Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Ok on work again the meeting of doom

Was long, very very long. But technically a success.

It wasn’t great though. Things were said that… I’m going to have trouble forgiving and even more forgetting. It’s going to be a big shadow on my interactions with the 3 SPs all the time. This is exactly the kind of thing I wanted to avoid in such a meeting – I was worried that they would say things that I’d then not be able to let go or forget.

Still, for now I can pretend they weren’t said, or shoulder on and grumble without dealing with that, so long as our professional interactions remain doable.

In terms of results, my points were met and acknowledge. And, eventually, agreed with. I’ve often thought this simply by the fact they’ve avoided the confrontations for so long told me they knew they didn’t have a leg to stand on – because if they did they’d argue me down.

And part of it was because it was so self-evident. You can’t look at a 90 billed hour week and think that’s remotely reasonable.

Each SP did, eventually own their own problems. SP#1 admitted to dumping anything he had spare one me. SP#2 admitted that while she didn’t do this personally, she was the primary reason everyone ELSE in the firm felt they could. SP#3 owned that he was scheduling me on next to no notice to fill any gaps in his schedule.

They did not admit to any kind of homophobic or heterosexist motivations (well duh) nor did I encourage them to – but it was concede that my “relationship” (‘marriage‘ guys. Is it really that hard to say?) was not accorded the respect it was due. We had a brief kafuffle where they repeatedly referred to my “sex life” before I had a SMALL snap and angrily pointed out that I want to spend time with my husband for more reasons than constant humping.

We have hashed out some degree of agreement

1) I don’t mind working flexible hours or travelling or being on call – but nor do I want any of them to be the norm

2) I would like some notice when required to do any of these things short of it being a genuine emergency. I’d like to be given a chance to say “no” and explain that I can’t. I’d like to be asked, not have my actions assumed.

3) If we are going to continue to take cases that require a lot of travel and/or expand our work load then the labour needs to be spread. I’m not telling them to turn down a case or not (not my place)

4) I can only work so many hours. I have a right to a life. I don’t have to justify my need for a social and family life. Yes, sometimes I will pull epic weeks of cramming, and will do so – but they can’t be the norm and when I do, I will not work as many hours the week afterwards. I can’t – won’t – maintain it.

5) I expect the same treatment as my colleagues. If you ask X to do something and he says “no, I have plans with my wife” and then turn to me and I say the same thing, I expect to have the same reaction – not nagging wheedling, grumbling or guilting.

So, in terms of results? Yeah, technically I got them (verbally anyway). I have problem acknowledge, I have solution agreed, I have made my point and, yes, they did listen. It was unpleasant but it was done.

Of course, last night we had our first fail (yes, less than a week, I’m impressed). SP #3 tried to put me on call, again at the very last minute. I got an email, 5 minutes before he was leaving saying scheduling was iffy and I needed to fill the gap. Again, not a request. Again, no chance or opportunity to say no.

I called him and couldn’t get hold of him. So I sent an email back saying I couldn’t, I had plans and would be unreachable. And went home and screened my calls.

Today there was a lot of snarky complaints but I hit him with hammers – if he needed an urgent response he should have called not emailed or even walked into my office or asked me to come to his. There’s no way he should have waited until that late to let me know and no excuse for leaving the office the second he’d hit the “send” button (what, man, did you run? Did you lace up some spiked running shoes before you clicked? Did you have someone else click it so you could get a head start?)

I told him this, at length and told him, AGAIN. He is now pouting. And I am sighing.

On the plus side, everyone else is sort of getting the message (I understand that the only real way SP#2 could have stopped what she was doing would be to send a message firm wide to leave me the hell alone, but there seems to be less encouragement).