In one of my jobs I had to work closely with a couple of people who I didn’t directly line manage, but I did workload manage. It was a strange, annoying set up – their (interim) line manager didn’t know anything about what they were doing and how their work impacted the department I worked in but kept trying to get involved. I campaigned – unsuccessfully – for about 2 years to get their roles moved to our department.
One of the roles was recruited for without any involvement from me. The line manager wouldn’t let me get involved, even though I asked. She had no idea what the role entailed and needed – all she had was a written job description, half of which was standard role blurb that came with any public sector job.
WHAT CAN POSSIBLY GO WRONG.
The person that was recruited to this [pretty technical] system tech role had never worked in an office before, let alone had experience of any HR systems. Rather, their last 8 years of work experience was working in a bathroom showroom.
Yep, if you’re now thinking “errr, what the fuck?” then you’d be in the same place as me when I got told this info.
OH WELL. I’m sure it can’t be that bad right?
The guy started and had his standard organisation induction. Then it was my turn to settle him into his role. I tried so bloody hard from the very beginning, I really did.
He had a massive attitude. Right from the very off he knew better. He knew better than the organisation and the way things were done. I don’t mean in a “it’s good to challenge old ideas and behaviours”, as that would have been more than welcome, more a “I don’t agree with anything in this organisation and it’s all quite shit”.
When you work in public sector, some stuff is a pain. Change is hard and slow. Sometimes, things are just done in a certain way and have to be accepted, mostly things that aren’t in the remit of our role anyway. So what you concentrate on is the job you’re there to do, and try to do it well.
He was incredibly hard work. There were some concepts he didn’t understand, but didn’t want to understand. I had to try and teach him how to use a calendar/meeting requests/emails efficiently (things like he was deleting all calendar entries once he’d been to meetings, didn’t reply to emails in a thread, didn’t know how to forward emails) but he didn’t like this, and would flat out refuse to listen to why there might be a different way to do something.
He wasn’t particularly polite about it either. I’d be trying to go through some of his tasks and the instructions on how to do it, and he’d say they sounded pretty crap. Well sorry mate, but that’s life, that’s your job and unless you’re coming up with a better way to do something then you ain’t got any choice. And that’s something I’ve been working on for 3 years, it works pretty well because of all of the knock on effects that you Just Can’t Get Your Head Around so wind your bloody neck in. Everything I’d discuss with him he’d argue about.
One particular time stands out. I was talking through something, I can’t remember exactly what. Some templates I think, possibly something to do with the training system. Not sure exactly what I had asked him to do, but he hadn’t done what I’d asked (with which I’d thought were pretty clear instructions). He’d done something else. When I asked him (in a calm, curious manner) why he’d not done it, and to explain what he’d done instead, he blew his fuse. I mean literally. Anger pulsated from this man. His face went beetroot red, his eyes widened and a vein on his forehead bulged. Spittle formed at the corners of his mouth and flew from his mouth as he shouted at me. The dude was ANGRY. He shouted.
- I hate shouting. I actually find it a bit scary, I’m not used to it
- It’s totally unprofessional in a work environment
- Who the very fuck do you think you are shouting at a colleague, and someone that’s more senior (n a hierarchical organisation)?
- Why are you having this reaction over something that’s just a chat about something pretty inconsequential?
Was I fuck sitting and taking that.
Trying to remain ever the professional, I told him that I wouldn’t talk to him in this manner and left him to calm down. I spoke to his line manager, whether she spoke to him or not I don’t know. I can’t remember him apologising, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t. I’ve maybe blocked it out.
I absolutely LOVED that job, but I started to wonder how I could work with him. The other guy, T, who was having to work alongside him also found him difficult. Said he didn’t ever seem to remember, listen to or absorb anything. He didn’t get shitty with T, but did with some of the others in their office. Wasn’t just me, but it did appear to be more with females apparently.
Luckily for all of us, he decided it wasn’t for him and left. I can’t remember how long he lasted, but it was too long. In some ways, it’s not his fault. He was a total wrong fit for the job and should never have been recruited in the first place. Maybe he had some stuff going on that we didn’t know about.
I can’t remember what he went on to do for a job, but I remember we did hear he’d been arrested for a domestic incident with his wife.