I have two big opportunities to be firm yesterday. On one occasion, I had to be firm in a meeting, which was uncomfortable but necessary.
Then I had to be firm with a junior faculty member who, without consulting with anyone, told a staffer that she could be a supervisor and would be reclassified…something he has zero authority to do. I found out about this in a round about way.
Although I think that my responses were appropriate and reasonable, (but yes, firm!), I still felt a lot of anxiety after the fact. I started questioning my judgment and thinking that my firmness would have unwanted repercussions on me.
My boss was back in town today, so I was able to discuss the situations with him. Once again, he and I are in complete agreement. Now I am feeling a great sense of relief. I really did respond correctly. I was firm, and it was okay! 22 months ago
Today I had to deal with pushy assistant professor who heads a department we sometimes collaborate with. He is working on a project with us, and he periodically tries to get additional money from our coffers, even though the financial arrangements were agreed upon before we ever started the project.
I responded firmly to him, telling him that arrangements for money needed to be made in advance and that at any rate the project has no additional funds and is, in fact, operating in the red.
After I did that, I told my boss about it, so I am sure that I have his support.
The pushy doc then sent an e-mail to someone else on our team, who forwarded the message to me. In it, he said that I had verbally agreed to provide him with the funds he is requesting. I don’t think I did that. It’s not the sort of thing I would usually do, and I have no recollection of such a conversation. What I remember are numerous conversations in which I reminded him of our agreement and told him there were no extra funds. I think that he heard what he wanted to hear, rather than hearing what I was saying.
Still, this has shaken me up a bit. Not too much, but a bit. I find myself questioning my recollections, which is something I do quite often. I think I will get over this discomfort soon and am just writing about it as a reminder to myself that IT’S OKAY TO BE FIRM. Even though some people won’t like it, others, such as my boss, will appreciate it. The most important thing is that I know within myself that I am a good person and a person with integrity.
Rawrrrrrr!!!!! 2 years ago
Part of my job is to make sure people do what they are supposed to do. I really hate this part of my job, because when I am firm, I feel painfully guilty. I’m sure that I have, at times, held back from correcting people in order to avoid these painful feelings, and I know this is wrong.
Today, for example, our secretary sent me an e-mail telling me she was going to be leaving early in order to avoid going into overtime. No one had asked her to work extra during the week, so there was no good reason for her to be in this position, and when she leaves early, it means that someone else has to do her job.
I asked her what had happened, received a lame response, and told her that there was nothing to do about it today, but in the future she needs to manage her time so that this situation doesn’t recur. I explained briefly that she needs to do this in order to ensure proper coverage for the office.
I know that she is mad at me, and I feel guilty.
Because of changes we are getting ready to implement, it’s going to be even more important for me to consistently hold people accountable for their behavior. Did I mention how much I dislike doing this?
Hence, this goal. I am going to use it to document the situations in which I’ve had to be firm, to work through my discomfort, and to eventually progress to the place where I can be firm without feeling a hint of guilt.
I’m hoping people who read this will help support me by confirming that my behavior was perfectly okay.2 years ago