Monday, February 11, 2008

Whatever you want

At one of my volunteer things, i recently came under the purview of a very nice young man. (It used to be another very nice young man, but the first young man went off to better things.)

I am basically filling in for this young man for a few hours every week so he can get some other things done. He is a real employee, i am a volunteer.

I keep trying to ask him how he would like things done, paperwork, filing, phone interviews etc. His answer is invariably a look of confusion and a "Whatever you want."

This makes me want to choke him. What i want is that he and i, and the other volunteer should all be doing things the same way, to avoid confusion. I don't have any ego need to do it any particluar way. I don't need to be coddled just because i am a volunteer. I want to be as useful as possible for the time i am there.

I was expressing my frustration to the other volunteer a few days ago, to find that she is feeling similar, but has an actual reason for it. He has never managed people before.

Well duh!

Now i get to think about how i can get him to be more clear. We used to call this managing up.

30 comments:

furiousBall said...

this is where my theory of having an ice hockey enforcer at the job would really work well, you could go down the bench, tap your goon on the shoulder and he check that guy into the boards and rough him up.

Maddy said...

Curious. My volunteer days were long ago, but I had similarly [frustrating] experiences. I don't know , the youth of today!
Cheers

Mrs. Chili said...

Managing up; I've never heard this term before, but I've certainly operated under the idea of "you teach people how to treat you." Is managing up just the same thing only a bit more focused?

Sober Briquette said...

He's lucky and he won't even know it. But that's OK, because you and the future vols will not have to hear "Whatever you want" after you're done with him.

Yay Meno. Making the world a better place, one lousy manager at a time.

TTQ said...

Mmmm, back when I was in the workforce I worked for the Govt'. The lower you were the harder you worked. And I always pondered my position as an Administrative Assisitant to the Superintendant. I did lots of work and research and he signed lots of things and sat in meetings. But at least I was never micromanaged.

On a side note, my husband said he married up. I was shocked to know he felt that way.

Diane Mandy said...

There is also a dance term for what you have to do. It's called backleading! Poor Meno. Is this volunteer gig worth it?

liv said...

I need a hug. So do you.

meno said...

furious, well now that's a useful suggestion. I'm off to find my hockey mask.

maddy, you have enough to do without adding volunteering!

mrs. chili, sort of, but it's where you manage your manager without seeming to, kind of like having teenagers.

de, i am planning my approach even now. I have to thank my fellow volunteer for pointing out the issue to me though.

ttq, being micromanaged is the WORST! Ugh. Your hubby is a sweetie.

diane, oh hey, it's not that bad. He'a a really nice kid, just unexperienced.

liv, all hugs gratefully accepted, and returned.

thailandchani said...

I prefer uniformity, too, so all of this makes sense. How to make it happen? I'll leave that to those wiser and more experienced. :)

Maggie said...

it sucks to have to do someone's job and get paid for it, but to have to do it and you're a volunteer? well that makes you a saint!

Marshamlow said...

My suggestion is to only ask him one question at a time so as not to overwhelm the poor guy. Ask opened ended questions or give him 2 or 3 options. Bring him cookies, when his mouth is full then ask, so he has to think a moment before answering.

Can you tell I was a secretary? I have to say I was a much better secretary than I was a manager, when I was promoted it was a nightmare. So I feel for bad managers a little.

Irrelephant said...

Somehow the thought of you teaching a young man important lessons makes me think of a certain movie...

pat said...

give him 2 choices only!!!..You want it this way or this?????

flutter said...

" Well, I want to go have coffee, so BYEE!"

Lynn said...

What you describe is one of the pitfalls of you having a very smart brain.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Perhaps you could explain to him, privately, how it would make his job easier if everyone did things the same way. And then offer to come up with a plan if he will agree to ask other volunteers to adhere to it.

What have you got to lose?

meno said...

chani, coward! :)

maggie, no no no. He's just young, and a pretty great kid. I think maybe i intimidate him, like telling his mom what to do.

marsha, i'll try that. And cookies are always a help. managing people is hard, and they don't usually give you the training you need either.

irrelephant, you are such a MAN! :)

pat, "Whatever you want!" Let's see what he says.

flutter, yeah that works too.

lynn, i think i might scare him a little. BOO!

hearts, i'll see if i want to put that much effort into it. i might be too lazy.

Sally Forth said...

I'll be interested to hear how this turns out. It's always difficult to manage people without letting them know what you are doing(don't let my husband know :).

patches said...

Tell him exactly what you told us, and be direct but not confrontational.

What i want is that he and i, and the other volunteer should all be doing things the same way, to avoid confusion. I don't have any ego need to do it any particluar way. I don't need to be coddled just because i am a volunteer. I want to be as useful as possible for the time i am there.

Don't be shocked if it doesn't work. Some people just don't understand, for volunteers or employees to be able to do the job you expect, you have to direct them, not give them free reign and a crystal ball.

QT said...

yeah, my vote is with the "only give him two choices - sadly, the same "trick" you have to use with children.

Princess in Galoshes said...

Just take charge. I didn't have time for that with my old boss, so I just took over. Eventually, he did everything my way, and we were all happy.

LazyLazyMe said...

I wonder what he says about you...

Dianne said...

Perhaps you and the other volunteer could decide between the 2 of you what works best and then just tell him what you've done.

He'll catch on after awhile ;)

Melanie said...

i hate that. tell me how you want it done. Be efficient!

sighs. good luck.

Irrelephant said...

Meno sweetie, you don't know the half of it. *wicked grin*

tt said...

Good luck with that one. If he doesn't have an opinion I'd just do it my way and pass the "how to's" on the the other volunteers. Why take a chance on complicating things...command decision time..
maybe? :)

egan said...

I find threats to a man's masculinity work really well. Show him your pinky and gaze at it knowingly. This ought to do the trick.

My Reflecting Pool said...

You two should have a good time conspiring. What Fun!

meno said...

sally, i will never tell your husband. Then he might tell mine.

patches, gee, you take all the fun out of it by being all reasonable.

qt, yes, but adults are so much easier to handle than children. :)

princess, i would if i was here more than 4 hours a week.

lazy, mere rhetorical frippery.

dianne, that might work too!

melanie, i am so goal oriented most of the time. that's why this bugs me.

irrelephant, does your wife know you are here?

tt, i'm thinking of doing something so silly that he'll have to take a stand. Like storing the completed forms under the desk.

egan, so i should bring up his small penis? Excellent idea!

my pool, why thank you. I usually have fun.

egan said...

Yes, exactly.