Jammed Again

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’m in a job I can’t afford to leave. I’m the single mother of a college-
bound daughter. Unless an all-expenses scholarship drops from the
sky I will need to at least pitch in towards tuition for quite a while.
What little communication has existed between my boss, my co-
worker (a department of three), and myself seems to have vanished. I
run payroll and he’s sending her for training! Without even asking me
if I wanted to go too! People have me tagged as having a temper from
two times I told off another colleague who demanded a time-
consuming task the day before payroll had to get to the bank. It’s not
that I am hard to work with but it comes from caring too much about
how the work is done and having to clean up too often after too many
incompetents. Can you give me some communication and temper-
control tips?

Jammed Again

Dear Jammed Again:

Two problems, two solutions. Anger first. Though it’s easy to say, Just
don’t say things that’ll give yourself a bad reputation, it’s harder to
pull off. At the risk of sounding like I’m endorsing voodoo dolls, I’m
recommending you buy a pincushion or two. Paint faces on them but
keep them in a drawer at home. Stick a note in bright red ink on each
one any time you’d rather scream: Payroll!! Training!! Bad email!!!
When there&'s no more room on the pincushion, collect all the little
notes and burn them. Repeat as needed.

Do not show anger at work. The only emotions you should reinforce
are the nice ones that do not allow anyone to tag you as a problem
child. Sing the loyalty oath at all times. Frame every statement and
question politely and in terms of teamwork: I only want what&'s best for
the department/company. How can I help optimize our production
function? What does it take for us to get better and more efficient?
Note: Us and we not you vs me. Pronouns matter, and the wrong ones
will betray and undercut any attitude you’re trying to conceal.



PS: Just in case training your colleague to do your job is more than
just back-up cross-training, think 9% unemployment before you let
your temper go ballistic.