I'm not going to pit you, Boss...

…because I do understand that you’re upset, BUT!

One of my coworkers died Wednesday – 55-year-old woman, heart attack, totally out of the blue. This is very sad and very upsetting and very confusing for all of us, especially for my boss, who was especially friendly with her. (I liked the woman but keep my personal life and my work life pretty much completely separate, so I’ll admit to being less than completely distraught about this. Hmm – is there a pit thread about “I can’t believe what a cold-blooded lizard my manager is”? If so, I’ll know one of my underlings is a Doper.)

The woman who died was the same rank that I am – senior editor. As such, she had certain managerial duties as well as certain specifc titles that she worked on. Her work load is going to have to be redistributed. Not all of these decisions need to be made right this second, but there are certain things currently in process that will need to be given to someone else to complete. We have a production schedule to meet that is always the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads, and the fact that S. died doesn’t change that.

One of my managerial duties is to oversee the way the other editors are planning to allocate their time. My boss makes the overall assignments, and then I see who’s planning to work on what when to make sure that things go out on time. If there’s a problem, it’s up to me to come up with suggestions as to how to solve that problem, but my boss’s responsibility to say yea or nay to my idea – in other words, I can’t change an assignment without clearing it with her, just say “R is crunched next week, but we could move Job X over to K, who’s in better shape, whaddya think?” Doing calendars is a weekly job that’s done Friday morning. Overseeing this is a job that keeps coming back to me because if I don’t check things pretty carefully, the schedule goes completely haywire.

It’s Friday morning. People are coming to me with their calendars. I will need to have some idea about what’s going to happen to the late S’s workload in the next week or so in order to make sure that it all gets done.

I just went to my boss with an overview of what can be done to open up some time for others to do the work that is currently on S’s desk. I’m not asking her for overall decisions about who will do these jobs on an ongoing basis, and I’m not demanding a decision for how the managerial stuff S took care of will get divvied up – I’m just saying S’s Job Y needs to be completed, person G could work on it, and person K could do this thing that person G was supposed to do… But pls, what is the status of Job Y?

My boss starts talking about a minor point of Job Z, which is under control and anyway wasn’t what I was asking about, and when I ask for guidance on who’s supposed to do what next week, just throws up her hands and walks away from me.

Very helpful.

I know you’re stressed, Boss, and I know you’re freaked about S’s death, and I know you’re going on vacation next week (to do stuff around the house she just moved into with her fiance; it’s not like she has reservations at Club Med) – but don’t get pissy with me because I’m trying to make sure things don’t completely fall apart here.

And if that makes me a cold-blooded lizard, well, so fuckin’ be it.

i’m sorry to hear of your coworker’s passing.

it takes an office some time to deal with a sudden death. my office had it happen twice. both times it was vice principals. whheee doggie it was a big wrench in the works.

some people could think about what to do with the major projects each principal had and some couldn’t. those who could just worked around those who couldn’t.

the ones who pushed on with business felt they had a duty to keep the spirit of q and p alive and continuing their work was the best way they could honour them.

the ones who walked about like zombies and couldn’t hold a thought in their head, felt they were truly mourning the passing of q and p, and that was the best way to honour them.

perhaps you could say to your boss, i know this is a tough time for you and you can only think of s, so how about i deal with this so, you can deal with s and her family and find a way for the company to honour her and comfort her family.

now that i’m thinking of it, the interesting dynamic of q and p’s passing was; q’s office was raided within days of his passing (staplers, tape dispensers, etc) and someone moved into his office within a month.

p’s office was locked until his family came in and got his personal items. then for 6 months no one went in there. then it took about 3 months for the principals of the firm to go through his work files and clear the office. a year later the room became a conference room. after 3 years someone else moved it.

quite a difference there, huh?

Thanks for some much-needed perspective, rocking chair. I definitely come from a family where keeping a stiff upper lip and soldiering on is the paradigm. I need to be cutting her a hell of a lot more slack than I have been. (Angry and impatient – hmm, emotional reaction on my part? ya think?)

She and I sat down at the end of the day and went over a bunch of stuff, and it was a productive conversation – thus satisfying my needs, if not hers. I’d feel a little hypocritical getting all touchy-feely with her – as I said in the OP, I’ve spent a dozen years not discussing my feelings, emotions, or personal life with her – but I can be a lot more supportive in my own gruff, twicksterish fashion.

Apologies for the lightheartedness of this thread…but it was like a burning in my skull!
To be sung to “Sword of Damocles” from Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Sword of Damocles is hanging
Over my head…
And I’ve got the feeling someone’s gonna be
Cutting the thread!

Oh, woe is me,
My co-worker’shistory
And can’t you see
That I have to work
With a cold-blooded lizard!

I know, I know, I’m going to hell…

Ahem, anyway…

A good laugh – another route to perspective. :smiley:

Thanks, Ghanima --and, if you’d be so kind, pls. bring me a refreshing beverage when you get to hell – I’ll be there first, having made a certain joke to a certain former coworker when discussing S’s death…