October 25, 2007

This past week, we have been working on an assignment that our boss turned in late.  It was actually an assignment that she completely mismanaged, and apparently forgot about, due to the work involved and the timeline she had given us.  In fact, it wasn’t even brought to our attention until I had a conversation with another coworker about the assignment.  Three weeks prior, I handed off a box of 50 artwork selections for our boss to go through and select images from.  Upon completion of this, she would typically give the selections back to me so I can format them into a presentation for our client.  Three weeks ago, when I gave her this information, she did not mention a deadline.  Fast-forward one and one half weeks, and she hands off the box to one of her project coordinators and asks her to select the images.  She gives the project coordinator no deadline, and no sense of urgency to complete the project.  So, last Thursday I noticed my coworker was working on this project, and stopped to talk to her about it.  From bits and pieces that we knew about this project, we made the realization that she was preparing to set a deadline, and that it would be best to confront her about it.  I know her habit of deadlines.  The ones she creates usually are unrealistic.  I also recognized the pattern in her behavior, and thought it to be best to head it off before the problem arose.  What concerns me is that this is at least a full week’s worth of work, with dedication being put only toward this project.  In reality, that never happens.  There are always multiple projects in the works, and we all have to schedule our times and projects where they will best fit.  Often, the case may arise to where overtime is necessary.  That is an issue that we all face at this job, and we all accept.  However, during the school year, my options are limited, as I have class 4 out of 5 days per work week.  I don’t want to be placed in the position to have to choose between work and school, so I try to stay pretty proactive with these issues.  Me and my coworker confronted the boss about the impending assignment, and learned that it was too late to try to avoid the mess.  She was giving us less than a week to finish this project, with overtime being the necessity.  I have never had a job place me in the position to choose between doing my job or attending my classes.  I’ve always told myself that I would not allow my job to affect my education, and have always stated that fact at any potential workplace, including this one.  I have always actually worked toward scheduling all of my classes to not interfere with work hours in order to justify this position.  Now, without even a regard to anything or anyone else, my boss has changed the dynamic.  So, toward the end of the day today, after multiple last-minute changes to the project that would definitely put us into overtime, and would cause me to miss my class, she approved everything and left us to tie up the loose ends.  As I was rushing to finish up, it became inevitable that I was either going to drop the ball on this job and make my class, or bend my own principles, miss my class, and allow my job to start interfering with my education.  The job, unfortunately won out.  After weighing the pros and cons, realizing that this job was partially what allowed me to go to school, to live, pay my bills, and eat, it became more of a necessity to bend my principles instead of stand to my ground and prove my point.  Once I resigned myself to this, however, a very unexpected change occurred.  The rest of the office stopped me in my tracks, told me to go, and volunteered to finish everything for me.  I was shocked, to say the least, but very thankful that they all decided to work together to help me out.  I guess I could have applied that option in the first place without bending my integrity, but that thought did not even cross my mind.  I will just have to keep that in mind the next time this job threatens to change my basic principles. 

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