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Thread: What would you do? (sorry, really long)

  1. #1
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    What would you do? (sorry, really long)

    I have a career dilemma here, and I would welcome your input. I work in a dept of 40 people, where I am one of 6 supervisors. We are kind of a training ground for entry-level talent, and we are a feeder pool for our functional division of the organization. I used to be an administrative support supervisor, but my job has evolved to one where I'm managing entry-level professional employees.
    This year, my job took a quantum leap and my team is responsible for far more processes of greater complexity. I would say I am handling the transition competently, but if I could really excel, I would most likely see a significant jump in grade and pay.
    If I haven't put you to sleep yet, here is my dilemma. I'm working 11-12 hour days and just barely keeping my head above water. I am still responsible for some employees from the admin realm, and my manager is encouraging me to let them go, and she will assign to another part of the group. These employees do tip me to where I have a higher headcount of direct reports than anyone else in the dept, and additional direct reports certainly take more time and energy.
    The thing is that these employees and I actually love each other (I am truly fond of my entire team), and I've been supervising these particular employees for over 10 years. The department is composed of almost all millennials, but these employees are a bit older, and I am the only older supervisor in the department (I have the only age diverse group in the dept with Boomers through Generation Z high school interns - yes, I have a couple of those too) . I think if they were reassigned to another supervisor, it would make them feel abandoned and it would certainly make me feel like I was letting down people who count on me.
    It sounds sappy, but I think managing people is a sacred trust of sorts, and I think managing people with patience and compassion is my calling. I don't want these employees to feel like I've let them down. On the other hand, I am the primary support of my household, nearing retirement age and I can't pretend that extra income potential isn't important.
    It feels like my options are: keep plugging along as is/slow and steady wins the race, let the employees move to another team, or work longer days to try to excel. ( I also acknowledge that letting the employees move on is no guarantee of excelling, it would just free up some of my finite personal resources). What would you do?

  2. #2
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    A thinking tool I have adopted recently, after having buried two elderly parents in the past year:

    - My life is finite
    - I try to cast myself forward into time into my 90-year-old-self. When I'm 90, and relaxing on the sofa, what will I look back upon with fondness? What will I be happy that I spent my limited time on this Earth on? What will I have forgotten, or not care about, because it simply didn't matter? What will I regret having wasted time on?

    I then try to limit most of my time expenditures in the present to those things that Future Me will be happy about.

  3. #3
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bae View Post
    A thinking tool I have adopted recently, after having buried two elderly parents in the past year:

    - My life is finite
    - I try to cast myself forward into time into my 90-year-old-self. When I'm 90, and relaxing on the sofa, what will I look back upon with fondness? What will I be happy that I spent my limited time on this Earth on? What will I have forgotten, or not care about, because it simply didn't matter? What will I regret having wasted time on?

    I then try to limit most of my time expenditures in the present to those things that Future Me will be happy about.

    Then I try
    +1
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    If you were no longer their supervisor do you think they would still come to you as a mentor, taking up your time regardless, albeit less because you wouldn't have to do things like reviews?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yppej View Post
    If you were no longer their supervisor do you think they would still come to you as a mentor, taking up your time regardless, albeit less because you wouldn't have to do things like reviews?
    This is a good point. If you're still there then they can contact you as needed, or even catch up over lunch. So you can still be in touch for a few things here and there but you won't be supervising them directly, if I understand it correctly.

    Are you feeling anxious that your replacement(s) will do a crappy job?

    If it were me, and I were near retirement, I'd take the pay raise and bank it. The time will go by quickly.

  6. #6
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    My suggestion is for you to let go, and let them be reassigned. This will allow a couple of things to happen. You will have more time to excel and get your pay raise, and I think you willl be pleasantly surprised how focusing on just one area frees you from stress. And two, these people will get to see that they do fine without you as their direct supervisor, may well use you as an informal mentor/friend, and they will have a much easier time when you retire. Ten years is a long time in today's work world. Gradual transitions are less stressful for most people.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bae View Post
    A thinking tool I have adopted recently, after having buried two elderly parents in the past year:

    - My life is finite
    - I try to cast myself forward into time into my 90-year-old-self. When I'm 90, and relaxing on the sofa, what will I look back upon with fondness? What will I be happy that I spent my limited time on this Earth on? What will I have forgotten, or not care about, because it simply didn't matter? What will I regret having wasted time on?

    I then try to limit most of my time expenditures in the present to those things that Future Me will be happy about.
    +2

    Quote Originally Posted by Yppej View Post
    If you were no longer their supervisor do you think they would still come to you as a mentor, taking up your time regardless, albeit less because you wouldn't have to do things like reviews?
    How would you feel, if you found one of them wanted to move up into supervising the group, based on your being their supervisor and them learning from watching you? Would you still want to remain their supervisor and put a halt to that?
    In other words, talk to them. They may be happy to see you going for better things, and their may be someone there, who wants to try to move up as well.

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    Only you will take good care of you. Take these relationships out of the picture. What is good for YOU?

    I've worked those hours. No one will ever stop you.....except you! If your tank is drained dry you have nothing to offer.

    Time for a sitdown Pro/Con list for each choice! I know what choice I made but I can't tell you what to do.

  9. #9
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    The most emotional part of promoting is leaving behind the people that you supervising your prior position. I've gone through this twice. But each time someone who reported to me has moved up to take my place when I promote it. And they're both doing really well. It's a good thing to keep moving on and it's also a good thing to always try to have someone who can step into your shoes.

  10. #10
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    After thinking about it for a bit, it reminds me somewhat of feeling that way about my children. What is it about the employees that you are supervising that you feel will not be able to handle the change in supervisors extremely well. Why do you see them as crippled without you?

    Would I want them to hold themselves back for any reason for me?
    Sounds like a cruel question to ask but it is not.
    I had to keep doing this question analysis to myself to remind myself that these children of mine are capable, wonderfully intelligent people who will thrive if I was out of their lives at any point. Your supervised staff are capable intelligent people who will thrive and they are not leaning on you as a crutch in their lives.
    Last edited by razz; 9-16-17 at 12:27pm. Reason: Auto-correct GRRRRRR!!!!!
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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