Work Drama

Everyone has their fair share of office drama, this is mine…

I’m the Office Manager of the company but I wear many, many, many other hats, ie HR and everything that falls under that title, in-house IT and my boss’s personal IT trainer or whatever you want to call it, AP, AR, Bookkeeper and many others. There are too many to list and in all honesty, I can’t remember them all because there are so many. With that being said, the last two to three months has been a crazy whirlwind of emotions, drama and whatever else you could imagine that could happen in a small office.

Where to begin… Lets go back to when I came back from vacation in June. While I was on vacation, our Insurance Coordinator all of a sudden quit without notice. Of course I was extremely happy because, I can say this now because he doesn’t work for us anymore, but he was a total jerk and an asshole! With him quitting, they moved some employees to different departments. The Receptionist got promoted to Accounts Payable and the Accounts Payable got promoted to the Insurance Coordinator. That left our Receptionist position open. Of course I was shocked to see and hear this when I got back and immediately I said that that should not have happened. First of all, the receptionist is too slow and can’t keep up to speed with the company’s monthly processes. He doesn’t take constructive criticism very well, in fact he gets mad if you try to correct him. The new Insurance Coordinator, getting to know her in the accounts payable position gave me all I needed to know on how she would handle the job. Basically she is way too sensitive and takes everything to heart even if it has nothing to do with her. This is the business and you shouldn’t take it personal. It comes with the job. It’s been almost six months and I still don’t think she is right for the job.

Looking for a Receptionist. We put up our ad and got plenty of responses but really in the end it was slim pickings. We finally narrowed it down to two and chose the person who was available right away. At first we thought she was great, a go getter, computer savvy and will do anything to adapt to her new job. We are a property management company. What we say to our tenants, vendors, owners and whoever else we come into contact with matters a great deal. Anything said could be taken the wrong way and the company could be held liable. When the the receptionist started, she got the hang of it very quickly, I was actually surprised. Now here’s the thing, We have four secretaries that cover for the receptionist during her breaks. There is one secretly that sits right next to the reception desk and hears everything that goes on. She interacts with the receptionist the most because she is the one that pretty much knows everything that job entails and she deeply cares about the job and she is the one training the receptionist. I guess the receptionist was not following her direction no matter how many times the secretary instructed her. Of course, to anyone, that would be frustrating.This went on and on and on for I can’t remember how long. The secretary reports to me with any complaints that she has with the receptionist and since I am HR, I have to be the one to talk to her, correct her, give her warnings and so on. We gave her three verbal warnings and two written. To everyone else, the receptionist was great. I thought she was great. Any task I gave her to do got done. My one complaint is that she took her time to get things done. I had to talk to her about that too. She lasted almost to her three months of probation. One day she went into my boss’s office and gave her notice before we could let her go. Time to look for a new receptionist.

More interviews for receptionists and still slim pickings. We got to one person and all she wanted was a job. She didn’t even question the salary. She was an older woman. We thought she would catch on quick since she’s been around the block, or so we thought. One mistake we made is that we didn’t ask her how much she knowledge she has with computers. The receptionist position doesn’t do much with computers but there are weekly tasks that require computer usage.

She started the week before Thanksgiving and she was going to be off the entire week of Thanksgiving and return the following week. I think one or two weeks pass and two of the secretaries come up to me and tell me, “SHE HAS GOT TO GO!!!” I’m thinking, she has only been here for three weeks. She hasn’t had time to learn everything. There is a lot to learn at the receptionist desk and I don’t think the people that are training her are doing a very good job. One person that was showing her how to do things, if he shows you once or twice, he expects you to get it. If you’re not at his level work wise, he will not want anything to do with you and will make rude comments if he has to show you what to do again.

The secretary that sits next to the receptionist is fuming with annoyance. I’m like, what exactly did she do wrong. You say she’s not doing things right but I need to know what that is. They didn’t even want to give her time to correct her mistakes. They want me to go to my boss and tell him that they don’t like her. So as they wish, I did. Now I know as HR, I need to build a case against her before I can fire her for legality sake. So I go to my boss and he gives me this long spiel about how we need to know exactly what it is that she is not doing well in and that she just started three weeks ago. We have to have written documentation of everything that is going on and give her a chance to correct her mistakes. Of course I already know all this. He’s also asking who is complaining about her and from what the secretary said, everyone, but I have no proof, just verbal. Head chopped off number 1. Later in the day he comes to the back office to where I sit and he talks about it some more, I can’t remember what else he said but he went around the office and asked people what they thought about the new receptionist. Guess what, no one said anything! Head chopped off #2. I got an email from my boss this morning saying that he spoke to her and he had his own concerns as well but he believed in giving a person a chance, she hasn’t even been there a month. I told him that I would collect the comments and concerns from the employees that have them and I would sit down and talk to her. I sat down with her and told her it was a performance review, I didn’t tell her that people were complaining about her. I told her what was important and I told her how we are going to continue to help her ease into the position. Hopefully things get better. Fingers crossed.

On top of that, last month, one of our secretaries gave his notice. The good thing is that he gave us a month but he is leaving at the worst time possible. Back to ads we go. We had no shows, still slim pickings. We’re down to his last week of work and we still didn’t have anyone to replace him. Finally, we got a referral from one of other on-site managers. When I read her resume my first thought was that she didn’t have any experience in property management. I wasn’t even going to call her for an interview but since my boss and a property supervisor were on the email chain, I called her in for an interview. Good thing I did because at lunch time, my boss comes to me and tells me that he is very impressed with her resume and wanted to now when she was coming in for an interview. I interviewed her yesterday thinking my boss would be there but he wasn’t. The interview went really well. She has a lot of office experience. Well versed in the administrative assistant position. Computer savvy. She seems like she would catch on pretty quick. It will be a crash course for the next three weeks. She will be training with the person that is leaving next week everything that we do in one month in one week. I did give her a run down of how things work but saying it and doing it are two very different things. I really hope she works out. I don’t want to do anymore interviews.

I love everything about my job except the HR stuff. I just want all this drama to end already. I have to deal with employees not getting along. I have to be the one to write them up and give them warnings. And to one person, I am HR ALL THE TIME! I don’t get to just be me for a day or something like that. I too am an employee of the company. I too have complaints about other people in the office. What if I did something bad, who is going to write me up, not that I would do anything bad and not that I would want to get written up. At the end of the day I find myself calling my best friend and venting to him about all this work stuff. Sometimes I can’t sleep at night because of all of this. I think about it when I go home, before I go to bed, dream about it and it’s the first thing on my mind when I wake up. My hours are 8:30 – 5pm. Once 5:00pm hits work is over and I don’t like to bring it home with me. It’s bad enough that I sometimes have to work weekends but whatever. There is so much more that I don’t want to dive into because it gives me a migraine just thinking about it.

At least at the end of today, everything has calmed down a bit and I was actually singing in the car on the way home. I can sleep normal tonight.



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