Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Boss

No, this isn't about that song on American Idol last night. This isn't about Bruce Springsteen. This is about my boss at work.

I talked to one of the computer guys on Monday, asked him what was going on with the systems. He said that it IS just maintenance, and we're switching over systems or something. AND that this change-over was planned for this week because the computer guys knew that all the kids would be out of the schools, leaving the school-systems unused. Which means that 8 of the 10 users of this computer system were going to be down because of lack of users during this week. Ok, I can understand that. Even if it does put an added hardship on us pages and the Circ assistants, I can understand that the schools make up MOST of the users of the system. So to shut the system down while the schools would not need them, that makes sense.

Computer Guy ALSO said (when I commented that I'm not so much bugged by the systems being down, as I am by the fact that we weren't given any advance warning) that the Computer Staff held a meeting with ALL of the Supervisors 3 or 4 weeks ago, and told them precisely when this would happen, and advised the Supervisors to tell all THEIR staff precisely when this would happen, and get us prepared for it.

So, that's where the ball was dropped. Huh! That means my supervisor (Boss Lady, from a previous post) took that knowledge, and went on vacation, and didn't tell ANYBODY. When I got in Monday, I found that KO -our "Senior Page"- hadn't even known in advance that this was going to happen. So, when she was out for minor surgery on Friday, she wasn't called at home by Boss Lady & tipped off. She came in Monday, and as the SENIOR PAGE, was more clueless than I was.

And my coworker/friend CF emailed me on Saturday (and called) to give me a day's heads-up that we needed to check-in like mad on Sunday, to be sure that we had as much in order before the shut-down as possible. She and the rest of my coworkers (who were at work on Friday afternoon for the "official meeting") were under the impression that DB, ME, and I wouldn't know a thing about the shut-down until we got to work on Monday & found out. And by then it would be too late to do any checking in & stock the shelves with a couple of day's worth of shelving. (It wound up being enough books to get us half-way through Tuesday.)

When I got in on Sunday, Boss Lady was there, so I asked her if indeed we were supposed to check-in as many books as possible, in advance of the Monday shut-down of the system. She, of course, wanted to know who'd tipped me off, and I replied that CF had emailed me about it, just to give me a heads-up. (I didn't tell her that CF also called me.)

Well, wouldn't you know it, guess who called CF into her office yesterday & chewed her ass for tipping me off. That's right, BOSS LADY! She is actually ANNOYED that CF felt it wise to tip me off, so that I could clue in the other clueless ones in time to get some checking-in done, so that we had books to shelve. Boss Lady's excuse was that she was in on Sunday, so CF shouldn't have said anything to me about it because Boss Lady was going to do that herself. On the other hand, NOBODY knew that Boss Lady was going to be in on Sunday. She rarely works Sunday. She's not generally scheduled to be there on Sunday.

My respect for Boss Lady has sunk to an all-time low. I'll still be polite & civil, and I certainly won't "rock the boat", but I have no respect for her. I've worked at this library for almost 2 years now, I've worked as a library page for over 4 years total. I'm not a "newbie", I could have been given the heads-up and handled it ok. Most of the other pages have worked at this library longer than me, none of them were given more than a weekend's worth of heads-up. And the "Senior Page" (this is made a LOT of by Boss Lady) has worked at this library in particular for 30 years and she wasn't even given the courtesy of a heads-up from our Boss Lady. That speaks to me of a Boss Lady that has no professional respect for those of us who work under her. She's made it clear to a couple of us in the past that we're NOT indispensable to this library. And as individuals that's true. We're the least trained, the least educated (or at least, need the least education) and we're easily replaceable. AS INDIVIDUALS! But, as a group, that library would fail to work without us. We're the ones who work the check-out desk. We're the ones who check incoming books in, who inspect them for basic damage before passing them on to somebody else or putting them away. We're the ones who put those shelf-fulls of books in order & put them away out in the stacks. Ours may not be a highly educated, highly trained line of work, but it's integral to the library. And often, we're the only staff that the patrons really interact with. We're reminded about how important it is for us to be friendly & helpful to the patrons (as long as we don't help them find the books they're looking for, as we're "not trained enough" to help find the books that we put away in the first place).

But, it's times like this when Boss Lady makes it clear that she has NO professional (or semi-professional, or workplace) respect for US. She sees us as no more important than the computers which were shut down. Than the chairs that the patrons sit in. We're replaceable, and this little move of hers has gone to remind us all that we're NOT IMPORTANT enough to be considered in the coming of a big event.

Nope, my respect for Boss Lady is gone. I'll keep my mouth shut at work, because most of the time I like the details of my job. And someday I'd like to have the opportunity to be back at my neighbourhood library, working for a Boss who does give me some professional consideration. So, I'll keep from rocking the boat at work as best I can. But my Boss Lady won't see any loyalty to her in particular from me. And I'm looking forward to the days when Boss Lady is on vacation, or has her days off. Because that's when I don't feel like I've got to constantly look over my shoulder. That's when I don't feel like I shouldn't ask questions & expect answers. And that's when I know that if I HAVE a concern, I can take it to somebody other than Boss Lady, and actually be listened to. (If she's there, I have to talk to her first, working my way up the chain of command.)

And for the record, I HAVE been telling Patrons what's up, when asked. If Boss Lady (or anybody else) makes a stink about it, I'll tell them that _I_ don't believe people should be treated as stupid. I believe in common courtesy, and not lying out my teeth to my coworkers, my friends, and the patrons I work with, means that I talk to them. I tell them what's going on. If she doesn't like that, tough. I work for them, that doesn't mean they can make me betray my ethics. And I'm union, so I can take my concerns there if I have to.

Have a Blessed Day!


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Good for you for not keeping your patrons in the dark!

Your Boss Lady is an ass hat.

Michelle said...

Why don't you talk to your boss about keeping you in the dark? Ask her why she thought you should be kept in the dark and express your concerns about it? She should be made aware of your concerns so that, if she's at all a decent sort of superviser, she can make sure not to repeat mistakes made.

Kati said...

Hey Shelli & Whim!! Thanks for the comments.

Shelli, BL makes herself very unapproachable. The fact that she didn't even tell KO & LG (senior page, and senior kiss-ass) means that she's got no respect for us as employees. If she'd told KO or LG, and not the rest of us, I might have a leg to stand on. As it is, she's made it clear (and not only on this occasion) that our concerns are subject to her approval before they will be acknowledged.

On top of that, if I brought up my concern, now, that we weren't told about this prior, she'd realize that CF & I had been talking this over still & that CF had confided that she got chewed out FOR giving me a heads-up. BL REALLY can't stand CF (but hasn't got 1 good reason to fire her that wouldn't also get the rest of us fired) and will continue to come down on CF for it. And CF needs this job more than I do, so she can't afford to have her work-life made a living hell over it.