How to deal with a negligent micromanager
January 27, 2014 8:05 AM Subscribe
New job, restrictions that seem unreasonable. I love this job and I want to not get fired and not have to look for another job already. Hope me.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I just got my dream job, yay! I've been at it for a couple of months, but I am already feeling ragged from a superior.
The setting is sort of in-house counsel for a municipal government body. My employment contract obviously says that the body is my client, that I represent them and must act in their interests. The local ordinance creating my position has me reporting to the chair of the body.
The general counsel is a negligent micromanager. He is rarely in the office and when he is, he literally ignores me -- I've knocked on his door when I know he's there and he knows I'm the one knocking and he's just silent. He walks away when I'm midsentence asking about a project. In his prolonged and frequent absences, I attend meetings, talk to the members of the body and write projects for them. When he comes back, I usually get a long email or talking-to about how everything I'm doing is wrong, I'm not allowed to do any of it and I can only do what he tells me to do. Except he never gives me anything to do! The chair of the body and every single other member has approached me separately to thank me for my work, tell me I'm doing great and in more than one instance say it's nice to have someone finally doing this work. The chair specifically said he thinks it's ridiculous for me to run everything by this guy. He's told me that I cannot answer anyone's questions and always have to refer everything to him, but so far every single question I've had from the body comes after they knock on his door, get no answer and knock on my door next. I feel like it's a breach of my ethical obligation to a client to refuse to answer a question that I have the answer to -- and I certainly don't think it's in their best interest.
Over the weekend I got a sort of nasty email saying I have to detail everything I'm doing and, if it's approved by him, it is all I can do and I'm not allowed to talk to anyone else about anything at all, ever. This morning I got stranded ahead of a meeting, so I emailed him and copied the two board members who arranged the meeting to tell them I'd be late. I literally got an email back saying I'm not allowed to tell anyone else this and that I can only tell him if I'll be late. Is this reasonable?
I'm not sure what my options are. I am very tempted to decline detailing all my work, citing my employment contract that specifically does not limit me to his oversight as well as the ordinance controlling my position, and say that if there's a problem with my job performance to write me up to HR and let me challenge it from there. I don't want drama, I don't want politics, I just want to do my damn job and go home at the end of the day.
I'm not a new attorney, I've been practicing for several years, but I am new to both in-house and municipal positions. I've researched my state's bar resources and I can't find anything very helpful -- everything is sort of geared for either private practice or corporate in-house settings.
1. Is there a good resource for in-house government attorneys?
2. How do I assert what I believe is both my job as described in my contract and my ethical obligations without inciting nastiness and retaliation? Seriously, I just want to do this job and get stuff done.
3. Have you dealt with such a person, if so, how so?