Contract

Things were chugging along, but now once again not so much, so of course I am writing another post. Why bother with them when things seem OK right?

I fear I’ve landed in yet another contract which sucks. Or is it me that sucks? One or the other, but when the same type of thing keeps happening, albeit in completely different ways, you have to wonder.

Today I got home and was just so angry. I felt furious through and through.

I’ve been working a week and a half now at the new big corporation. My boss is, it turns out, an IT person who is now tasked with getting a particular new project off the ground. They have also engaged an outside contracting agency to do some of the work offsite. I’m onsite, ’embedded’ as it were, while the people from this agency are off site and working together elsewhere.

Anyway. It has emerged that my boss has severe communication problems. She seems to dislike speaking and struggles to explain herself. So she was almost completely unable to explain even what the project is to me. Eventually after a week and a half I have gathered the basics from other people.

Unfortunately I’m not at all an expert or even knowledgable in this particular specialty. I just have worked a fair bit in the financial sector, which is very broad. To be fair, I was not hired to be an expert, I was hired to write. However, I can’t pull the info out of my manager as to what she’d like me to do. I’ve spent a lot of time reading their collected files and intranet. Sometimes she gives me something very brief to do, and I send it off to her, and she never mentions it again.

Meanwhile, the group is under severe time pressure to deliver a part of this project by end of week. I have the strong feeling that I’m expected to be doing things, but I can’t work out what.

As well, the clients have been complaining bitterly about the other consulting agency, that they are not delivering what they need. Well, if they communicate with them the way they do with me, I’m not surprised to tell the truth. And I suspect they are saying similar kinds of things about me as well.

Today at end of day, when I’d normally go home, I received a final file from the consulting group. Now my manager and I are supposed to modify this, ready for executive review tomorrow at 11. As well, my manager was in meetings all day, and again disappeared at four. So, I left. I had no direction, I’d spent a lot of the day filling time, I didn’t know when the manager would be back. She didn’t seem concerned about this upcoming deadline. OK, so I decided I’m not either. So I left instead of staying late. No one had asked me to stay late, I had no direction to speak of.

I also feel guilty for leaving. I don’t want to leave her in the lurch after all. But honestly, there is no one more aggravating than a boss who cannot speak. But if she won’t say what should be done, I will simply keep asking, and when it’s time to go home, I’ll go.

I must be triggered to be feeling so very angry. It’s a feeling of not being enough. As if there is some huge expectation that I can save this project, but I’m not doing this, for some reason, and therefore I’m not good enough.

I am so aggravated by this manager. She’s bantering with co-workers and such, and doesn’t seem worried by this looming deadline. On the other hand, she did say she worked until 1 am a couple times last week. It’s not that she’s not conscientious. I think she’s likely one of those people who only work alone. She doesn’t know what someone else would need to know. We did have one working meeting booked, and she simply sat and typed while I sat and watched her. She surely didn’t want to have any kind of conversation. I suppose that made me feel unimportant. Which I realize I am, but why book a meeting with me then?

In other news, I’m also trying to feel feelings instead of dissociating them, as when I do that, they come and hit me later and make me feel exhausted. Plus, feelings can have needed information on how to act or on what is going on. It’s a hard road to try and do this. At work, the temptation always seems to be to be a talking head, with no feelings.

I hope to move through the anger instead of pushing it down. It’s not at all easy.

I also have fears of being let go. As a contractor, it’s easy for them to decide to let you go, if you’re not all that they hoped and imagined. So probably fear is driving my anger as well.

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9 comments
  1. What a difficult working situation! It’s no wonder you feel uncertain and uneasy. I have worked with so many people who have difficulty describing what they want. I think it comes from not being able to see another person’s perspective–she can’t imagine what things look like to you, what you as a new consultant would know and would need to know. A lot of people have this limitation to some degree, but your manager sounds like an extreme case (don’t you wonder sometimes how someone like that becomes a manager?). Please keep reassuring yourself that it’s not you. It’s her, and it’s the company overall which clearly doesn’t have good systems or on-boarding and orienting new staff or consultants. You can only do your best with what they give you. I know you know this, but please remind yourself of it in a kind and caring voice, because it’s altogether too easy to take on the responsibility and guilt from other people’s dysfunction. Wishing you some peace of mind!

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you Q. It’s a bit of an emotional mess for me. I can only do my best.

      • That’s all we can ever do–and it’s enough. Take good care.

  2. Fear and frustration both drive anger, no triggers needed. You want to do your job but not given the information to accomplish this. It is frustrating to be expected to read people’s mind. I suggest that it really is them. Document each encounter. I found this is helpful in working with a difficult job. It doesn’t solve the problem but when someone asks I was able to share the documentation from the different meetings without relying on my patchy memory. I work as a teacher assistant. I’ve had many teachers that don’t know what to do with me so I sit or I find something to do to keep myself occupied. I hope you find a healthy solution. Hugs.

    • Ellen said:

      I think it’s both – it’s frustrating in itself, but it gets an added charge as a trigger too, and then I over-react. I appreciate how you found things to keep yourself occupied – I tried to do this also last week. Thanks

  3. wow ellen that’s so difficult! It sounds like a very tough situation to be in! Sending some hugs your way. xx

  4. I find those situations so hard 😦 I think it’s hard enough for people who have all their attachment-ducks in a row. For the rest of us it can feel utterly unworkable. No wonder you feel as if you are not enough – it sounds like you are in a situation that nobody could ‘solve’, even if they were more than enough.
    Can you approach this woman frankly with some simple broken-record messaging around:

    I’m here to do (this thing that you really need done).
    Me doing this will (help you achieve a thing you really care about)
    In order for me to do this (thing that you really need done)
    I need (list of very specific and clear things)
    Can you please help me to work with you in the way that works for you best so we can get things moving?
    Because if we don’t by (date, time)
    This will happen (consequence that she cares about).

    I often resort to sending progress update emails to people like this at a regular frequency – like a weekly update, even if they are higher up the food chain. A list of things that are outstanding from me and from them. It can help them focus, make them feel bad if the same stuff is still there week after week, and also cover your butt if things turn bad – you’ll have a record of all the ways you tried to get the job done and how you were unable to do that.

    Good going on the staying present, that’s a really tough one for me, too. Especially in situations like this where you are in your rational, working mind and everything can get stuff down, only to jump back at you full force, later on.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks defragging. Maybe I can try a version of those things. cheers.

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