Tuesday, January 03, 2006


2006 working days - 1.

2006 working days where my bosses have pissed me off - 1.

At 9.02am, come to that. Which is something of a record as they normally only turn up at 10am.

A little background. There are, essentially, three lawyers in my team, me, my boss and her husband. There are a couple of trainees and a paralegal too, but for these purposes we're not counting them. They don't have any responsibility as such. My team then forms part of a bigger team, but my boss, as a partner, has relative freedom to manage her team (ie me and her husband) as long as she meets targets. Or that's the theory.

There has always been a little tension when it comes to holidays and the like, as they swan off for two weeks at a time leaving me, alone, to hold the fort and to deal with the rubbish that invariably comes in. But last year the whole thing started getting very messy indeed. You see, she (or rather they, although I'm still not entirely convinced that Neil has the virility required to get her pregnant on their honeymoon and still vaguely suspect foul play) had a baby in March. Let's just say that management isn't her (and again, this means their, as they rarely act or think as individual sentient beings) main priority.

The pregnancy doctors appointments were only the start. How many fathers to be get to take time off work whenever they want to go to appointments with their wives? All of them. Every week. Then the maternity leave (and the paternity leave which obviously overlapped with part of it). She was off work for 7 months in total, leaving him in charge of me. His management style isn't exactly one that's designed to motivate or inspire me, and most of the time seems entirely designed to wind me up and make me want to strangle him. But I developed a coping strategy that basically involves ignoring him and getting supervision from other teams that I work with, and I survived.

Then she came back from work and things have started escalating. The baby has to go to nursery during the day (although sometimes you wonder whether they'd be better off sitting it in the corner of the office and letting it get started on some research as it might be less disruptive that way), and obviously has to be dropped off and picked up. The nursery is, I believe, open from 8am to 6pm, and most people would undoubtedly be required to make sure that the baby got dropped off in time for them to get to work at, or close to 9am. Not here, or not when you're the boss (or sh * gging the boss). No, instead of getting up earlier to get the baby ready and dropped off, it's obviously far more sensible for them to get up at the same time they've always got up, spend longer than before getting the baby ready and taken to nursery, and then arriving here at about 10. Which wouldn't be so bad either if they made the time up, but in between 1 hour lunchbreaks and leaving at 5, I'm not quite sure where that part of the equation happens.

But even that I can cope with, although with a vague sense of amusement from time to time. I suspect that he, at least, does take some work home for the evening, or he does when he's busy, but I'm not aware that she has ever done that since coming back. Other than one interesting fact. They both run on this routine, on these timings. Yet they come to work in 2 cars (and get 2 parking spaces paid for by work because of their status as partner and associate), for the precise reason that one of them or the other might need to stay later than the other. And you would have thought, that being the case, that at least one of them might get to work on time. Occasionally.

But that's not today's annoyance. Today's annoyance was also a relatively frequent occurrence. The baby was ill. Which obviously requires BOTH of them to take time off work to take him to the doctors. Fantastic, I'm in work alone again.

And it's not just time in the office either. Since my boss came back from maternity leave she's been, shall we say, less than committed. I know that she does have other priorities now, and that juggling them can be hard, but she's in a responsible position and gets well paid for it. If she's not going to put the level of effort in that the position requires then what does that do to the rest of the team? Coasting along may be fine for her, but how is that meant to inspire the rest of us and encourage us to develop our skills.

I don't want to go into the rights and wrongs of working mothers rights. I know that some compromises do need to be made (for example, she's only working 4 days a week, which is all agreed, adjusted for in the figures etc, and I have no complaints about that). But it really makes me feel like I'm being left in the sh * t because of their family situation. Because of the smallness of the team, and their relationship, if they have a problem at home I'm left to pick up the pieces at work while they disappear to sort it out. It's not a case of one of them or the other dropping everything, they both do, and I just don't think they'd get away with doing that if it wasn't for one of them being the other's immediate supervisor. It's just not fair on the rest of us (ie me). I'm also missing out on effective supervision, which would help my career, because of the position they've decided to put themselves in.

So why don't I leave? I'm considering it. But it does seem that I'm not the only person who's getting fed up. Finally it seems that management above her have cottoned onto something, and there may be changes afoot to have someone above her to run the team. She doesn't like them (well, she wouldn't, would she?), and I don't know whether I would because I've never met the person who would be managing me (better the devil you know?), but the longer this goes on, the longer I wonder whether it may be worth a try.


Anyway, that took the gloss off a successful morning. I managed to drag myself out of bed for the early bus to town and get to the gym to discover I'm back to my pre-christmas/lowest ever adult weight far quicker than I expected to be to be honest. Today was my first "official" post christmas weigh in and I expected to still be hanging onto a pound or two of the Christmas indulgence, but it's all gone which made me smile. Then I did a fairly good workout and although I'm not looking forward to getting up so early for another three days before the weekend, I know that I'll get back into the habit soon enough, and it's just a case of hanging on until I get back in the swing of things. Fingers crossed it will be soon!


Blogger kathrynoh said...

What a weird work situation, it must be awkward having to work with someone and their partner. I hope it gets sorted out for you soon cos I know I'd find it frustrating.

9:26 PM  
Blogger chaos said...

Congrats on weight! I also try to be sensitive for working moms. But I admit that I get frustrated too. They get flex time for family life. But I don't get similar flexibility for my life. Plus, I have to pick up her slack...There has to be a better way to arrange it all.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Silverella said...

I share some of your feelings. In my team there is only one man, and that leaves me with 6 other women, one of them leaves at 3 instead of 5 cos her daughter is less than a year old, the other one is a single parent so she has to leave all the time, the other one is 4 months pregnant, the other is trying to conceive, and oh...the seventh I have yet to meet, cos shes away on a maternity leave.

Its rough, but I try to think that I might be in their shoes one day and face them under this light.

However, it really is a matter of person. How you value your work and how you want to take advantage from your workplace and others.

Congrats on the weigh and thanks for the running tips!

10:27 AM  
Blogger Haloranch said...

Just read your fish blog and for all of you out there who are reluctant to try it, here's an amazing recipe for salmon. We eat it once a week (not always with the scotch):

4 salmon fillets, 6-8 oz each
½ cup orange juice
zest of an orange
1/3 cup scotch whisky (optional, but good!)
1 ½ tblsp maple syrup
1 tblsp grainy Dijon mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
¾ tsp salt
marinate the salmon a minimum of 2 hours in the fridge. Turn once. Longer is better.

Broil about 5-6 minutes on each side.

This recipe is to die for.

8:42 PM  

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