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  1. #61
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    Just to clarify:

    My friend is not the head admin assistant and the other women aren't secretaries either. She's the Executive Assistant to the Director and also the departmental admin assistant. The other women are program assistants/coordinators who report to their supervisors. The people that are giving my friend work are the bosses of the program assistants because the subordinates don't do a good job. These other bosses outrank my friend because of their position title, but they're not her supervisor. My friend only answers to the division director. But since my friend is also the departmental admin and has that nasty "other duties as assigned" clause in her job description, that's open-ended enough for the other supervisor's to give her extra work under the guise of it being "departmental related." It's not really because they have subordinates to do these projects.

    The initial email was written not by my friend, but by another coworker who wanted to stop eating lunch with the women in the clique. They still don't talk to her much aside from work related issues. I'm not too involved with the women in the clique, I am on speaking terms with them, but my actions have indicated that I don't want to be included in their little group and they leave me alone. Also, I'm not in that department which helps.

    Thanks for the advice FineLine, I like the idea of sandbagging. The other women are definitely doing this since they know someone else will pick up their slack. As far as the work load situation is concerned, my friend accepts that some of the blame lies with her, so now it's just a matter of taking a course of action that will make her duties manageable.

    I think I'm going to start a thread about alpha females when my thoughts are gathered enough on the matter. Alpha females are this strange mix of outright aggression, passive-aggressiveness, sugar, battery acid, and vulnerability all sandwiched together.
    Relationships have normal ebbs and flows. They do not automatically get better and better when the participants learn more and more about each other. Instead, the participants have to work through the tensions of the relationship (the dialectic) while they learn and group themselves and a parties in a relationships. At times the relationships is very open and sharing. Other time, one or both parties to the relationship need their space, or have other concerns, and the relationship is less open. The theory posits that these cycles occur throughout the life of the relationship as the persons try to balance their needs for privacy and open relationship.
    Interpersonal Communication Theories and Concepts
    Social Penetration Theory 1
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  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    Thanks for the advice FineLine, I like the idea of sandbagging. The other women are definitely doing this since they know someone else will pick up their slack. As far as the work load situation is concerned, my friend accepts that some of the blame lies with her, so now it's just a matter of taking a course of action that will make her duties manageable.
    Good. Glad I could help there. Just a couple extra notes:

    Naturally your friend should stay current and up-to-date on the Director's work as much as possible. The Director is her bread and butter, and she doesn't want to poison her own bread and butter. But she should sandbag work from the Committee heads and other supervisors as much as possible--by taking advantage of scheduling conflicts between the Director's work and Committee work, by permitting lots of interruptions while she is working on Committee work so that it runs past deadline, etc.

    And she should keep everyone informed of all emerging problems--by asking the Director to resolve scheduling conflicts, by informing Committee heads and other supervisors that she is running late on their work (with a cc to the Director), etc. That way no one can accuse her of being underhanded. Also, that way her overwork problems will start getting addressed. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Your friend has to stop doing more than 8 hours of work per day, and she has to make the Director choose which work she does so that he will get an accurate picture of her true workload.

    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    Just to clarify:
    The initial email was written not by my friend, but by another coworker who wanted to stop eating lunch with the women in the clique. They still don't talk to her much aside from work related issues. I'm not too involved with the women in the clique, I am on speaking terms with them, but my actions have indicated that I don't want to be included in their little group and they leave me alone.
    Okay, I conflated your friend (the departmental admin assistant) together with the woman who wrote the letter. As for the letter-writer: So the clique isn't making her life hell, per se; they're just excluding her?

    I suspect that's what readers here are particularly interested in: Readers are wondering if the female clique dynamics are so potent that the letter would turn out to be the kiss of death for the letter-writer.

    IOW, is the letter-writer surviving okay? Has everyone settled down and worked out some way of living together? Or are the other ladies so pissed that they're determined to run the letter-writer out of the workplace by sabotaging her in some fashion?

    My experience is that people work these things out and learn to continue working together (albeit they may not be real friendly toward each other for a while). It's one thing to be catty. It's quite a different thing to sabotage someone or deliberately run a coworker off the premises.

    By the way, thanks for the fun stories of your workplace. I've enjoyed the gossip and the mental exercise of playing out scenarios.

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