Reprimanded for Doing my Work.

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about contract work: Our manager is trying to piss off the manager of the company that’s taking over by just doing what is asked. We have a contract to deliver the best possible service and this war between managers and looking for people to blame is stressful.

I am currently working as a computer technician in a company that does contract work. Our contract is expiring soon and we are expected to be laid off. I stick to protocol and follow instructions by the letter; however, the company I work for keeps changing procedures. If I do something in excess of what is expected, like fixing an extra computer, they say that I am not following instructions. Our manager is trying to piss off the manager of the company that’s taking over by just doing what is asked. We have a contract to deliver the best possible service and this war between managers and looking for people to blame is stressful. Any suggestion on how to make my situation a little easier will be very much appreciated.

Signed,
Caught Doing Something Not Authorized

Dear Caught Doing Something Not Authorized:

Isn’t the answer to your question quite simple: check with your manager for a go-ahead before doing what is outside your assigned job? Apparently you are feeling pinched because your current boss is unhappy with the manager of the company that is buying the one for which you are now employed. The transition from one organization culture/protocol can be frustrating. Might you help minimize this “war” you are experiencing? Probably not, and your prediction of being laid off may not be far off.

However, you can approach this conflict as seeing it as a learning experience; soak up every bit of knowledge you can and think of it as an adventure in learning about company politics. You might also think of this as an opportunity to chart your tasks; list those to which you are assigned and designate the dates of when the task is assigned and due. Also have a place to indicate who made the assignment, who should be consulted and who evaluates and signs off on it as done.

Additionally, you might see this as a chance to confront. You have a voice and knowledge about your field. Why not confront you manage just as you have the Workplace Doctors? Think through what bothers you with examples that prompt your stress. Request of your manager a review of your performance and use such a session to ask for her/his advice about how you might enhance what you do well and minimize what might disturb either of you.

In short, think of this as an opportunity. That’s the most effective attitude to have when you are caught in a conflict. The posture you display can be as you say, to “deliver the best possible service.” Working cooperatively requires attitude, process, and competence. You have the competence and now is the time to exhibit a positive can-do attitude and sensitivity to the interpersonal dysfunctional behavior. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS is my way of challenging you to seek clarification before you become unhappy about what isn’t right.

William Gorden