Monday, 16 May 2016

Memorandum Monday

Memorandum Monday is brought to you by a subdued corner of Deb's World this week.  By rights it shouldn't be subdued after the excitement of this weekend's most recent purchase -
My old faithful sewing machine died on me on Wednesday.  She's seen me through 35 years worth of projects, clothes for me, baby clothes, nativity play costumes, dozens of various dance outfits, PE bags, curtains, alterations and quilts.  The miles of thread we've shared! But her time had come to an end, and the excitement of choosing a new machine took over any sentimentality.  I browsed the internet, I researched and I asked friends for recommendations, then I sat my husband in the café at John Lewis while I test drove a few machines.   They're so quiet.  They're so light to pick up.  They're so clean and shiny and full of press button wizardry.  They have self threading needles!  Times have changed! She's already seen some quilt action and the new baby quilt is now finished except for hand sewing the binding.

So I shouldn't be subdued should I?  Not with that beauty sitting next to the dining table ready for a new project to be slipped beneath her bright shiny feet.  But I am.  And it's all down to work.  And office politics.  But the benefit of that angst is that it has brought me a topic for something new I did today.  I stopped bottling it up.  I stopped fretting about it while on dog walks.  I stopped rehashing conversations in my mind.  I figured there is no point in being quietly overworked, overwhelmed by deadlines and swamped by extra work because someone else has failed to keep up to speed.  So I emailed my line manager on Friday.  I asked her for a quick meeting this morning.  I didn't elaborate.  And of course I fretted about how I would open the conversation and what I would say, and more to the point, what she would say in return.  I woke in the mornings this weekend rehearsing whole scripts of dialogue.  Trying to think of answers to all eventualities.  I printed off emails to prove my points that I was coping with my own work well, all was going to plan and I was well on track.  I had 22 hours worth of work a week and 22 hours in which to do it.  It's the other work that's causing the problem.  Work that other people have run out of time to do themselves.  Work which shouldn't be my work. To help others meet their deadlines, I have been sacrificing my own schedules and putting myself under more pressure.  The morning of the meeting arrived, I was prepared. But anxious because I don't 'do' confrontations well.  And I have a horrible habit when feeling totally frustrated or angry to have a little cry. 

I pitched up in the office with paperwork and tissues (and a hidden bottle of Rescue Remedy.  Just in case.) And we sat and we chatted.  And she hadn't realised how much extra work I'd been absorbing.  And she agreed that if a certain member of staff who is now pushing a lot more work my way had kept to her deadlines back in March, this situation would not have happened.  Turns out I am a little too good at just keeping my head down (and mumbling under my breath) and getting things done.  And so we came up with a plan.  A plan where I could get on with my own work and not jeopardise my own deadlines by other people's bad organisation.  Where more straightforward work would be delegated somewhere else.  So, in the spirit of learning something new on a Monday - thanks to Sian - I have learnt that it's sometimes worth being brave and having the courage to say 'enough'.  Sometimes you have to learn to say 'no' and pass any delegating onto someone else higher up in the chain of command.  It doesn't come easily, I'm too much of a team player to not want to offer to help someone else who is struggling.  But I've learnt today that being brave and instigating discussions isn't quiet as scary as I thought.

Here's to a less pressurised week!   

11 comments:

Sian said...

Oh, I'm wishing you a happy week so hard from here! And offering you a huge pat on the back for taking that step. I'm so glad you did and that things are going to improve for you. No one takes advantage of our Deb!!

Now, that new machine..it looks wonderful. A self threading needle sounds like a miracle :) I can't wait to see what you make next

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

Yay for new machines that thread themselves. As I approach 50, I feel that is a feature that would be most useful to me!

I'm glad you had a good outcome once you braved the confrontation. Not an easy thing to do. Go Deb!

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

You must feel a huge sense of relief having that conversation behind you, Deb! I have always been a "team player" and have ended up doing my fair share of covering for someone else in the mix. I never mind it IF I have the time myself, and IF the other person seems to be really pulling their weight. I currently have a coworker who is always looking for someone to help her, yet she is rarely in the office and when she is...well...it appears to me that she's not doing much.

Anyway! Congratulations for taking that on and for the outcome! And congrats also on that pretty new sewing machine!!! xo

Patio Postcards said...

So glad you got that sorted. I have to tell my self daily, that No is a complete sentence & not the start of a discussion or debate. Work anst is quite difficult to leave at the office.

Oh I do like the idea of the machine self threading, it would help me a lot as I am not allowed anything with a sharp end in my crafting times - I have been told blood is not a median of expression!

Happy & more power to you week ahead.

helena said...

Bravo - I know how hard it is to say 'no, this is not working' particularly in a team situation. Enjoy the rest of your week with your lovely new machine

Julie Kirk said...

Good for you Deb - I hope the air's been cleared leaving you with the space and time to do your own job.

I've never really worked in a team situation - always off floating around on my own - but I do know what it's like when those in high don't realise how hard you're working at the coalface!

Wishing you a lighter week and more sleep this weekend. X

Julie Kirk said...

Good for you Deb - I hope the air's been cleared leaving you with the space and time to do your own job.

I've never really worked in a team situation - always off floating around on my own - but I do know what it's like when those in high don't realise how hard you're working at the coalface!

Wishing you a lighter week and more sleep this weekend. X

Ruth said...

Well done you! It's never easy having that type of conversation, is it? Hoping you're having a much nicer week so far this week.

Louise said...

You done well. It's so much better to get it off your chest than stew on it. It's also easier said than done.

Enjoy your new machine x

alexa said...

That's a great thing to have done, valuing yourself and making it visible and audible. Good for you :). Hoping you can relax enough now to enjoy that whizzy new machine!

Susanne said...

Oh good for you for doing it in a thoughtful way. Superiors don't always realize the details of what is happening day to day, so it is good to bring it to their attention when it really needs attention. I hope that your work days are much less stressful from here on out.