Remember the letter-writer a couple of weeks ago who had to constantly cover for a coworker was missing a lot of work? Here’s the update.
I very nervously had a chat with my boss, Jack. To my surprise, he agreed mostly with my assessment of the situation. While he had not been aware of how much strain I felt I was under, he agreed it was not sustainable. We sat and discussed what I could be expected to take on.
For the upcoming break, he asked if I could cover three specialized tasks during the two weeks she was away. He assigned all her other work, including doing some tasks himself. He agreed that she cannot be allowed to interrupt my work to catch her back up. Jack suggested I can take 15 minutes to brief Cecilia on changes when she returns, but I should not feel obligated to handhold her through the first days back. He explained that while he is not allowed to disclose HR discussions, he is exploring different options urgently. We also talked about what my particular signals for stress are and how I can check in casually (I don’t normally go to his office like other employees). I also found out I’ve been nominated for a company award and I will be receiving a raise!
As a lot of you said, my goodwill bank had run into a deficit. It seems Cecilia is unhappy; she has made several passing remarks that “X hasn’t been taken care of,” “normally when I come back, Y isn’t a problem,” and my personal favorite, “did you take off time too?”
But I am happy, well-rested, better focused, and that means a lot.
Me again. I’m really glad your conversation with Jack went so well and that this is being handled. (And it sounds like there’s more going on behind the scenes, too.) I don’t know how you’re responding to those comments from Cecilia, but I’d strongly suggest responding with, “I talked with Jack about how my workload doesn’t allow me to step in for you the way I used to. You should talk with him about the plan for covering for you when you’re away.”