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HomeJob Opportunityopen thread - July 21-22, 2023 — Ask a Manager

open thread – July 21-22, 2023 — Ask a Manager

I have a rather picayune situation going on at work but it’s driving me 27 kinds of bonkers and I need to share. I’m in municipal government and it’s just a skosh disfunctional :/

I have had my current job (customer facing) for 15 years come November, and have been in the same office all that time: a large corner office with a rather awkward layout, like my phone and computer being on opposite ends of the room. It also had two desks because I need room for and easy access for two big ledgers I refer to constantly. The office manager, Evilynn, has a big office in the middle of the building with no windows, and the administrative assistant, The Sorceress, had a tiny office across the hall from Evilynn. The three other administrative employees, Orko, Teela, and Grouchy Smurf, share an office across the hall from me. There was also a small empty office next to mine.

The police department, which shares the building, is being completely rebuilt and they need room for their people while this is going on. The original plan was that Evilynn would move into the small empty office, the police would use her old office and the conference room, and when the police were back in their own wing Grouchy Smurf would get Evilynn’s old office. This was cool with everyone, especially Teela and Orko, who aren’t allowed to throw Grouchy out the window even when they really want to. An extra bonus was that the offices would be repainted and have new flooring put in, and we’d get new furniture out of the deal.

So one day Evilynn threw everyone for a loop when she came in and announced that she was taking my office, The Sorceress was going into the small empty office, and I got to have The Sorceress’ smooshy little office. “But are you OK with that? I want you to be happy!”

A) I know when I’m being told, not asked. B) If I’d expressed any displeasure I’d have been nagged to hell and back until I gave in. C) If you contradict her she gets incredibly defensive and snappish. So I wasn’t pleased at all, but I agreed.

The small empty office was redone and The Sorceress moved in there without much drama.

D) Evilynn is the queen of telling people what she thinks they should want instead of listening to what they want. So for a whole week she fought me tooth and nail on the layout I wanted in the new office, argued at length about how many filing cabinets I was going to need, kept arguing even after the furniture salesman drew up the perfect layout in order to have the counter space I need in half the floor space, and a month later is still making comments about how I’m going to hate the layout and will wish I listened to her.

By the Friday of that week, I was so sick of nagging, arguing, insisting, and passive-aggression that I was ready to scream. I also had to pack up my stuff because I thought the next office to be redone so I could move in following a scheduled vacation the next week. I got a little emotional – 15 years is a long time to have an office and I don’t really like change, plus there were some personal things going on that had me upset. Unfortunately, Evilynn noticed me sniffling and started bugging me to share what was wrong.

In a weak moment I admitted that I wasn’t happy about the switch and kaboom. She loudly started trying to deflect blame onto me, insisting she’d asked repeatedly if I was OK with the change, railed on about how my furniture was the most expensive out of anyone’s (which made me happy to hear, honestly!) and “with all due respect…” Nothing good ever comes of that so I shut the “conversation” down hard and she slammed out of the room.

I ended up apologizing just to keep the peace, citing the personal reasons and playing the tiny violin for all it was worth and Evilynn came over all sweet and nice. I went home, started my vacation, and seriously pondered whether I was going to bother coming back after it was over.

I went back; Evilynn had ordered the renovations to start in my old office instead of getting my new ones ready :headdesk: so for the first two days I had to make do in The Sorceress’ old office with her junky old furniture, without access to my email, files, and voicemail for the first day. Then I ended up back in a kludged-together setup in my original office, but at least I have my phone and computer…

As annoying as all that is, that’s not the most infuriating thing.

Now, Evilynn comes in about six times a day in a snit about how she hates my old-but-I’m-still-in-it office. The two big bright windows are in the wrong place. The eight-foot ceilings are too high. The fluorescent lighting hurts her eyes. The worst offenders are two small floor vents that are preventing her from putting her filing cabinets where she’d envisioned them. She’s this close! to booting the Sorceress out of her new office into this one and taking the one she was originally going to take.

I just sit here in my little kludge korner and smile like an idiot whenever she comes in.

My new office, whose renovations were much harder and more expensive than anyone else’s, too, because they had to put in a new customer service window and replace the drop ceiling, should be ready by the end of today so I can move in and Evilynn won’t be driving me crazy all the time.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you 😀

Note – I can tolerate Evilynn on an everyday basis because we interact very little, and the pension plan, PTO, and healthcare here are magnificent. The renovation of my new office looks great and it will help me be more efficient, and no, I won’t be regretting the choice of layout no matter what Evilynn says.


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