Replying to an "informal chat" at work

Discussion in 'Employment & HR' started by Perstashio, Jun 27, 2021.

  1. Perstashio

    Perstashio UKBF Newcomer

    1 0
    I do Administrative work in a busy community space

    At the moment its only at "informal chat" stage, and I have received a "letter of concern"
    I was completely unaware of any meeting taking place so had no no time to prepare anything unlike my boss who had several sheets of notes.

    I'm a bit miffed about a couple of points made

    So I signed a fire safety sheet where I sign to say all the fire doors are open, after my boss goes round and unlocks them all. One room was locked shut because equipment was stored in there.

    I went back to the office and signed the book, after checking everywhere but the locked room. I was going to get the key, unlock the door, and check the fire exit. Before I could do that my boss asked me have I done the checks I said (too honestly perhaps) that I had apart from Room A (the locked room) ....I was then told "You might think I'm being a bit pedantic but you should follow procedure etc etc) I said in future I will do so and carried on my merry way.

    It was then escalated into a "informal chat" and I received a letter with the points discussed. In the letter my actions were described as "reckless and dangerous"

    I disagree with this terminology (even though I realise I should have signed the book after all doors checked) The staff at weekends never sign the book despite opening the doors themselves. (Is it only "reckless and dangerous" when I don't check the door and sign the book, or is it more "reckless and dangerous" if they're not checked at all and the book not signed. Why is the book not signed at weekends? The weekend staff no nothing about the book. What if they forget to unlock a fire door?

    There were a few other nit picky points for example printing off too much paper, (a 50 page document, accidentally)

    My boss likes to micromanage and is constantly asking me what I'm doing, and sometimes she even tells me the order e-mails need to be replied in!

    She is also not in a good mood a lot of the time, comes across as extremely cold and I feel I can't work to the best of my abilities, and any errors by anyone and it is like the end of the world.

    All bookings have to be ran past my manager before I am allowed to book them in

    I feel any reply to this letter and "informal chat" will cause even more tension in the office.

    I realise the best way to deal with micromanagers is to suck it up and play their games. But I feel like if I do this, then I will not grow as a person, so do i quit and find alternative employment?
    Posted: Jun 27, 2021 By: Perstashio Member since: Jun 27, 2021
  2. Alan

    Alan Verified Business ✔️

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    I think you answered your own question. But I advise you do it the other way around, find alternative employment first, then quit.
    Posted: Jun 27, 2021 By: Alan Member since: Aug 16, 2011
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    JEREMY HAWKE Verified Business ✔️
    Full Member

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    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha ha fallin off my feckin chair :)

    Is this what real people do in the real world . :):)
    Posted: Jun 28, 2021 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
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  4. Mr D

    Mr D Contributor

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    Sounds very much like a couple of my old bosses.

    Usually just figured out how to work around them - sure there will be priority stuff need doing, everything else gets done too. In your order. Not playing their games all the time, providing them what they think they want - an illusion as it were.

    Sit down with her and point out there are problems and how she comes across. Expect an explosion - but can also cause some minor changes. Part of the time. Nothing will change without feedback from you. And some people they get forced out of the job by a micromanager.

    I currently have a great micromanager - its not her its the nature of the work. Instructions given, left to get on with it, call to chase up etc. Working closely together we have to micromanage, including passing work to do between us. It can work extremely well - with the right manager.

    Done badly its a game system where points are scored by the manager at the expense of staff. Usually by people who don't know how to manage, occasionally by someone who simply takes delight in annoying others.
    Posted: Jun 28, 2021 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  5. Stas Lawicki

    Stas Lawicki Contributor

    391 175
    Alan is a wise man... he's given a good suggestion there.

    Poor management is usually the result of poor management and lack of effective leadership above that person. I've worked with complete idiots who promote people with the same idiotic tendencies and thus perpetuate the nonsense that spans generations of 'management'.

    Get out there and find a company or a manager that is worth working for.
    Posted: Jun 28, 2021 By: Stas Lawicki Member since: Nov 14, 2017
  6. WaveJumper

    WaveJumper Contributor

    2,044 517
    Sure, I read a book on this many years ago “The Peter Principle” the theory being people are promoted to their level of incomitance. And of course if these people are then promoting others …….. well does not bode well for a company.

    Not helpfully for you though, some good advice above, sit down and have an informal chat with your boss, play their game and be super-efficient, worry less about what others are doing on concentrate on yourself. If it’s not the work structure on environment for you at the end of the day start to look around for a better opportunity and move on.
    Posted: Jun 28, 2021 By: WaveJumper Member since: Aug 26, 2013
  7. MBE2017

    MBE2017 Contributor

    2,462 981
    Personally I agree about the concerns regarding the signing on the safety doors. Such things whilst they might seem over the top become very relevant in the event of a fire, having been in two fires believe me when I say how grateful you would be to find the door unlocked, not locked.

    If you find it hard to work with your boss the start looking, I doubt they will change.
    Posted: Jun 28, 2021 By: MBE2017 Member since: Feb 16, 2017
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  8. Mark T Jones

    Mark T Jones Contributor

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    As always on these threads, we are hearing one side of a story

    However, for me the clear conclusion is that you are in the wrong job - or the right job with the wrong employer

    I'm seeing a very strong sub-text that they don't want you there and are looking for ways to edge you out

    So take the initiative and do it for them don't beat yourself up but do question what you could do differently in future to ensure things go better in your next job
    Posted: Jun 29, 2021 By: Mark T Jones Member since: Nov 4, 2015
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  9. Paul Norman

    Paul Norman Contributor

    3,451 1,176
    1. No need to reply, as this does not constitute part of formal disciplinary procedure. Indeed, replying will probably escalate it to that.

    2. Personally, working for someone that tells me what order to do minor admin tasks would be too much. I would look for a new job. I would be starting that immediately.

    3. As, by the letter of the law, and in accordance with their precise micro management, there is an issue, I would make no response, but be very precise from now on. Right up until the day you resign.

    4. Everytime we get a glimpse into the world of being employed we all breath enormous sighs of relief. It is all about intense procedures, micro management, and ridiculous over escalations of things.
    Posted: Jun 29, 2021 By: Paul Norman Member since: Apr 8, 2010
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  10. ctrlbrk

    ctrlbrk UKBF Regular

    208 56
    I'd say most employers offer generally decent environments to work in - yes, you do occasionally come across micromanagement and other issues but they are not the norm.

    So I'd say not all employers are like this one.

    Also worth bearing in mind, as someone else recently commented elsewhere, the OP in these threads tend to convey only one version of the events (usually the most favourable to the person presenting them).
    Posted: Jun 29, 2021 By: ctrlbrk Member since: May 13, 2021
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  11. Mr D

    Mr D Contributor

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    Employment can also be a lot of fun and can end the day feeling have achieved something.
    Sure, procedures can be annoying, can be useful too.
    Not come across the ridiculous over escalations of things recently, in my experience that is more a staff thing than an employer thing.

    Still, employment can be useful. New skills, steady income, a challenge. Combining employment and running a business is best of both worlds.
    Posted: Jun 29, 2021 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  12. Paul Norman

    Paul Norman Contributor

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    I actually, despite my post, agree. I was, of course, employed myself for a chunk of my life, and nothing like this ever happened to me.

    I did, as a Director, see a couple of instances of managers behaving like this. Again, not every day, it was not 'normal'.

    But I do see it rather more than I remember it happening then. I hope it is a minority behaviour.
    Posted: Jun 30, 2021 By: Paul Norman Member since: Apr 8, 2010
  13. Owen Parry

    Owen Parry UKBF Newcomer

    32 5
    In this instance, an informal chat is, as the name suggests, not part of a formal disciplinary procedure. However I would make sure to note down all of the grievances and correspondence following this chat. As usually they are not followed up with a more formal minutes email, as was the case here.

    If you are feeling as if your manager is affecting your work and also the proper functioning of the department, you may want to gather evidence and then lodge a complaint with HR, if that avenue is available to you.

    Be wary, as was suggested above, it seems like a clash of personality/working style is resulting in your manager trying to edge you out.

    I hope everything works out.
    Posted: Jul 1, 2021 By: Owen Parry Member since: Apr 8, 2021
  14. Mr D

    Mr D Contributor

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    Sometimes the indirect approach works better than direct.
    When I left one employer the manager who was an idiot decided to hold onto my cheque.
    We got the cheque every month for wages and had sufficient time to bank and clear it before month end. And she decided to play games with my money.

    Any complaints would go via her and I knew she had blocked multiple complaints in the past.
    However I had my own contacts on the board and submitted a complaint against the company board for their change of policy and how I would be taking them to court for the bank fees etc caused as a result of their change in policy. And delivered the letter to a board members house, not the office.

    She got raked over the coals by the members who were not her allies, I got my money very quickly.

    Indirect worked where direct would not have.
    Posted: Jul 1, 2021 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017