Observant little ...

I don't understand the answer, but I may have some ideas on the question...

To be manager, or not to be manager

I have a conundrum. My manager wants me to do his job for 4 weeks, starting when my current secondment finishes. I've done his job before, and I hate it. It's a lot of work and a lot of pressure, especially since I don't do the job very often and I spend twice as long as he would getting any one task finished. I don't find it intellectually challenging, but it certainly does test my temper. I also have to rely heavily on the admin staff to complete the various reports that are due, since I don't do them regularly and have to rely on their expertise as to what goes into them usually. Which would not be so much of a problem except that they're all much older than me and usually treat me sort of like a younger sibling.

I've only ever done his job for a maximum of two weeks before, and even so, things have gone wrong to the extent that he ended up coming in for a day to help me out. He knows his job is not easy - he works 14 hour days to get it done and has the experience to do things quickly and efficiently. It's not something where he can really prepare me for the problems that come up - I just have to deal with it the best I can.

All of this compounded by the fact that I haven't been in that area for nearly a year and no longer have a good knowledge of the day to day running of it.

I don't want to do it. I think everyone knows this. The problem is that no-one else wants to do it either. Well, one person would like to do it for the management experience, but my manager's manager won't approve it because this person has no legal experience. And when I've done the job before, apparently I've done it well. Or at least better than anyone else except for my manager. So basically, it's me or no-one.

And therein lies the problem. My manager is a fantastic manager - he has encouraged me to take past opportunities even when it was going to cause problems for his area. I have a very good relationship with him and would like that to continue. Not the least because I think he's a truly lovely person and really needs the break. If I don't do his job, it will either be left empty while he's on holidays (so he'll come back to an ungodly mess), or he won't be able to take the holidays he wants.

From my point of view, the upside (more money, a fairly long period of management experience for my CV) doesn't really outweigh the downside (long days, major jump in stress levels, doing a job I really don't enjoy). So I would only do it as a favour for my manager. Maybe if I'd been back in that area for a while I'd be less concerned. Maybe if I'd been able to test my relationship with the admin staff (which has been strained since I was a witness in the bullying complaint) I would not feel this sense of impending doom about doing this job. But I have to decide whether to do it now.

I chatted to my Dad about it and he suggested that my manager and I go to the big boss (my manager's manager) and tell the big boss about my reservations in taking the position on. That way, if I'm still appointed to the position, I should be able to get his agreement to help out with some of the financial aspects of the position (like the budget) and the one's he can't help with, he'll at least be aware of my concerns and will hopefully make some allowances. Since a large part of the job is keeping the big boss happy, this should make things somewhat easier for me.

Unlike some people in my area, I'm not afraid of pointing out my own shortcomings. I know when I'm able to do a job and when I'm not. There's a lot more of the first than the second in my employment history and I'm confident of my abilities in many areas. So when I'm not, I don't mind pointing it out. I know it drives some of my superiors mad, especially when they're in the process of talking me up, but I don't want to take on a position under false pretences, only for the higher ups to discover that I can't really do what they wanted me to do.

So anyway, I'll talk to my manager and see what happens. Maybe it will all turn out wonderfully. You never know your luck.

By the way, does anyone know anything about this BlogShares thingo? Apparently it's "a fantasy stock market where weblogs are the companies". Apparently, my blog has a valuation of B$3,576.94 and some person called Blog Lastedge.net bought 1250 shares back in July. And this is without me even knowing it was listed. Curious.

Listening to: Jeff Buckley - Grace


Blogger Lushlife said...

Four weeks in the scheme of things isn't that long and you sound like you are more than capable and it is a good thing to have on your c.v. on balance I would say do it.

I have conundrums about temporary management positions which make bigger demands on me mainly because of my obligations to my children - but I am usually willing (if there is no one else and because I like my manager) to make the sacrifice for the short term.

I prefer however that the burden be shared where possible if it is a particularly nasty little job because one person should have to do it most of the time except for the permanent person and temporarily the burden should be shared so that others can get some experience as well.

That Blogshares thing is weird this is certainly the first I have ever heard of it.

12:34 pm  
Blogger QM said...

I think that talking to the manager is a good idea - there must be a middle ground between nobody doing the job or you doing all of it. If they are faced with the prospect of you saying no to doing the job, then surely they would want you to be able to pick and choose the tasks that you feel comfortable doing.

1:27 pm  
Blogger OLS said...

Lushlife - thanks for your comments. I would love to share the responsibility, but when there's no-one else, that also means no-one else to share it with. It may be that the big boss will let the person who is keen for the experience do the job for a couple of weeks, though that just means that I would be taking on half the job for no benefits, as she cannot do the legal side of it.

QM - unfortunately, because of the nature of the job, there isn't much of a middle ground. If I take on the position, I also have to take on all of it's associated statutory delegations. The job primarily involves making decisions and signing off on reports, and you can't have someone else do that for you. I have to be certain they are correct before I sign off on them because the buck stops with me while I'm in that position. I can seek help from the others in understanding the reports that are prepared, but I still have to check them myself.

The part that I'm most concerned about is doing the budget - I have a vague idea about what's involved, but it's a bit like going from an associate with no involvement in the firm's financial affairs to being managing partner and accounts manager all rolled up into one person. You may know about the parts that you are involved in (like what sort of money has to go into the trust account), but not the parts that are usually in the relm of the managers only (like how to prepare the tax return for the business). Sure I'll have help in the actual preparation, but I'm still the person who has to sign off on it to say that it's correct. And will be called to account if it isn't.

Which is what worries me.


2:23 pm  

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