Friday, September 9, 2011

A Little Role-Reversal

My boss has a certain style about him. If you're talking to him and you bring up stuff he doesn't want to talk about, such as why something may not be done on time, or having so much of your own work that you may not be able to do much of someone else's, he walks away. Just turns his back and walks away, often while you are in mid-sentence. He does this sometimes while you are asking him for something; at those times he says "I'll get back to you", or "I'll look into it", and bang he's out of there. Whether you have finished making your request or not. I've looked into this, and I think he has the verbiage wrong. The words "I'll get back to you on that" are supposed to mean that he will check on something, or try to get something done for you, and then come back to you with new information, or a plan of some sort. What he seems to mean by those words is that he is considering the topic closed for discussion, and he will never broach the subject again.
Another thing he tends to do is simply issue orders. Now, I know he's the boss, and he is supposed to issue orders, but my thinking is that when someone comes to him with a work issue, such as there is something they will not be able to get done on time, or there is something that is just not working for them (including equipment failure), he might actually attempt to figure out a solution; offer to get something fixed, come up with an alternative, something like that. Instead, our hero tends to sit behind his desk and say "Just get it done," or "just do it". Not what the person who came to him had in mind, I'm sure.

This morning there was a vehicle shortage. There was a guy, J.S., who was pretty much ready to go to the street and deliver; all he lacked was a mail truck. This had been brought to the boss's attention first thing in the morning, and as usual he said "I'll handle it", and walked away.
Now it was 2 and a half hours later, the office was almost empty of carriers, and there was still no truck. He had not come back to the carrier, though J.S. went to him several times. He had not found a truck, nor come up with any kind of a plan to allow J.S. to go out and make his deliveries.
In fact, while J.S. was under the illusion that he would have a truck, he agreed to do some of someone else's work as well as his own. Now, having to wait for a vehicle, he didn't have the time he thought he would have. He had to tell the boss that he wouldn't be able to carry as much as he'd originally said.
The boss, of course, was upset that J.S. wasn't going to be able to do all he had said earlier in the morning. Hearing them, I looked up in time to see the boss telling him "What I'm upset about is that you said you'd do it, and now you changed your mind," completely ignoring the fact the J.S. was still sans truck.
He walked away (yes, before J.S. had time to say anything in his defense) and took a seat at his desk. J.S. took a deep breath, and walked over to stand in front of the desk, across from the boss.

"You walk around here in the morning saying 'mail's up, pull down, go go go', and any time someone has a problem your answer is 'do it'.  Tell you what."
He flipped a hand back and forth in front of his chest, indicating the both of them.
"Let's do a little role-reversal."
He pointed at the seated man.
"Get me a truck."
The boss opened his mouth to make a retort -
 ... and J.S. turned and walked away.

As he walked, he heard the sound of clapping making its way across the work floor. Looking over, he saw me, standing at my sorting rack, applauding.

I told him this was what I was going to blog about today. He said he wanted some sort of credit, and I think he deserves it.

This blog post was brought to you in part by my co-worker, J.S.
Letter-carrier, turkey-wrangler.
Thanks, J.

Talk to you later!

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