work changes

I forgot to note some of the changes that have been taking place here at work. I’ve alluded to a new boss, though she’s really the previous manager for this section, but took a year’s sabbatical to complete her doctorate. Since I only joined this agency last August, I hadn’t worked with her before.

The interim manager was a sweet man, but basically marking time for retirement. He and I had some communication style issues for a while, but eventually worked through them to work well together. The biggest lingering problem throughout my time working for him was his memory: he’d sometimes tell me something but forgot he had, so would end up tasking me again or task someone else independently; he’d tell me something one day, but the next day think he’d told me a week ago and want to know why the project wasn’t finished; or he’d forget to tell me something altogether, but think he had, with the same result. I soon learned that a good paper and email trail was key to dealing with this issue. All in all, he was extremely laid back.
The returning boss is a very different person, in terms of personality and style. She and I get along great, and she’s been remarkably hands off with me, especially considering what I’d heard of her as a micromanager from my two peers, and given that I was a completely new and largely unknown quantity to her. The only real issues now are that she is one of the most quintessential Type A personalities I’ve ever seen; at times the energy she exudes is very positive, but it can also be extremely exhausting. She views almost everything is treated at crisis pitch, making it hard to distinguish what’s really important from what’s just part of the higher background noise. I also feel that she treats my three (female) colleagues, her other direct reports, somewhat disrespectfully at times. One of them just announced last week that she’s leaving, though that appears to be more related to her desire to get one last promotion before she retires in just a few years.
Yesterday, the onsite manager for the contractors we use throughout our section was fired. I feel a little guilty. For several weeks, I’ve been saying privately that I wanted him gone: it’s not clear to me what work he really does, as the reports he was supposed to provide me on the status and progress of the contractors on my team were always incomplete and inaccurate, and the major tasks he’d been given last fall were still unrealized as of his departure today. Much of the time it wasn’t even clear where he was; one would go looking for him to be told that he was at the contracting company’s corporate offices, much more often than seemed to be completely necessary. And he had delegated almost all of the administrative responsibilities down to his subordinates, and would try to task us, to whom he reported, to write the performance reviews for his team, an entirely internal contracting company document and procedure. Worst of all, though, he would say one thing to us, or be told one thing by us, and say something completely different to the contractors; it felt as though he were playing us against one another.
But all the same, it was a bit disconcerting the way the contracting company handled his termination; apparently, he hadn’t even been told by them there were problems with his performance, or given an opportunity to fix them. If I were one of the contractors on that team, I’d be very disheartened at the way the company seems to treat its employees.