Communication: Work WITH me

Sometimes things just happen; life's puzzle pieces fall into place and you have that "ah ha!" moment.  I had that moment this morning...after being frustrated and angry by two separate incidents that occurred yesterday.

So let me start off with my rants:

  • At work, I have either volunteered or been volunteered (I'm not 100% on it at this point) to help out with our annual sales meeting.  It started 3 years ago when I helped the person who did the leg work.  Then last year when that person was gone, I helped the manager who was running it.  It wasn't completely altruistic; I have food allergies and wanted to make sure that I would be able to have something to eat.  This year, I helped with a venue change and made suggestions on dining.  I *thought* everything was in place, but then...When I realized the venue we had chosen for our annual dinner was in the path of some major construction (meaning a 10 minute drive will probably take about 30 minutes or more), I pointed it out to the manager.  I also mentioned some logistical problems that we might experience with lunch (which in the past had been brought into the venue, while this year the manager had decided to take everyone out).  I got a brief email back saying:  it's already booked.  (And no comment on my other point.)  Ok, so don't take into consideration my expertise.  Then I get an email from a co-worker at another office location, asking me about what we might need for this meeting, as it seems she is now in charge.  Fine with me, but I wish someone had mentioned it.  Furthermore, she is now having promotional items and inventory shipped to my attention at my office (not part of my job, but I'm happy to do it since there really isn't anyone else who can), but doesn't tell me until the day that the items are arriving.  This irks me as I'd like to be aware BEFOREHAND as I'm not always physically in the office.  Finally, I was given direction as to where to leave said items.  Which again is fine, but an hour later I get another email saying that they should go somewhere else and NOT to open/take anything out of the box.  Usually when items arrive, I open and make sure everything is ok and I DO take a few to give to some co-workers.  I have never been told NOT to AND since the items are actually addressed to me TECHICALLY shouldn't I be able to do what I want with them?  (I say technically because, sure I could take them all and do whatever, but I might not have a job the next day!)  I might have been ok with all this IF I didn't see that email was part of a chain.  Here's how it goes:  co-worker emails manager to say that I will be receiving items, manager emails:  "Put them in my office. Please tell her not to take any out."  Co-worker emails me:   "would actually like the water bottles to be put in his office, not the cubicle next to X.   He also asked me to tell you to please not take any out."  This INFURIATES me. Why was there an email chain?  Couldn't the manager just have copied us both on the message?  Why does it have to go from Manager to Co-Worker to Me?  Do we really need a chain of command for this?
  • Volunteered to help out a charitable organization looking to hire two new staff members.  Somehow ended up chairing the committee. (Not exactly sure how that happened, but it might have something to do with me wanting to move things along when they weren't and opening my mouth!)  With the assistance of the committee, I wrote and posted two job descriptions and culled through the resumes.  The ones that I felt were best suited for the position(s), I forwarded on to the appropriate person.  I knew it would be difficult for this organization to interview and hire two new people at once, but...And I was under the impression that there were (or would be) two other groups formed (one for each position) that would do the interviewing and such.  All of my work was done in August and September.  In early September, the job postings were put on hold; we had several qualified applicants for both positions and after 30 days the postings were no longer free.  (Free being an important thing for a non-profit!)  Last week I found out that one position was going to be filled, pending a background check.  (Which apparently takes 2 weeks?  Who knew?)  Then last night I got an email from someone within the organization, who was not on my committee, which said in part: "x has approved for me to do some resume reviews for the position we have open.  Y will be doing the interviews once we are down to the key resumes. Y suggested that I reach out to you to get a sense of where the resumes are, how long we have had them, etc. Do we have a job description of what we are looking for with essential job functions and number of days/hours that we need someone for? Anything you have will be helpful as I do a first round on the resumes."  My head just about exploded...and I was furious!  Not at the person who sent the email; clearly she was trying to help out, but what the heck happened to all the resumes that I ALREADY reviewed and passed on?  I had sent responses to ALL applicants telling them that we were in the initial stages of reviewing resumes and that those who we felt were a good fit would be called for an interview within the coming weeks.  Well, the weeks have come and gone!  I'm thinking nothing has been done!  Which would be okay, IF someone had told me.  I would have been more than happy to send out another email letting applicants know there was a hold up, but at this point the time has passed.  


I thought about both incidents this morning on my walk.  As angry and frustrated as I was (am?), it all comes down to one simple thing:  COMMUNICATION!  When working with each other, be it business or personal, we need to communicate.  We need to work TOGETHER.  Inclusion gets things accomplished; exclusion leads to chaos. (And hurt!)  There is an old saying that there is no I in TEAM.  There's also the meme that says:  



Now, I can bitch about this all I want.  I can laugh about the above too.  But nothing is going to change or get accomplished unless I communicate as well.  I can't remain silent.  I need to make my thoughts known in a clear, concise and non-judgmental way.  Which I have tried to do.  I don't have results yet, but if you're interested in what does happen, just communicate your interest and I'll follow up.

When faced with a failure to communicate, we need to step up.  We need to communicate.  We need to speak WISELY.  We need to listen without prejudice. We need to lead by example.  Otherwise, we're going to be stuck in the same old rut...and the only thing that can be accomplished by that is anger, frustration and a host of other negative emotions.




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