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Resenting Late Start Contractors

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Old 25th September 2017, 6:59 PM   #1
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Resenting Late Start Contractors


Been with employer going on 3 years, the boss that hired me left about a year in. My boss is now his former boss (executive staff level).

I've worked as hard as I always work, probably more because my judgement and opinion is respected in this organization and since my supervisor works on another office I basically have my own office (i.e. time and space to work how I want to work).

Well about two quarters ago the company decided to acquire several new systems at once. They decided to hire outside consultants to oversee the implementation and integration of all the products. Honestly, I had hoped that I'd have been trusted as the sole manager for this project from the get go. I've never had any formal project management work experience, and I knew I was ready to try and show what I can do here. So I admit I was carrying a little resentment from the start. But I try to be a professional, I deferred to the "project managers", tried to leave it to them to set the pace and plan things out.

The consultants have been pretty lackadaisical from day one, did no project documentation or planning or tracking of any kind for months. My boss was getting increasingly frustrated because he's a planner and comes from corporate project management environments. He's used to Gantt charts, resource scheduling, critical paths, regular progress reporting. The consultants kept brushing off or bs'ing through his requests for documentation/planning, claiming that they work on an agile methodology and my boss's methods of project management are outdated and don't get results.

We had several major deliverables due about 3 months in that the team felt blindsided by because the consultants spent ZERO time trying to get them ready, despite my mention that these things neeeded attention a full 6 weeks prior. We didn't have anything ready, and the whole implementation team ended up looking disorganized and out of touch to the stakeholders. I was so angry at these consultants for not listening and disappointed in myself for not fighting harder to make sure my colleagues were covered.

As project coordination is part of what I was originally hired for, I started stepping in and taking lead on a lot of the meeting coordination and reporting trying to get things back on track. My boss noticed me stepping up and has consistently shown that he trusts my novice project management efforts over anything the consultants have done. Mind you these consultants are from a consulting firm that specializes in product integrations - the guys have been in IT for decades. But they've made it clear they're not project managers, although that's what they were contracted to do.

So a few weeks back my boss became particularly aggressive in asking the consultants to provide documentation on this project. Of course they had nothing. My boss, when he shared this with me later, sounded completely fed up. After that call the consultants seem to be trying to get their sh*t together.

Now I have cumulative resentment towards them. The one I've worked the most with has consistently exhibited some really annoying traits - hyperfocusing on particular issues so that he loses sight of the larger project, talks over me in meetings, constantly tries to give me advice on how to talk to my colleagues and navigate training (which I've been doing for years). I've lost the meager respect I had for him as the more experienced professional on this project, and its seeping into how I interact with him. I can hear myself getting dismissive and combative with him in group meetings.

Has anyone been in this situation? I don't want to compromise my professionalism and am having a hard time dealing with this guy, especially now that he's actually trying to do some element of project management (which he can only do because of the updates I was providing him!)

Im pretty sure I've got a minimum of another 3 months with him. He's still not managing the project at the level of detail I am, though my boss seems content with what he's done. The idea of him talking over me and telling me how to handle the issues I bring up thoroughly p*sses me off now, after he spent months disregarding 80% of the things that need to be done. I know I can't hold onto the past and should appreciate what he's doing now, but his bad traits rub me the wrong way, particularly this practice of talking over me in meetings with my boss.
Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change. - Thomas Hardy

Last edited by Almond_Joy; 25th September 2017 at 7:05 PM..
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Old 26th September 2017, 10:58 PM   #2
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Condensed Version

I guess the original post was too long?

After talking about this and reading some articles, here's the crux: I'm being talked over in meetings by someone who's supposed to be my superior (not my boss, just older and more experienced than me in some aspects). When this senior person talks over me, half of the info he shares is information I gave him.

He only does this talking over business in meetings with my boss, his boss, or executive staff. So to me it feels like he knows what he's doing and he does it specifically to appear on the ball in front of muckety mucks. I wouldn't care, except I'm asked to attend these meetings specifically to share the same info. It's a waste of my time to be there if he's going to share the same info.

I need to address this. In my personal communication style being talked over is a blatant sign of disrespect, so even if it's not meant that way it rubs me the wrong way to have to put up with this. I grow increasingly agitated about these episodes over time because I haven't addressed it.

Based on what I read, here are the options I'm seeing:
- Talk to the guy. I think he'd listen but may also try to make me feel like I'm just being over sensitive, and will possibly try to discredit my professionalism when I'm not on meetings. Everyone I work with trusts me and I have a solid track history of unwavering professionalism, so I'm not worried about getting in trouble. I just don't want my boss being put in a position where he feels like he has to defend my reputation, with anyone. So if I go this route I think I need to give my boss a heads up first.

-Starve him out. Basically keep project updates to myself until meeting time, he can't talk over me if he's got nothing to talk about. This is easy to implement but would probably make him feel embarrassed or set up to look bad, and I still have to work with him so I don't want him feeling that way. Plus we're supposed to be working together and I don't feel comfortable not sharing when I know other people need to be involved.

-Voluntarily step down. Instead of actually attending meetings, just make an arrangement with my boss that I will send my updates to him or the group and they can talk amongst themselves about the info. Honestly my preferred option, I don't have to prove my competency here, I've already done that. And outside of the meetings, my proverbial hands are on most of the work. So it's clear for anyone who looks who's the most engaged in the project. The problem with this solution is I don't see how to implement this solution without telling my boss I'm having a communication issue with this guy. I don't want my boss thinking I'm looking to him to fix this or be some kind of mediator. If I wanted to deal with this issue I've got no qualms doing it with the guy directly on my own. But these exec staff meetings are the only time we have an issue. We work pretty well together outside of this. So I'd rather just kind of sidestep this or eliminate this small wrinkle instead of making a thing out of it and possibly changing the dynamic of all our other interactions.

So much for making a shorter post . I'd like to hear from some seasoned professionals which of these options seems like the best route to take, or if there's an approach I'm not seeing that I should try. This is the first position I've ever had where my perspective is given the same weight as exec level staff, I don't want to compromise my reputation for professionalism or have my boss think I don't know how to handle situations like this.

Look forward to any feedback, and thanks for reading if you made it down here.

Last edited by Almond_Joy; 26th September 2017 at 11:04 PM.. Reason: Autocorrect is the worst.
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