Chapter 2 of a previous rant (actually, more like Chapter 2,000, but only the second installment to be published), which I fear may become a story rather Dickensian in length:
An update: since our heroine’s last adventure, our team’s data entry/workflow tracking person (in a normal law firm, she’d basically be a docket clerk) walked out with no notice in the middle of the day, never to return. (To be charitable to my boss, though, it wasn’t her decision to tell the poor girl that she’d be hired as a permanent employee after 3 months, and then string her along for nearly a year, but still.)
Also since our heroine’s last adventure, one of the two contact people at our team’s largest client has gone on maternity leave. Maternity leave is one of those issues one normally knows about several months in advance, is it not? If one is managing a client relationship, might one not want to tease out whatever the client’s backup plan is, especially if the person going on leave has several years of specialized experience that can’t be covered by a temp, and the work is likely to fall to one’s own team in some way or another, correct? Might it not be wise to consider starting to compile a list of transition issues before, say, TWO FUCKING WEEKS AFTER the maternity leave starts?
So in the interim, I’ve become the alter ego of our client’s HR rep while she’s out on leave, which means that I’m responsible for following up to make sure that everyone understands what information we need to do our jobs (drafting work visa petitions) and that the information is provided in a timely manner, so that the client’s personnel can come to the U.S. and do their jobs or remain in the U.S. without falling out of legal status. I know nothing whatsoever about the client’s HR processes. Initially, I was expected to answer questions about information to which I had no access. I’ve spent the past 2 weeks running around like a chicken with her head cut off, trying to draft template e-mails and have my boss and the other client HR manager review and approve them so I can DO MY JOB. And the sad part is that my job has been as gatekeeper for new billable work for the entire team, so that if my job isn’t being done, then none of us has any work to do, and the Managing Partner (who has been on everyone’s heads about how much billing has fallen off the past few months) will not be a happy camper. And if he’s not a happy camper, then believe me, nobody is a happy camper.
It would be different if my boss just gave me a task and leeway on how I feel it’s appropriate to accomplish it, but she won’t, because she is a control freak. It would also be different if she would actually address the team’s questions, so we can do our work, but she won’t. It would be even better if she were a proactive manager, but she never addresses macro-issues until about 2 weeks after they become emergencies. This morning I stuck my head into her office and begged, as I’ve done several times a week for the past several weeks, for the team to meet and hash out all these process issues so we can actually get some work done. She agreed that it was a good idea, and asked me to compile a list of everyone’s questions. I spent half the morning doing that, and then forwarded the compiled list around to the team for comments, with a request for what day/time was best for a meeting. (The other indicator that we all need some guidance: every single member of the team has come into my office to ask me some process-related question at least a couple of times in the past few days.)
The boss’ response to my e-mail? A complete 180. She ignored 75% of the list, and said that she was hoping for answers for the other 25% (I have no idea from where), and apparently doesn’t think there’s any point in having a meeting, or any other actual form of two-way communication for that matter.
Now I never signed on to be an HR rep; I’m a paralegal, and a damn good one. But if I’m stuck being an HR rep temporarily, then I need the tools to be a GOOD HR rep, dammit! Isn’t part of being a competent manager making sure that your team has what they need to be effective in their jobs? Well if that’s the case, then I’m apparently my own manager these days, because nobody else sure is…I’ve basically been making up crap as I go along.
Any ideas? I’m flailing in the wind here.