How Do I Know If i’m Being Investigated?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about feeling of being investigated:

I think my workplace is investigating me. I have had some comments around the office and just strange things keep happening.

Signed, Uneasy

Dear Uneasy:

It is uncomfortable to feel you are being investigated. Your note implies that you don’t know what to do. First you should realize that management is expected to investigate if complaints are made and/or if they think things are not right. If you were boss, that’s what you would do. So if something including you is being investigated, perhaps the best thing to do is nothing. Simply continue to focus on assignments. Don’t gossip with coworkers about the feeling you have that you are being investigated. Just be professional, responsible and attentive to working efficiently and effectively.

Don’t read into every little thing worry that you are in trouble. Most probably you will be interviewed if in fact you are being investigated, and you will told by those in charge when and if they have cause to discipline you.Don’t work scared, fearing that an ax is about to fall. You’ll become a basket case if you allow your mind to play and replay “Something bad might happen.” What’s the worst they can do to you? Fire you and/or have you arrested! If that happens, you are still alive.I don’t mean to make light of your worry. It is natural to feel uneasy when you sense that a boss or Human Resources have you in the cross-hairs. You’ll have to decide if it is better for you to do nothing or to do something.

Should you determine you must do something, you can ask someone in your office whom your trust if she/he has heard anything about you. Or you can schedule a meeting with your boss. In that meeting, you can say something like, “Samantha, I’ve been working here for ten months (or whatever length of time you’ve been in your job), and I’d like to know how well you think I’m doing.” Then wait for your boss to respond. If you are being investigated, the odds are she will name a concern or two about your work. You can follow up with a more direct question if you want to clear the worry from your mind, with, “I’m committed to doing good work, so if there is anyway you think I might improve, I will appreciate your suggestions.”The fact that you are anxious about “strange things” happening indicates that communication within your office is not the best.

Ideally, office communication is friendly, job focused, collaborative, and honest. Coworkers don’t work solo; rather they are team-minded. They fill in the gaps and help each other to deliver quality products and service to their internal and external customers. To make that happen, they huddle about assignments. They clarify by conferring on who does what, when, how, and why. They talk about talk; asking each other “How well are we working as a team and are there things we might do to correct what isn’t our best.” I have the feeling that your office does not function that way. Should you meet with your boss, you won’t go wrong by saying that you want to know what you might do to help your office to be even more productive and to work as a team.

Stay balanced. We all must work, but life is more than a job. Do you have interests outside the job; working out, singing in a choir, visiting the library, volunteering as a tutor, sewing, designing an apartment, etc.? This morning I played a vocabulary Internet game that rewards players with grains of rice for those in need. It makes me realize there those in need. The designers of this game have found a creative and entertaining way to do good. Working together with hand, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and isn’t that the kind of feeling you want for your self and your office?

William Gorden