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"Don't feel like I am throwing you under the bus..."


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Old 13th October 2008, 3:40 PM   #1
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"Don't feel like I am throwing you under the bus..."

Our company has been having problems with our alarm company. An example: just recently we had some electrical work done and told them to only call if there was a break in and only call the person on site. Not to call when there was a power failure because we knew this would happen. My boss, our COO, got called three times that morning about the power going out (and he was not the person on site). They also had faulty equipment and 2-3 times a week we would get a call for a motion detecor going off, when nothing was wrong. We had an account rep who wouldn't show up to meetings or return calls.

This type of stuff has been happening for months...each time they tell me everything is resolved, but another problem occurs. I fianlly had to get corporate involved and the branch manager (in January). There most recent solution was for me to only call two people at the company and not to call customer service for anything. The two most recent times I did this both people were out and I got customer service. The result was the issue when the power was being worked on...so that didn't work well.

That being said since Feb we have been interviewing companies to replace them and my boss hasn't like any (three) so they asked me and this other woman to find some more options.

I told her today that they wanted this to be a priority. She got all mad and called me to her office so we could talk...

She basically said I am too emotional about this, even my letter to the company was too emotional (because it was too long) and that she wants to meet with my bosses and wanted to talk to me so I didn't think she was "throwing me under the bus" when she basically told them it was all my fault.

I asked her how it could be my fault when all I can do is ask this company to do their job. She said they were nice enough to spend a whole day here free of charge fixing faulty equipment and I should appreciate that, but because I am too emptional I don't. And that I make her feel like she has to walk on egg shells.

I told her I have a job to do and she asked what that was. I said to make sure my bosses don't get woken up twice a week at 2am (have to drive 40 minutes to the office) because of an alarm company that can't get their act together.

So she tells me she doesn't now want me running to them complaining about her, thus throwing her under the bus!! because she doesn't want to work on this project.

So I told her she could tell THEM, not me, how she feels. So she went to my boss and told him she didn't think things were bad enough to warrent getting a new alarm company in here. So he tells her they are incompetant and two weeks ago there was an issue with them and he is unhappy.

Before she leaves she tells him that the reason we havn't been looking for a new company recently is not my fault but her's and not to be mad at me...I guess that was suppose to make me feel better.

She WAS the only person at work that I really got along with. I guess that's all over. I know it's stupid to end a freindship over this, but she was going to tell my boss that I was doing a bad job with this and too emotional...I know they would have sided with me because they are WAAAAYYY more fed up with this company then I am...

What would you do?
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Old 13th October 2008, 4:20 PM   #2
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Something's missing in this story. On the food chain, where do you both stand? Does building and external maintanence, contract negotiation, normally fall within her realm of responsibility? Was she the person who had negotiated the original contract with this company?
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Old 13th October 2008, 4:30 PM   #3
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I am the Exec. Assistant to the CEO and COO, she is the purchaser. I find vendors, my bosses pick's them/make the final decision, and she maintains the files and contracts with them (reviews contracts prior as well). We have been using this current alarm company since before we both started, but they were bought out a year ago and this is when all the problems started.

The other ones we found which I interviewed and got proposals from each had a fault, I think some were small, but my boss didn't like them.

But she doesn't deal with them on a day to day basis.
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Old 13th October 2008, 4:41 PM   #4
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From the sounds of it, she's washed her hands from the initial responsibility of finding a new vendor. With this in mind, just keep looking until you find one that your boss(es) are happy with. She'll end up doing what she normally has to do within her job functions, the finalization process.

As for work friendships, if you don't feel you can trust her, don't. That doesn't mean the two of you can't be civil and respectful. There will always be professional interactions between office personnel. Best to keep those interactions cordial.
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Old 13th October 2008, 4:52 PM   #5
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Yeah, the hardest thing is now I feel like I can't trust her. As soon as she said, "I want to meet with the bosses but I don't want you to feel like I am throwing you under the boss...". I said, "Oh, i won't feel that way because this isn't my fault." So she told me I am getting defensive and I am too emotional. Which is funny because she is very, very emotional and had a tantrum when I told her we needed to find a new alarm company. She basically told me no, said she couldn’t deal with this, went in to her boss to complain and then called me into her office, all with in 4 minutes.

It sucks that she thinks it is some how my fault...enough to tell my bosses this

When she met with my boss he told her we could test them and she is to call and change our account preferences and see if they are able to do it correctly. We shall see what happens.

I will certainly not interact with her as friends anymore, but I will be professional. This isn’t the first time we have had an issue.
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Old 13th October 2008, 4:56 PM   #6
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She has apparantly come in on the tail end of this and doesn't fully understand what's going on. She also seems to resent the fact that they involved her. There's not much you can do except follow thru with your original plans. If you still have to work with her, then talk to her about what the game plan will be.

You can still get along with her but she's not someone who's ever going to be your friend. She got emotional, too, and thought that going to the boss would make him see the light. Just get a new company and move on. BTW, have you tried Brinks? We've never had problems with them.

In the future, I recommend not letting a situation like this escalate and become such an issue. After the 2nd or 3rd conversation with them that didn't get resolved, you should've talked to your boss and started looking for a new company by then. I'm not sure the letter you sent was emotional but it was a waste of your time. If you're hiring them, you don't have to explain anything. Either they provide the type of service you expect, or you move on. It doesn't require a lot of conversation.
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Old 13th October 2008, 5:03 PM   #7
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Keep in mind that someone who has to handle the vendors on the back end of things, also maintains a rapport with them. If the vendor in question has appealed to her, she might be conflicted in her assessment.

I will say that any communications with vendors or anyone in the office, should always be a situation of placing emphasis on the problem, not emphasis on the person/vendor.
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Old 13th October 2008, 5:27 PM   #8
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Hi Angel,

Yes, we liked Brinks the best and we were both hoping we would get them, but there contract terms were too strict. We started having problems with our current company a year ago and my bosses and I have been talking about it a lot. I started to look for a new company back in Feb. Our Chief Security Officer and myself interviewed three companies. Then my boss had me get her involved to look at getting out of our contract with the current company. I gave mer my notes, e-mails and discussed most issue during that time with her so she was aware because she was talking to there managment about them breaching out contract with poor service.

I think the main issue is she felt like a failure for not finding a company to meet my bosses needs (this was not her fault, or mine). And we both know we won't be able to find someone who will...but when my bosses ask me to do something I at least have to try.

TBF, this was the first time she had to deal with them and she doesn't like them either. But she felt that they made ammends by giving us two people to call directly. Except that I am the one who has to call them and they are usually out so I get customer service anyways. Last time that happened she snapped at me for getting connected to customer service instead of calling back our contact. I explained that I should be able to talk to anyone and get good service...I guess I am unreasonable because I want this company to do there job with little monitoring and follow up on my end.
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Old 13th October 2008, 5:38 PM   #9
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In situations like these (and I've had my share in the last year), I find the best thing to do is to see your coworker's point and say you understand why they feel this way (even if you don't). The goal is to communicate to improve business relations - not prove who is right and who is wrong (or even make friends).

She felt like the situation could have been handled differently. You don't. Tell her you understand why she may feel that way (even though you might not) and say you will take it into account in further communication. That, however, you feel your job is to ensure that your bosses don't get woken up at 3 in the morning.

You know what'll happen? She'll be stumped - she'll calm down and, most likely, be more open to your point.
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Old 13th October 2008, 6:06 PM   #10
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After I mentioned my job is to make sure they don't get woken up, she said she felt that they (alarm company) has made ammends and has been doing a good job. When she met with my boss and he told her what just happened two weeks ago she said, "Oh I didn't know that." That is kind of the point...she doesn't know what they deal with every day and every minute. So when they say they want a new alarm company, she needs to do what they ask.

I basically told her my opinion didn't matter and that if she has concerns she should bring them up with the bosses...
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Old 13th October 2008, 6:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redfathom View Post
After I mentioned my job is to make sure they don't get woken up, she said she felt that they (alarm company) has made ammends and has been doing a good job. When she met with my boss and he told her what just happened two weeks ago she said, "Oh I didn't know that." That is kind of the point...she doesn't know what they deal with every day and every minute. So when they say they want a new alarm company, she needs to do what they ask.

I basically told her my opinion didn't matter and that if she has concerns she should bring them up with the bosses...
Well that's my point. You don't have to fight with her in order for you bosses to see that you're doing your job. In the end, they're the ones who direct the team. So in the grand scheme of things, it's up to your bosses to decide how she should do her job - not you.

You also don't have to agree with her - much like she doesn't have to agree with you on the best course of actions. She brought up a point to them about how the contract was handled she felt strongly enough about. It was business. Your bosses stood by your decisions. Still business. She was doing her job as best she could, you were doing yours at best you could. It just so happens that in this situation, you two disagreed on the best course of actions.
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Old 13th October 2008, 6:36 PM   #12
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I wouldn't mind if we just disagreed, but she was prepared to tell my bosses that this is my fault. I almost wish she did, because they know it's not and would have told her that. Then she complains as I am leaving, telling me I am going to go run to them and tell her she doesn't want to do this...

I told her that's her deal. We can disagree, but before she wants to get me in trouble, she should really have the big picture and she doesn't. I also have no issue with her wanting to do her job, she just doesn't seem to know what that is.
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Old 14th October 2008, 6:54 PM   #13
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Bwahahahahahaha!

So I talked with my boss this morning and I told him about my conversation with our purchaser yesterday and how she felt that I was to blame for this mess with the alarm company. He said that he didn't feel that it was my fault at all and if he did he would have talked to me about it himself.

We discussed the project she (purchaser) has to test them by changing our call list and making sure they did it correctly, by e-mailing her confirmation of the request.

Well, she did it today and just came over to my boss and said that they (alarm company) messed it up so she called the head supervisor there and is trying to build a relationship with him so this doesn't happen. My boss thought it was amusing and told me.

Can I just say - I feel so much better!!!

My boss said to just go ahead and let her handle it for a while and in a week we will test the alarm company again to see how they are doing.

I just think it's great because she blamed me for all the problems for the last year with them, when everyone else agrees it's not my fault. Then she gives them one task and they mess it up!!!

This just made my day...
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