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Old 10-28-2014, 04:07 PM
 
67 posts, read 62,448 times
Reputation: 99

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Hi All,

I'm posting this on behalf of my sister who works two jobs and doesn't have time to visit and/or post on discussion boards.

My sister (Sis) has a college degree in her field and works as a Lab Technician at a local college. Her job is a permanent part-time position and she's been there for 14 years. She is in her early 60's. Her work consists of gathering the materials and setting up the necessary equipment every evening for the different professors to use for their next-day's teaching needs. She also keeps certain records, and a few other things.

For the last several years, there had been another employee who did similar work during the day (taking back the used items and equipment as the classes finished, taking care of any unexpected need a professor had), and this employee had created a lot of problems for not only Sis but also the professors. This other employee was much younger and had no degree in the field, by the way. She left the job a few months back to move out of state, and the whole department heaved a sigh of relief. I'll call her "X".

Recently, the department hired a temp to work in the lab. She is in her 20's and has no degree or previous work experience in this type of field. The temp position may be made permanent, such that this girl would take the day-job that "X" had. I'll call this new person "Temp".

Temp has only been there a short while, roughly 3 weeks to a month. She is supposed to be trained by the department supervisor, but the supervisor doesn't know what the lab techs do and he is not into training although it's part of his job description. Training has been put on the shoulders of Sis, and training is difficult for her to do because she is not there full-time, she is only there in the evenings. This means that occasionally some of her hours overlap those of Temp, but not always. Sis by the way knows that lab and the work backward and forward, so in a sense training a new employee would seem to be a natural for her to do, but it's not in her job description and she only has so many hours she can work there per week as a part-time employee.

During the short time the new Temp girl has been there, she has been creating problems that Sis then has to deal with when she comes in. For example, Sis provided a notebook into which she (Sis) can write assignments for Temp to do, and in which Temp can make notes of anything she has a question about or wants to draw attention to during her shifts. Rather than use the notebook, Temp goes around in the stockroom and posts a sticky-note on things she has a question about, and doesn't even mark in the notebook that she put a sticky-note on this or that. So Sis gets to work, and has no idea there are sticky-note questions in the stockroom unless she happens to go in there and see a note. Then she has to walk around the stockroom looking for any other notes. Sis has asked Temp to please send her an email or make a notation in the notebook, and Temp says she doesn't like doing stuff on the computer and why should she make a note in the notebook when she has already put sticky-notes around.

Both Sis and Temp share the same workspace during their respective shifts. Sis has arrived and things she had placed on the workspace to the side where she can get to them quickly next time she is in, have been moved and no note left as to where they were put. There is a folder on the workspace desk, one of several folders kept there, but this one contains private/personal information on each of the students taking the courses that this lab serves -- Sis references this folder when there is a field-trip being planned, things like that. She keeps the folder sticking upright, not laid down sideways like the others, so she can grab it quickly when on the phone with a professor or student. The other day, she got to work, needed the folder and it wasn't there. Because it has personal info on the students, it is very Confidential and she panicked briefly until she found out that this folder had been laid down sideways instead of sticking up -- Temp apparently took it upon herself to arrange the folders the way SHE thought they should look.

Also this past week, there were some things that needed to be done on Friday to be ready for a student field-trip scheduled for Saturday. Sis was going to assign this to Temp to do on Friday, but then because Sis wanted to be sure it was all done correctly, she went ahead and put in extra time to stay even later on Thursday night to get that work done. Good thing she did, because Temp was not in on Friday at all. Apparently she had already worked all her hours for the week -- but no one told Sis, there is apparently no procedure in place to let Sis know when Temp will or will not be in.

Sis went to the Department Head this past week with her concerns. Temp is doing things she has not been told to do, she is moving things in the lab around and not communicating why or where, and she has not been responsive when Sis has asked her to please leave an email or a note in the notebook.

Department Head feels it is a "communications problem" and initiated a meeting of the 3 of them yesterday afternoon (himself, Sis and Temp). Sis laid out her concerns and what she'd like to see in terms of better communication from Temp. Temp went on the attack, and accused Sis of "telling all the professors I am just like X" (see above). Sis said, "Which professors? Name one." Temp refused to name any, saying only "Why should I, you know who they all are."

The Department Head stopped the meeting and said that HR would need to get involved. Sis is very worried that this vituperative 20-something Temp may set about sabotaging Sis' work or taking some other course of vengeful behavior. Sis is also appalled that her degree and 14 years' excellent history with this college are apparently being given so little weight that some kid can come in and talk to her that way and not be dressed down.

Any ideas on anything Sis can do? She can't afford to leave the job, and finding another in her field would be difficult especially at her age now. How can she protect against sabotage when she does her work at night and Temp comes in the next day and could mess something up?

Sorry for length, it's a complicated situation.
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Old 10-28-2014, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Suburb of Chicago
17,944 posts, read 8,770,815 times
Reputation: 18418
Quote:
Temp went on the attack, and accused Sis of "telling all the professors I am just like X" (see above).
The first problem is that it sounds like your sister told Temp the complaints she had with X. That's unprofessional.

Secondly, you stated your sister has been helping train X, but it's not her job. If the head of the department doesn't know all of the tasks the lab techs do, which is what you also stated, who is going to train new people? Or are they just naturally going to know this coming in?

If I were your sister, I would go to the meeting ready to hold my ground against anything Temp says. I would insist that if I'm going to continue my work here, Temp, or anyone else, must follow procedures that work best. Stickie notes fall off, so that's not effective. There are reasons you have procedures put in place and those should be followed.

And I would volunteer to do the training as long as I have some input about the person's performance since I would be the one cleaning up the mess when they don't get it right.

You have to love the 20-somethings who think it's okay to say they've chosen not to do it a certain way because they don't like doing it. That alone would get her canned in most business environments.
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Old 10-28-2014, 06:41 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
8,220 posts, read 12,532,405 times
Reputation: 14837
Dude why are they humoring a "temp" When temps cause problems they go bye bye. That is the nature of temp and why as a temp the person is supposed to walk on egg shells and not cause problems.
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Old 11-01-2014, 02:28 PM
 
67 posts, read 62,448 times
Reputation: 99
Sorry to be tardy getting back here!

In response to comments raised...

My Sis did *not* tell the Temp anything about "X". Temp has been a student at this college, and a year or so ago she took a course in the scientific subject. As a student in the course, Temp went on some field trips and X did the driving on those trips. X was known to be rude and dismissive toward the students, so presumably Temp knew this about X from her own experience. The professor who taught that course may also have said some things to Temp about X after Temp began to work in that lab.

At this point in time, Sis has requested to change her hours slightly so that there will be minimal overlap with the hours that Temp works. Her supervisors have granted this request. Sis doesn't know who will do the further training of Temp. It's possible that Human Relations will get involved, but that is not known yet.

As to why the department is humoring this Temp in the face of these problems, Sis has no idea. The position is a temp-to-hire one, so if Temp works out well she would be hired for the full-time part-time position. Both the department supervisor and the Department Head are fellas, and so Sis wonders if the fact that Temp is a cute young thing is the reason that Sis' concerns don't seem to be given as much weight as she feels should be given, but Sis realizes that this is an easy thought to have and may not reflect the facts.

.
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Old 11-01-2014, 03:14 PM
 
7,238 posts, read 10,540,585 times
Reputation: 5575
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchemist80 View Post
Dude why are they humoring a "temp" When temps cause problems they go bye bye. That is the nature of temp and why as a temp the person is supposed to walk on egg shells and not cause problems.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quailin View Post
Both the department supervisor and the Department Head are fellas, and so Sis wonders if the fact that Temp is a cute young thing is the reason that Sis' concerns don't seem to be given as much weight as she feels should be given, but Sis realizes that this is an easy thought to have and may not reflect the facts.
The bolded could very well have A LOT to do with it.

It's human nature for someone to bend over backwards for a person they're attracted to or have a personal relationship with.

Have either of you seen Mad Men?
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