency to think of everything in "horse terms"-LOL. The biggest difference I see between women guarding their turf and horses is that women can be quite manipulative.
I think one of the reasons I have always preferred to deal with horses is because horses start out complex and as you get to know them they become simpler. People start out simple and become complex. While it is wonderful to have intelligent, diverse and complex people friends-the good kind are hard to find and you spend a lot of time wading through the crazy, unbalanced, complex kind.

Maybe that is why a lot of us enjoy blogging so much. We get to enjoy a diversity of intelliegent and interesting people but we don't have to deal with the "crazy". One click and they are gone. that is an interesting thought.

Callie-That computer program that they had at their fingertips is absolutely awesome. It covers almost everything-the only tweaking that will have to be done is some oil field specific items.

C-ingspots said...

Oh boy, you're right about women being manipulative. I usually enjoy working with men over women any day. I don't envy you at all - don't forget to wear your thick skin on those days!! And I agree with you about seeing things in horse terms - so much more honest and straightforward. I'd never thought about your perspective on people vs horses though - the people starting out simple and going complex thing...very right on! Have fun!!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

That's great that you can get it done. I got into my current career by accident when my husband's company hired a team of contractors to put together a document, and several months later they were still plotting out ideas on the whiteboard. So, my husband told his boss that I am a writer and could probably crank that document out in a week. They brought me in and I did it by the deadline all by myself. I was awarded a permanent position after that, and have been invited back to work for other companies started by the same investors several times since.

Anonymous said...

I have to say as someone with some audit experience, the SM and wife's behavior is a bit fishy. People who are never comfortable leaving the office in someone else's hands and scrutiny sometimes have something to hide. It might be nothing, but it's a red flag either way.

cdncowgirl said...

I had a similar problem, and in some ways it still rears its ugly head.
I found it very difficult to get the respect of the staff when I came to work at Pie's family's restaurant. The staff figured I was just here because I married into the family.
Truth is I've never had a job that wasn't in some way a customer service job. And I'm pretty darn good at it (usually... lack of vacation's is causing burnout problems)
I noticed there was a major shift in that poor attitude when word got out that the most recent staff to be fired were fired by ME. MY decision and that *I* was the one to deliver the news.
(not that I enjoy firing people, but those 2 REALLY were due)

Andrea said...

Woman are just down right mean. That is why horses and I get along a lot better then I do with most woman!!

Have fun painting!!

Natarojo said...

Hence why I went from working up in the front office in sales, to working in the back with the support staff. Mostly the guys. Such a relaxed atmosphere in comparison. Nobody is in a power struggle. And I can still shine at what I am doing. Women can bo rather vindictive and love to be considered invaluable. Don't forget, nobody is irreplaceable. I'll take the horses any day!