Helping when you’re not invited

What are you currently feeling pressure to do that you don’t particularly enjoy

Things were happening at a steady pace and I was pleased to have the office to myself, almost.  The non-government organisation (NGO) for whom I work keeps statistics extracted from client surveys that each counsellor does with clients during the first three visits.  It is my job to organise for those surveys to be followed up within a three to six month timeframe.  Once the follow up surveys have been completed I input the data onto the database, to which our funding body has access, and then extract reports from which we measure the efficacy of our intervention with clients.

I’d set up a process whereby the data was entered, scores kept for the agency but not required by the funding body were recorded, and client feedback was noted in a separate document.  Everything was running smoothly on Monday and Tuesday, I was enjoying the process and making good progress.   There were no other staff members in the building, the phone had hardly rung and I was working to a rhythm in synch with my contemplative yet focussed mood.  And then my boss arrived.

I have to explain or at least try to paint  a picture of the personality she.  She’s simultaneously the best boss and most frustrating person I’ve worked with; she’s the most organised yet disorganised member of any team; she can be focussed one minute and quite distracted and disruptive the next; we have weeks where we work autonomously followed by weeks of being micro-managed.  She’s a crazy-maker but she is the boss, also she is never wrong.  The one thing constant about her is that she is unpredictable, always.  What she is adamant about today would be the last thing she may suggest tomorrow.  w’ve noticed that she works in cycles but being as unpredictable as she is we become aware of the cycle changing all too late.  It usually takes us by surprise causing it’s own chaos.  It makes for a lot of misunderstanding and confusion within our small team.

The office door crashed open and the whirlwind that is the boss entered:

“You look busy,”

“I am actually.  I’ve got a good system going with these surveys and inputting them on the system.”

The questions and helpful suggestions started …  this was no door stop visit.  It took ten short minutes of listening to how the job had been done in the past, the system that had been used and how effective it had been, to leave me feeling totally diminished and inept.  Trying to explain my process was a waste of breath; she wasn’t listening.  And that’s another thing that drives us bonkers, when she’s done a task once there is only way way it can be done forevermore!

The stillness and confidence I’d had before her whirlwind visit departed with her out the door.  In its place was a pressure I did not ask for and certainly do not need with such a big task in front of me.  I felt my endeavours were dismissed which left me feeling resentful and quite frankly more than a little pissed off.  While I did find the rhythm again my peace of mind was AWOL.  I thought about how my work would be scrutinised for mistakes and the data nitpicked to within an inch of its relevance.  I found myself checking and rechecking figures and extrapolations which of course slowed the process down.

So boss lady, this is for you …

“The one good thing?  You are not at work tomorrow and I can get the job done in my own little bubble of quiet solitude.  I won’t have you to round in on me every half an hour wondering how much more I’ve done.  I won’t be feeling pressure from you to do it your way which, by the way takes twice as long because you handle every survey three times.  And just so you understand I do not enjoy your interruptions as they put unnecessary pressure on me to conform and I do not enjoy conforming, no, no, no.

“While we’re here listen up lady, just so you know for the next time:  “Helping when you’re not invited is called INTERFERENCE!”


2 thoughts on “Helping when you’re not invited

  1. Yes, it blows me away how lacking in self-awareness some people can be. Thanx for visiting Lynda. I’ll be looking out for your posts now that I know you’re part of the January challenge.


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