Work is becoming problematic lately. I’ve actually had to go as far as calling the corporate offices regarding harassment from a coworker and my direct manager.
Between my coworker and I there has been a history of her repeatedly reorganizing my desk, causing me a delay of anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes during the start of my shift while I put everything back to where it was. Each folder I work with is clearly labeled and has it’s place, but I often find she’s torn everything out of my rack and dumped it all in the drawer or she’s taken one folder and broken it up into six separate folders. She has also gone through a folder of things that I’ve been watching (mostly stuff waiting on a customer, or waiting on something and so I need to hold onto the paperwork) and written notes on all of them as well as reported to our manager anything that she thinks I’ve handled wrong (how can she tell anyway?). Reporting any issues to my manger just gets me in trouble with my manager and I get told clean up my desk (when it is clean). My manager will also then address me about the things my coworker has ‘found’, and it greatly makes me feel like the police using evidence they found in a search that did not have a warrant.
There was even one incident where the subject of my desk was brought up and I had stated to my coworker that she’s rearranged it on five occasions and I did not like that she had done that. She stated it was that I don’t organize and before I could finish stating that I do organize, she just talked over me stating I didn’t. That very night, after I got off shift, she rearranged my desk. She did the full ‘shebang’ of things I’d mentioned before: taking everything out of my rack and tossing it all in my drawer; disassembling one folder and putting it into six folders (some with only a single sheet of paper in it!); putting notes on a large chunk of my paperwork asking questions that aren’t necessary nor any of the paperwork her business. I came to work the following morning and was in tears as I spent 35 minutes reassembling my desk. Three entire folders were completely missing!
When I brought the subject up with our direct manager I promptly received a “I don’t want to hear it.” from her, so I went to the publisher (highest person up in the building). He talked to my direct manager about it, and supposedly she was to talk with my and my coworker individually. I do not know when or if she talked to my coworker, as it’s not my job to keep track of what my manager does. When she talked to me again, she didn’t even acknowledge much about my coworker other than “The situation is dealt with” and “since she found this stuff anyway…” my manager then went over all the things that my coworker had left notes on (some of which was redundant and had not matter, while others I’d been handling as I’d been told when I was trained in and apparently how I was trained was wrong). When I tried to speak up I again received “I don’t want to hear it. I’ve heard enough as it is.” Yet I’d not been able to say anything to her at all, so how could she have?
A following incident had occurred where this particular coworker ditched her own work, but again went through my folders and put notes on things. There is one folder where our evening clerk will leave information for me to process immediately in the morning, and I also left paperwork in that folder for anything I needed myself to deal with during the mornings. There had been some situation regarding a customer’s payment and I was waiting on a customer’s response to my phone call. The note that had been left was “What are you doing with this?” in regards to me holding onto the customer’s payment. I felt it was none of her business and she should have been doing her own job.
I went directly to the publisher this time and told him I may need to call corporate and file harassment. He insisted he could handle it and I need not call corporate at all, but I reminded him that the situation was not improving from the last several times he had handled it and here was another situation. I showed him the work my coworker was supposed to have done (which had left me in a lurch of entering information in the morning) and the note my coworker had left. The publisher had agreed that this was clearly badgering and he brought my direct manager in. My manager refused to state anything one way or the other about my coworker or me or the evening clerk and was nearly livid about “I’m not a mind reader talk to her about it!” I had asked her “didn’t you talk to my coworker when she’d last done something like this?” and my manager had said yes, she had. So I asked, “then what did she say at the time?” and my manager couldn’t recall a single thing about the time she’d talked to my coworker about the harassment (which seems an odd thing to forget since you’d expect she’s not having to deal with harassment issues in the officer every day so it was something quite well out of the ordinary). So my coworker was brought in. My coworker stated that she had been left along to take a phone call but insisted that she didn’t feel any need to do the follow up paperwork because she’d assumed the evening clerk had already done the follow up work ahead of time (which makes no sense since this coworker had helped train me in when I first started as the evening clerk and she had been very adamant about not filing out the paperwork before hand).
In the end the publisher had rolled over like a kicked puppy. The whole situation changed from “clearly badgering” to “you need to change the way you communicate” (the ‘you’ being me). I could not believe how it had completely flipped around to, let alone my fault (because I should have had notes on all this stuff that my coworker feels the need to nose around in) but that I (AGAIN!) need to change how I do my job to accommodate this coworker.
I was extremely upset, and I know they could tel because they'd mange to put me to tears right there in the office. This time I did exactly what I'd opened up stating in the first place when I'd walked into the office. I decided to call corporate. At first all I received were answering machines, and since I didn't know who was my area's HR person to contact, I had to try again later in the evening. I received a call back the next day and used my 15 min break to take the call. I explained the past incidents and the current one and the actions of my coworker, manager and publisher. The HR person was rather suprised that my publisher hadn't done anything bigger let alone told me not to call corporate, but understood that my publisher had wanted to handlle things himself.
After this call to corporate, they called my publisher, and he brought me into his office again later. He stated he was disappointed that I'd called corporate as he would like that I tell him first before doing so and that he had thoguht the situation resloved. (Which I feel is a lie because he knew I had more to say and was unable to say anything that would actually accomplish any results so had said nothing. He had asked me to speak, but I stated that I didn't know what to say.) He did tell me that he'd talk one on one with my manager and then with my coworker, just like he'd had with me. I felt it would resolve nothing, but that at least my phone call to corporate would be the first step in starting a record. If nothing else, I had that.
Well, recently, on May 10th, there was an area wide power outage, covering several towns across the area. It happed early that morning when a storm (that wasn't that bad of a storm) knocked out two major power lines comming north to our area to supply us power. Because of this, everything up here shut down. A different coworker of mine called my phone before work and asked me if we go in or not since she had no one else's numbers and the phones were down in the office. I called our manager's cell phone and she stated we should go in and jsut take it from there.
I showed up at my usuall 8am and the whole place was dark. The back steps were so bad that I had to feel my way up them (total safety hazard). The reason none of the emergency lighting was on was because their batteries had run out (power went out supposedly around 4am). There was only a few people in the office sitting around talking. None were really doing anything. We had our technician and our publisher that were frantically taking servers over to the local college where there was a generator for them to run on so they could feverishly finish the paper for today and get it printed elswhere where there was power.
Eventually, (some time around 8:30am) the publisher told us that we could stay or go, it didn't matter since there was nothing to do there in the office. Staying until 9am I decided to leave under the condition that I come back the heartbeat our power came back online (since I was in the same local area mine owuld come back on the same time work would). Sure enough, 10:15 rolls around and the power comes back. I rush back to work and begin fielding calls and paperwork immediately. 11am passes and I notice one of my coworkers leave on her lunch as usual. The time nears 11:30am (which is my normal lunch) and I ask my manager "should I take my lunch now or later since everythign seems pushed back?" My mamnger leans out her door and gives me this look like I'm a complete idiot and states, "What makes you think you get a lunch?" Feels rather suprised by the venomence of the responce I stated I'd see the one coworker leave, but her responce to that was "You left! Everyone else stayed here! You don't get a lunch!" I mentioned I didn't know otherwise I would have eaten. She told me I either not take a lunch or I take a lunch but log only the hours I was in the office and take unpaid for the missing time.
I shook my head and went back to work. I knew I couldn't afford taking unpaid since this company takes your sick days, vacation days and personal days first before any unpaid time can be taken. I had one personal day left and I'm saving it for my friend's wedding this summer. So I jsut kept working. About twenty minutes later my manager leans out her door and yells at my why I havn't left yet. I told her "You said I couldn't have a lunch." At which point she asked me what did I think I was going to get, and I stated I didn't know, since I hadn't eaten even just a half hour to fetch some food was fine. She told me I wasn't going to get paid for not working (and I didn't have the guts to tell her everyone else did for sitting here and twiddling their thumbs) and insisted I just take unpaid. I reminded her that "I can't take unpaid yet, that I have one personal day left and you know I'm watching it like a hawk saving it for that wedding." she yelled at me to "Just go! Just leave alredy! Leave!" And I more or less chickened out by then and left.
That afternoon was full of calls of people asking if there was a paper that day (which was, naturally, very very late). I offered to stay late to help field calls since there seemed to be so many. I figured Icould make up my time that way but I was told no. In the end, I had to call corporate again on that friday (the day I started posting this). Another coworker of mine had pointed out that I could work through my lunch and make up the lost hour. I thought that was illegal but I didn't have anyone to ask. My manager, the accounting manager (who handles payroll) and the publisher were all out for that day. So, I called corporate, I told them what was happening and that I needed to know if I was able to do such a thing. They did some digging and stated that, yes I could, but I needed my manager's or my publisher's permission. I stated that neither were here and it's the end of the pay period. They went and called another representitve of my office and recieved permissong for me from that person (I'm not exactly sure on what this person's position is, but they're somewhere equal to or higher than our publisher, however they do not work in the building).
So, Friday May 13th I worked 8.5 hours straight (and with so much work to do, I ended up not even getting my morning or afternoon 15's in either). I was so very pooped! And I still had a 12 hour road trip to do that weekend!