Asking For a Friend | Chapter 36
Advice from Babe to Babe
You asked and the BWH team answered. In this week of Asking For a Friend: how to confront someone who throws blame around, power through tasks you hate, and work through boredom.
I would first try to see where she’s coming from. Take a step back and figure out why she might be acting this way. Is she struggling with confidence in her job, or simply maliciously trying to cut everyone down around her? As tough as it can be, you will have to approach her at some point if you don’t want to get management involved. The more you can learn about why she might be acting the way she is might help you talk to her and show her how it’s affecting you in your job.
You’ll probably get other advice about how to manage her emotions. Here’s how to mitigate the collateral damage if that doesn’t work: Get. Receipts. Document the hell out of everything you (and she) are doing so you have a record of it later, in the instance you need to defend your work. The reality is, though, these things have a tendency to come out in the wash and even if your boss isn’t immune to her manipulation, your boss’ boss won’t be fooled for long. Put your head down and do good work, because at the end of the day, results are all that matter.
I had a similar experience with this during an internship in college—one I really enjoyed and excelled at—and it really began to affect not only my work and job performance, but my personal anxiety levels and desire to even be at the office. I did consult one mentor who worked in the office with us, and she encouraged me to confront the person head-on and let him know I wouldn’t be tolerating the behavior. To my surprise, it stopped! I’d encourage you to have a conversation with the person before going to upper management. Sometimes it’s pretty amazing what uncomfortable, open communication can do.
Focus on the end goal! It sounds like you have something to look forward to with your promotion, so all you can do for now is take it day-by-day while you’re in your current role. There are always going to be pieces of your job you don’t want to do, unfortunately, but if you can approach it in a more positive way, you’ll feel less miserable in the meantime and won’t carry negativity into your new position.
Focus on documenting all the things you dislike as you’re doing them so that once you find your replacement, the handoff of responsibilities is as seamless as possible. (And better yet, work to improve the processes while they’re still your responsibility; don’t slow down just because you’re been verbally granted a promotion. You don’t have the title yet.)
As an extrovert, working from home can get to be monotonous for me. To break it up, I’ll listen to a podcast, take breaks for a walk or pace my apartment while I’m on a call or reading an agenda. I also utilize my obsession with to-do lists by making a list of quick, lighter to-do items that’ll break up my boring tasks (can you tell I’m a Virgo!?)
Structure your day so you reserve those tasks for the right time—a respite for your tired brain, rather than a chore. Our bodies naturally go through energy cycles during the course of an average workday, and you have peak times for things like creative thinking and problem-solving (often considered 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.) Then, you have some other periods during which your brain basically turns to mush. I try to save all my boring, monotonous tasks (answering emails, entering data and catching up on time logs, routine copyedits) for 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. That’s the two-hour span during which I’m most sluggish, and turning to these types of line items gives my brain the opportunity to rest for a few minutes (after a morning of creative madness) before I wrap up anything pressing at the end of my day.
This is going to sound annoying and cliché, but when I find myself in moments of monotony in my work, I try to legitimately sit back and remind myself how lucky I am to have a job in the first place. Being cognizant of and focusing on my income, the roof over my head and the access I have to food and other resources (like coffee, TBH) keeps me going during the moments I don’t super enjoy.
Until Next Week,
—THE BWH ADVICE GURUS
Asking for a Friend is Babes Who Hustle's weekly advice column that asks and answers the work-related questions on all of our minds. Looking for advice and guidance? Hit us with all of your questions below and stay tuned for next Wednesday's edition!