Re: I Can Really Pick 'Em, Can't I?

Subject: Re: I Can Really Pick 'Em, Can't I?
From: doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 13:12:14 -0800

On Wednesday 15 February 2006 18:20, H Arnold wrote:
> >>I know it seems hopeless at this point, but I have several
> >>times seen managers without the skills to manage their way
> >>out of a wet paper bag lateraled to a non-management position
> >>just to get them off the employees backs.
> ---- sigh. I'm going to stick my neck out on this one. I replied off-list
> to the original poster, but there is another thing on this topic I'm going
> to say. I don't understand why everyone is interested in playing hardball
> when we don't have insider knowledge about the situation. This makes no
> sense to me.

If I understand this concern, you're saying that a healthy perspective
dictates that this problem WILL respond to a rational, humanistic approach.
And besides, it could be a troll, or an advocacy piece that presents only one
side of what might be a wholesome, normal situation? Perhaps the poster
("Cathy") is the one who is unbalanced?

> The manager, however much of an @#)($* they happen to be,
> still is human. There may be compassionate solutions that a sort of
> ombudsman or officer for conciliation might be able to find. This is from
> my experience. To approach a situation with hostility only tends to lead
> to further hostility and yadda yadda yadda.
> One pacifist thought for the current 3 minutes.

Two issues that mitigate against patience and/or compassion for the boss:

1) The poster (Cathy) indicates (IMHO) that she is in crisis. Maybe I am
mistaking hyperbole for desperation, but better to risk that than ignore a
contractor plunging headlong toward post-traumatic stress symptoms.

> I don't know how long
> I can stand the boss's...
> not-so-hot job market...
> my diurnal nightmare...

2) This problem comes up again and again, so often that it has been handled
in law, and that is the right-sized way to resolve it. The Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission office (federal listing the phone book) can begin the
complaint process leading to mediation or arbitration. HR departments don't
dare you to complain to EEOC the way Legal departments dare you to sue--this
is because EEOC DOES INVESTIGATE ALL COMPLAINTS. Obviously, Cathy's company
needs that EEOC training, and this is one way to make that happen. The
employer and employees owe her thanks for working within the system, if she
takes this route, for helping to make job satisfaction (and productivity
gains) more possible.

The case for non-litigious patience and compassion for the boss:

1) Compassion may be the only real option, since the hardball-est solution
(lawsuit) requires a level of commitment that places an undue burden on a
contractor, especially in an at-will state, but in any case because the job
will end years before the lawsuit will. Threats of 'bringing in the law'
won't work.

2) The bad boss may have emotional problems that are not his fault. A
demonstration of faith in the goodness of human nature could bring about a
change of heart in the boss. Or, as the Dali Lama said to the panhandler,
"True change comes from within."

Even in the case of choosing a compassionate solution, I think I would still
ramp up on the EEOC and hardball approaches. Cathy should know all about
what she can expect the company to be doing, if they complied with the law.
This combined approach can reveal what is truly her responsibility, according
to the law but also according to her ability.

Hope this helps,

Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com

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Re: I Can Really Pick 'Em, Can't I?: From: H Arnold

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