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Monday, March 19, 2007

Retire, Please?

Hi –

I have a question. I was called in to interview for a position as Office Manager and offered the job. (I had previously worked at this office years ago and they contacted me.) The office manager at the time was going to semi retire for a year (work one day a week) and then retired. She is still here 3 years later. The office is her “place to go and talk” each week. The managing partners defer to her on all personal and personnel matters. She is a very nice person, but she consistently talks, disrupts the office and must be taught how to do a job that she was doing for 16 years. Today was her work day. She talked all day. I tried to ignore her and be polite. The tension showed on my face. My boss asked me what was wrong. I mentioned that it was difficult to get work done sometimes when this particular person is around. I was told to get over it. How do I deal with this? I’m clearly not being taken seriously or given the same respect. Please help.


The NEW Office Manager

Dear New Office Manager,

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you're going to either have to "deal" with it or find a new job. My guess is that the old (ha!) office manager took on a mother-type role and that your boss is a mama's boy.

You shouldn't date mama's boys, and, in this case, you shouldn't work for them.

Now, if the other 4 days a week everything is fine, then you can probably endure her once a week visit. Plan for a day when you will not be productive at all, and try to just let it slide off you.

If the 4 days she's not there involve people saying, "let's wait until Marge comes in before we make that decision" then your life is much more difficult.

Since the managing partners defer to her on important decisions, I think your life is very difficult. You've expressed your feelings and been told to get over it. Unfortunately, you're going to have to do this. I think your best option is to get over it by getting a new job.

Ironically, that may be the only thing that wakes everyone up to the negative impact the retired office manager is having.

I'm sorry I don't have a set of magic words for you. If you decide the job is worth the pain, have a sit down talk with your problem. Explain that you find it difficult to do your job, since everyone defers to her. If she's truly nice, she may back off.

Good luck, and of course, if any of my readers have suggestions, please let this new office manager know.


Evil HR Lady


Anonymous said...

I completely agree with your answer - if I complained of a problem like that to my boss and he said "get over it", I'd be updating my resume and starting to look for another job.

Then, with another offer on the table, I might decide to sit down and talk about the problem with the boss, but ready to quit if it wasn't immediately solved. I think the writer has the right to be annoyed, especially when the deal was for one year of semi retirement, and it's been 3 already.

Mike Doughty said...

After three years, this situation isn't going to change. Three years is certainly long enough for you to have established credibility with your boss and established your worth to the organization. With a response like you got ("get over it"), I think it's pretty clear where you stand. Grit your teeth and IMMEDIATELY start looking for another job. Life's too short to put up with this kind of crap.