A sudden move by HR at my work has me furious. . .
February 5, 2014 2:30 AM   Subscribe

And I need help figuring out how to process it

I posted this question a couple weeks ago.

I am on a temp contract which goes until April. As I said in this question several months ago, when they hired me in July (I temped for them last year and they hired me back again) they asked me to expand my job description. So, I put all my ideas together and submitted it (probably 5 months ago).

Then, out of the blue yesterday the HR woman sent an email to all staff with 2 job postings. The first one is the exact job description I submitted, and is also the exact job I am performing right now, minus reception duties. The second merely a receptionist position.

I asked my supervisor yesterday what the deal was, and he said I should not be worried, that this should be seen as a positive thing for me since I would go from being on a contract to being a permanent employee. but he hadn't read the email or the two job descriptions fully.

They hired a temp to do some communications functions for a few months while preparing for a conference. This temp just happens to be the daughter of the HR lady's close friend that she goes to church with. She is a few years older than me and has worked with HR lady before in a different organization, and gets rides home with her every night.

It's painfully clear to me how this is going to play out, they are expecting me to apply to both positions, and then they are going to demote me back to being receptionist, and the temp is going to be promoted to the job I am currently performing and for which I designed the job description.

I am furious about this, and I need to know what I should do next. I have absolutely no intention of applying to be demoted to receptionist. There is no reason why the HR lady should have done this right now, especially since I am on a contract until April. It seems she is not accountable to anyone since the president is hands off when it comes to HR. I've seen the way she treats employees on the way out of the organization; I would not hesitate to describe her as unnecessarily cruel and vindictive.

I need to know what to do next. On the one hand, there is a tiny chance that they are intending to give me the good job, and hire a new receptionist. But, this seems very unlikely given the fondness the HR lady has for this temp.

I am so tempted to just quit on the spot. Why would I want to stick around and be forced to train my replacement when I've been treated so badly? My contract stipulates that the organization has the right to just dismiss me without notice (not even 2 weeks notice). Does that mean I can do the same thing? I really really don't want to stick around waiting for them to " come to a decision" when I know what the outcome will be.

Can anyone help me process this and deal with it in the best way possible? I have spoken to my supervisor, but not to HR, which I intend to do tomorrow. The HR lady conveniently left for a dentist appointment about an hour after posting the job descriptions yesterday. What should I even say to her? That I am not intending to apply for both positions because one of them would be a demotion? I feel so terribly about this and I don't know how to move forward.
posted by winterportage to Work & Money (46 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Why would you apply to both - what if you just apply for the non-receptionist position? Make it clear you're not after the receptionist gig at all, and see what they do.

That's if you can afford to go either good-job-or-bust about it but it sounds like you're at that point already anyway.
posted by Xany at 2:57 AM on February 5, 2014 [27 favorites]

They hired a temp to do some communications functions for a few months while preparing for a conference. This temp just happens to be the daughter of the HR lady's close friend that she goes to church with. She is a few years older than me and has worked with HR lady before in a different organization, and gets rides home with her every night.

It's painfully clear to me how this is going to play out, they are expecting me to apply to both positions, and then they are going to demote me back to being receptionist, and the temp is going to be promoted to the job I am currently performing and for which I designed the job description.

I'm sorry, but you're leaping to an assumption here that makes no sense whatsoever, and isn't supported by anything you've told us. HR doesn't select who gets hired, the hiring manager does - that person is your current boss, from what I can tell, and seems to think this is a great opportunity for you. Why are you ignoring that huge signal?

Calm down. Take a deep breath. Don't be so stupid as to quit on the spot (really?). Apply for the job you want.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 2:58 AM on February 5, 2014 [40 favorites]

Just apply to the job you want. If you don't get it, quit. If you can quit so that you don't have to train your replacement, even better! But I would not burn bridges with HR as you have been with this company long term and will want to use them as a reference, yes?
posted by DarlingBri at 3:01 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Can you mentally remove the emotions from your question and look at it like that?

- You are near the end of a temporary contract
- The company is advertising for a permanent staff member to fill your position as well as another position.
- It is likely that you won't be the only person to apply for the job.

So far so normal. This doesn't sound like "treating you badly". It sounds like business as usual.

Do you want your job permanently? Then apply for it and be sure to make full mileage out of the fact that you are already successfully doing this exact job.
Would you take a receptionist job? If not, don't apply for that.
If someone asks why you don't apply for the receptionist job? Tell them you're not interested in it / not a receptionist.
If you don't get the job for whatever reason? Feel bad about it for a while and move on with the best grace you can muster.
posted by emilyw at 3:02 AM on February 5, 2014 [33 favorites]

I don't get it. You're a temp at a job that you've been ambivalent about and were asking about quitting last time. Now they're announcing two full time positions, one using a job description you wrote. Is that it?

Don't apply to the admin position if you don't want to be an admin. Just let your temp gig end. It doesn't matter that you wrote the job description for the job you want and someone else may get the gig--those are the breaks when you're a temp. It's not your job, it's a job you've been doing.

Don't quit in a huff or make a stand over this--that's likely to come back to bite you. Just do your job and apt for the position you want.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:06 AM on February 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

I see no reason to be furious. It sounds like they created the permanent position you suggested, and are now advertising for applicants.

There's no reason they should expect you to apply for the receptionist job that you don't want.

You have a major advantage as an internal candidate, as they already have a strong understanding of your ability to work and communicate effectively. Apply for the job and see how it goes.
posted by grudgebgon at 3:24 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Some HR departments are required (for whatever reason) to advertise all jobs they hire for (even if they intent to hire from within). By posting a job with a description you wrote, it is likely the job is to to hire you because you already meet the qualifications.
posted by plinth at 3:36 AM on February 5, 2014 [25 favorites]

Don't apply for the crap job. Do apply for the job you want. Also apply for other jobs. Don't make think that the world begins and ends with your current job.

As the incumbent, doing the job well and with a good working relationship with your manager, you are in pole position for the posted job. Like others, I think you have overthought this. Unless your HR person has the deciding influence on hiring decisions I don't really see their relevance here.

At any rate, advice on flaming out: if your industry/field/job market is so small that this job is so important then burning bridges is a terrible idea. If it is large enough that you can flip off your current employers then there will be other jobs at least as good out there. Generally, though, the fighting retreat is a terrible idea if your job is a career, all the more so in the Linkedin era in which one's work history and former colleagues are easily traceable.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:45 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I should add.. the HR person is the only person making this decision. My supervisor has nothing to do with it.
posted by winterportage at 3:47 AM on February 5, 2014

I know that I'm more angry than I should be and I could also use advice on how to use/ what to do with the anger.
posted by winterportage at 3:48 AM on February 5, 2014

The best advice on the anger is that you're angry about a hypothetical situation at this point. The more you think about it, the more angry you will get. Similarly, alighting on each action - the dentist appointment as a convenient escape - as a plot against you is a fool's errand. You might be right. You might not. But by burning a lot of emotional energy on it you're in a worse position to further your own interests by taking the best decision for you.

If you're good enough at your job that they ask you to define it, and then don't hire you in favor of cronyism then the same advice applies as for thieving friends and cheating partners - the earlier you dodge the bullet the better. Looking at it dispassionately, is a company where the person who makes [some] hiring decisions and sets HR policy is "unnecessarily cruel and vindictive" the kind of place you need to burn up in anger about?
posted by MuffinMan at 3:57 AM on February 5, 2014 [9 favorites]

Don't do anything dramatic.

Guilt will make them give you a good recommendation at the least.

There is no reason to quit if your contract is almost up.

Stick it out.

Start applying/interviewing for new jobs now. As part of that process, apply to this job, but just start applying everywhere for a new job.

Do not train your replacement if you don't want.
posted by quincunx at 4:03 AM on February 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

I know that I'm more angry than I should be and I could also use advice on how to use/ what to do with the anger.

Exercise harder than usual or meditate or something to calm yourself down. This is critical: taking your bad attitude into work right now is not going to do you any favors here.

Work even harder than usual, be friendlier than usual, and apply for the job you want (and some other external positions). Let the chips fall where they may.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 4:13 AM on February 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

Relax. There is probably a policy that requires internal (or even external) posting for a period of time before a position is filled. My workplace has one and my contract even states that 60 days before it expires they will post my job to see if anyone better comes along.

See how it plays out, then decide on reaction. Apply for the position you want -- at this employer and elsewhere. If they screw you over, leave.
posted by mibo at 4:24 AM on February 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

Is there any possibility that they are planning to give the receptionist job to the temp? That's what first came to mind for me.

Detach from the outcome. If you get the good job you will be ok. If you do not, you will be ok. Try to remember that.

Instead of feeling threatened, look at it as a test. Say you've looked at a vacuum cleaner, you're interested in buying it, now you're going to see if it can clean up coffee grounds. If it doesn't, then you don't want it.

Same thing here. You're looking at this job, you're interested. Now you have a chance to see how they treat people. Isn't that valuable? Focus on doing the good job you've been doing, and see what happens.
posted by bunderful at 4:41 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

What plinth says. I don't know where you're located, but at my company in North Carolina we have to advertise for internal openings even if we already know who we're going to promote into the position. This is likely a clerical thing being done for legal reasons. Nobody is trying to hurt you.
posted by something something at 4:45 AM on February 5, 2014

Your interpretation of this makes no sense to me. They created the position for you. Apply for it. This is a cake walk.
posted by empath at 4:46 AM on February 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

I agree that you're probably reading this all wrong, and that you don't need to apply to a job you don't want. They may be also required, by policy, to post job openings even when they have someone (you) in mind for the job- this is pretty common.

I could also use advice on how to use/ what to do with the anger.

One thing I'd do is stop referring to her as "the HR lady", as if she were the maid or something. She's a full-time employee who apparently holds real influence at your company. Show her respect.
posted by mkultra at 5:07 AM on February 5, 2014 [14 favorites]

The scenario where the HR person's friend's daughter gets favored over you is plausible, and it sucks. You've spent time writing the job description and doing the job, but writing the job description doesn't mean you get the job, and working the job doesn't mean you get to keep it forever. You're getting paid for all of this, right? You got paid to work the job, and you got paid to write the job description. That's what you get: paid. Presumably your paychecks have cleared and the company has held up their end of the contract. It sucks that you can't count on more than that, but you can't.

It's useful to know that the working world sometimes does unexpected and unfair things, and it's natural to feel betrayed and angry when a threat reveals itself in a quarter you thought was safe. But when you let anger and fear shape your thoughts and plant ideas in your head that are otherwise unsupported, e.g. that they "expect" you to apply for the receptionist position (they haven't asked you to, have they?), or that the HR person's friend's daughter is sure to get the job that you most want (why?) or that or that the HR person fabricated an imaginary dental appointment just to dodge you (what?), then you've crossed over from helpful insight into just making shit up. Making decisions on the basis of shit you've made up is like driving while hallucinating.

You can use the anger to get you off your butt and do things you probably should do anyhow, like apply for other jobs with companies you might actually like working for. But, the unsupported ideas shaped by fear and anger? Those you just need to let go of. They're not good for anything.
posted by jon1270 at 5:07 AM on February 5, 2014 [64 favorites]

I cannot favorite jon1270's comment hard enough.
posted by bunderful at 5:15 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

[Perhaps the "You might be assuming things that aren't certain" line of answering has been pretty much covered at this point? I'd kindly suggest focusing on suggestions for how to deal with the situation, or any of the other specific questions OP mentions. Thanks!]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 5:37 AM on February 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

You know I've been screwed over in situations like this at work and not gotten jobs, better assignments, etc. but I've also been pleasantly surprised and even shocked when I got jobs I felt I was under qualified for and were huge long shots.

Take a deep breath. This HR woman may give it to her friend and she may not. There are always internal politics and power struggles that aren't necessarily eviden and hiring, even for a receptionist, is a big deal. Virtually no one, other than a CEO, makes such a decision totally independently. Pure nepotism hires certainly happen, but there will likely be resistance especially when there is a competing candidate that is more qualified and a known quantity.

Keep you cool. Apply for the job. Express your earnest interest in it. Impress everyone by working hard. The last thing you want to do is give her a reason not to hire you and getting angry, acting entitled, and accusing her of nepotism is exactly the ammo she needs to not hire you.
posted by whoaali at 6:10 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Can anyone help me process this and deal with it in the best way possible? I have spoken to my supervisor, but not to HR, which I intend to do tomorrow.

I wouldn't talk to HR about anything other than your intended interest in applying for the better job. You can say what your boss told you about how happy you will be to have a permanent position and to be able to focus on the non-receptionist parts of your current job. Don't even mention the receptionist position or any of the office politics. And don't bring your anger to the conversation. At least at work, try to pretend you're in a fantasy world and make the most charitable interpretation of events - treat it like a game.

I've only been working in industry for a few years, but learning to play the game was pretty tough for me. I would get my feelings hurt all the time. And it was unprofessional. And taking a step back, I can see that. So, you have to fake it until you gain enough confidence in the workplace for it not to be fake anymore. People aren't usually out to get you; they just don't spend that much time thinking about others.

Meanwhile, start getting your resume together for a job search. From my reading of your question, it doesn't seem like a done deal that the HR lady's friend will get the job, but it's essential to have options.
posted by bluefly at 6:11 AM on February 5, 2014 [7 favorites]

From personal experience, most of my mom's church friends? Think that I am a total bum and chronically treat me like I am about twelve and would not hire me to do something important ever in the history of the universe. This would be especially true if they were actually giving me rides all the time. (I spent a bunch of my adult life as a nondriver, this is also from experience, people are helpful but they stop treating you like an actual grown-up.) Fondness is not the same thing as respect. If I were in your position I would be reading it as potentially likely that they were going to hire this other girl as the receptionist and you to do the part where you basically wrote your own ticket; I don't know why you would assume they'd give her the part that they asked you to write up.

Am I positive of this? Of course not. But as an interpretation, I think it's a lot more grounded in what's actually happening than yours, which is grounded in what you're afraid of, because that's what we do as human beings, we worry and blow stuff up into being bigger than it is.

All you can really do is apply. This reads to me as at least more promising than an awful lot of temp gigs I've had, where the end was just kind of "we're exploring what it would take to hire you on" and a lot of hedging followed by a phone call telling me to come pick up my stuff from the temp agency. Temping is always anxiety-producing, for me. Do what you can to relax, take it as it comes, get prepared to get back to the job search if it becomes necessary.
posted by Sequence at 6:19 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

There is a good chance they are totally trying to screw you over, because nepotism sucks like that. It sounds very much like she's hired her old colleague as a temp until she can crowbar her into someone else's job, and the fact that your contract is coming to an end makes that a lot easier for her. To be honest I've been the "person we want to hire but don't have a vacancy for but can you do some scut work until something comes up" myself, and if she likes her, has worked with her before and wants to hire her back then that in and of itself isn't a problem. It's the fact she's trying to get rid of you to do it.

However there's not much you can do about it either way. Act in public as if they aren't going to screw you over (it's possible, so there's no point cutting of your nose to spite your face and floucing out before you've even applied). That means continuing to be sweetness and light at work (so you don't wreck your reference), and applying only for the job you actually want. If they want to shoehorn you into the crap job, don't let them. Just don't apply for the crap job.

Plan in private for what you will do when they give Ms Sneakypants your job. So apply for other jobs like crazy (wouldn't it be great to tell them you weren't going to apply for either, because you had a much better offer lined up?), and get your anger out by venting to us and your friends in the evenings, killing yourself at the gym over lunch, punching a pillow... You'll care less about this when you have a few other interviews lined up.

If you're on reasonable terms with Sneakybitch you could try having a casual friendly conversation about her plans. Maybe you have nothing to worry about and she's off to grad school in summer, or relocating, or has another job. I would only do this if you do actually chat to her anyway though, this needs to come across as "So, what are your plans for summer? Anything interesting?" not "So, I hear you're after my job?"

On preview: god no, don't have it out with HR! Worst idea ever! That makes you look unprofessional and entitled (and honestly a bit loopy) and gives her the perfect excuse to hire her friend instead. "Well Winterportage just doesn't have the professional demeanor we're looking for, my bestie is a few years older and has a bit more maturity"
posted by tinkletown at 6:21 AM on February 5, 2014 [8 favorites]

They may be obligated to post and interview for the jobs, even if they already know they want you.

Use your anger towards writing up clear documentation of everything you've done to make your position better, what you want to do to improve it, and why you're the best candidate to stay on.

If it helps, imagine that out there somewhere is someone with vastly more experience than you, that's going to apply to your same job anyway. You are not guaranteed this job. Someone you don't even know could come in and interview and get it. All you can do is present the best case for why it should be you.
posted by nakedmolerats at 6:36 AM on February 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Some companies have a policy that all job vacancies MUST be posted publicly.

This caused some confusion at my old workplace where jobs would be posted and people would apply only to find out that a candidate had already been selected and they were just going through the motions.

I've had this happen to me when I was (external to the company) interviewing my ass off only to find out they were already going to hire someone internal.

So calm down. Apply to the job you want and do your best. And if they don't hire you, well you don't want to work for a place that doesn't recognize your awesomeness.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:05 AM on February 5, 2014

Yep, the company I work for (and ones in the past) HAD to post all job vacancies even if they already had a contractor that they know they want to fill the position. It still has to be posted externally.

But yeah, I agree with the above. Why do you think you have to apply for both positions? Just apply for the one you actually want. This is kind of how the working world works sometimes. Things don't always work out in YOUR best interest and "having it out" with ANYONE in an office environment is always a bad idea. You have to do what is in your best interests, apply for the job you want, apply for other jobs at other companies. Don't depend on your employer to act in your best interest.
posted by magnetsphere at 7:14 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I thought you were going to grad school? if so, then who gets the permanent job and who gets the receptionist job doesn't really interfer with the big plans you have made. That your wrote job description has little to do with who'll do that job for the next 10 years.
There will always be people who favor someone one else. I think you have a habit of assuming the worst, working yourself into a tizzy over what you think will happen ( like not getting paid for the holiday), and then sabotaging yourself based on those assumptions. You might be right, but you're exhausting yourself over perceptions, not facts.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:31 AM on February 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

fwiw, I think you could be right about things. But yeah - apply for the job you want, not for the reception job.

And any time you deal with this HR person, remind yourself that she will probably be handling your reference for the next job. Even if this is a "little" job, it is still likely to matter from that point of view. (It sucks that this is how it is, but it is.)

Work hard to find something else. It might be better than having to listen to this piece of work day in day out. (I remember your other question about her.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:40 AM on February 5, 2014

Thanks for your help. I'm glad I've been advised not to go talk to HR about this. I didn't want to, but I doubted myself thinking I was chickening out of something. For what it's worth, I've tried to dislike the other girl but she's pretty damn nice, and an interesting person who I would like to be friends with in real life. It's not her I'm angry about, more the whole situation, because I work closely with the HR person all the time, she acts really buddy-buddy around me because I'm the same age as her daughter, and I feel she has been duplicitous. I guess I'm a bit hurt about that. You guys can decide for yourself whether I'm right about that or not.

Yes I'm trying to go to grad school next year, but it will be at least 3 months before I know whether I'm accepted. I'm terrified that this situation will somehow screw up that plan for me. Part of my current job is communications, and that's what I'll (hopefully) be studying in grad school. If they take away that part of my job, my application for grad school won't look as good. But, now that I look at it again, I'm kind of lucky because my grad school application is due next week and they won't have demoted me yet by then.

There will always be people who favor someone one else. I think you have a habit of assuming the worst, working yourself into a tizzy over what you think will happen ( like not getting paid for the holiday), and then sabotaging yourself based on those assumptions. You might be right, but you're exhausting yourself over perceptions, not facts.

This is too true and yes it's exhausting. I always try to prepare for the worst to avoid disappointment. In this case though, I'm fairly certain I'm going to be screwed because I've been seeing signals all over the place (this isn't crazy talk, I tell you).

Thanks for your comments please keep going if you have more to say. I still feel pretty shitty about this but I'll just try to focus on my grad school application.
posted by winterportage at 8:19 AM on February 5, 2014

This is what's hard about work... You have to trust your colleagues and other staff to get through the day - you spend your 8 most conscious hours with them - but have to watch your back at the same time. Decisions aren't personal, but they are... It means splitting your emotional life, to some extent.

It will be easier to play nice if you keep your mind on your own goals and things you can control. Focus on your plans - the grad school app, applications for the communications job here and other jobs elsewhere.
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:42 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's not a bad thing to keep one's expectations grounded, and to recognize that things will really not always go the way one wants them to. But there's a difference between recognizing "I'm a great fit for this job, but I might not get it for reasons I can't control or change" and torturing yourself over all of those reasons that are put of your control. Do your best to do your best on the stuff you can control - your work, your demeanor, like that - and do not dwell on the stuff like "But nepotism and unfairness and GGGGAAAAHHHHH!!!" because dwelling on that won't do you any good.
posted by rtha at 8:47 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

On the big canvas of your life, disappointment adds chiaroscuro. Trying to protect yourself from every scrape and bump keeps you from really extending yourself. Even if you don't get the job, you'll be able to handle the situation--give yourself some credit. And the grad school committee isn't really going to care about your job duties as much as you think they will.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:54 AM on February 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

You know what, the scenario you describe is good thinking. Getting mad at these people before they've done you wrong is not good thinking, but it's pretty sharp of you to spot this as something that could happen. A lot of people, in your position, would just assume that a permanent hire was in the bag, and not give it any further thought. Some of these people would then get a surprise if they didn't end up getting hired.

It was also good thinking to anticipate that you might not get paid over the holiday. When you anticipated that, you came to us for advice as to how you might handle that. Business etiquette is new to you, so you had the good sense to draw on others' experience.

What you can do to deal with this is start applying for other things. You should do this because you're within three months of the end of a fixed term contract. You are within three months of the end of a fixed term contract. This is a fact. This fact always means you must be applying for other things, no matter what signals you're getting.

You do not want to apply to the receptionist vacancy, you want to apply to the other vacancy. Therefore, do not apply to the receptionist vacancy. You can mind-read that they want you to apply to the receptionist vacancy, but even if they do want that, you do not have to do it. This is a fact.

Is it also a fact that your employers and the HR lady are the bunch of mendacious, manipulative dirtbags you perceive them to be? Are you right to have the level of rage towards them that you express here, and are you right never to trust their motives for anything? Who can say, but you need to take the emotion out of it, be professional, and stick to the facts.

Up to and including "trying to dislike" another coworker who hoves into view. Deliberately cultivating negative emotions and harbouring jealousy towards other workers is not the way to do it. Insinuating that the cleaning lady - oh, no, wait, the "HR lady" - manipulated the timing of her message, or even faked a dental appointment (!) in order to make you wait to talk to her, is crossing the line into paranoia. If I were you, I would not say anything to the HR manager about this because in this negative mindset you are in danger of saying something that will get you deselected.
posted by tel3path at 9:22 AM on February 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

After reading the comments from tel3path and mkultra I just want to chime in and say you're dealing with this HR LADY (she didn't say cleaning lady) as best as you can so don't sweat their comments.
posted by driedmango at 9:41 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

tel3path-- the first part of your comment was so helpful. But..

I was being facetious when I said I was trying to dislike my co-worker. . . the point of that sentence was that I do like her, and I was trying to illustrate the real reason I was feeling this way-- which is the duplicity of the "Hr Lady." I've already stated that I did not want to talk to the HR manager and was only thinking of doing it out of a mistaken sense of duty. Sorry that I refered to her as "HR Lady". Should I have said "HR woman?" I'm a bit confused why you feel the need to jump to her defense. I already stated above that I was aware that my anger was rather strong for the situation I am in, and I'm just looking for help here.
posted by winterportage at 9:54 AM on February 5, 2014

winterportage: "Sorry that I refered to her as "HR Lady". Should I have said "HR woman?" I'm a bit confused why you feel the need to jump to her defense."

Step back and breathe. This person is an employee of the company you work at, and has authority over you. You may not like the fact that she seems to favor another candidate over you, but there's nothing professionally wrong with that. Calling her "XXX Lady" is diminishing, and is reflective of your anger toward her in a really unproductive way. Look at it this way- if she found out you were referring to her as "HR Lady", and not "Human Resources Manager" (or whatever her actual position is), do you think that would affect your prospects in any way w/r/t this job?

Be professional. These things matter.

tinkletown: "Sneakybitch"

This is also not helpful.
posted by mkultra at 10:05 AM on February 5, 2014 [8 favorites]

I'm not defending your HR manager at all. I neither said or implied anything in her defense. I'm talking about you and how you come across, which is that you really seem to have a low opinion of your organisation and the people in it.

If you express any of that to them - which you very nearly did, btw, by ragequitting on the spot, in response to what may at least theoretically be their good-faith plans to rehire you - then all you'd be doing is screwing yourself.

The bigger picture is this: you hate the people who have authority over you at this workplace, you never trust their motives for anything, and you are experiencing overwhelming temptation to tell them to shove their job because of it. If they're that bad, what's the worst that can happen? They don't rehire you? Well then it won't matter because you'll have been applying for enough things to get other offers anyway, hopefully with people you don't suspect of being mendacious dirtbags.
posted by tel3path at 10:14 AM on February 5, 2014 [5 favorites]

Well, I just want to say you’re not abnormal, OP. If you’re a temp worker, the reality is you are vulnerable, whether it’s to nepotism or budgets, and you’re right to be cautious. Your spontaneous feelings of hurt and betrayal (at possibilities, mind, not concrete actions) come from a natural place of wanting to trust people you see every day. You’re not a weirdo for that, or for being human and feeling you want to protect/defend yourself.

But you’ve got to look at it like, I don’t know, chess, or somesuch strategic game. tel3path is right – look to facts to organize your planning and choices and behaviour, not so much your feelings. And it does take time to learn to manage your feelings in this game.
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:01 AM on February 5, 2014

I'm just looking for help here.
I think, actually, what you are looking for here at this point is more support than help.

You've vented, and people have given you advice. Coming back to argue the finer points of things you don't agree with is part of the dynamic within yourself that need working on. Being a temp puts you in a vulnerable position, which can make you feel overly defensive, sensitive, reactive. These are not traits you want to take with you into grad school or beyond.

This thing just happened-- Have you actually given yourself time to process it and think about your next move? You don't actually have to do anything right now, other than working on your grad application. In a couple of days, when the feelings of anger and hurt and betrayal are not so strong, you'll be in a better position to think and act strategically in a way that best serves your future needs and not your current emotions.
posted by sm1tten at 11:38 AM on February 5, 2014 [5 favorites]

Just wanted to say that I understand what you mean when you said that you think of the worst thing that could happen to prepare yourself in case you're disappointed. However, you may want to consider whether that's something that actually serves you. Sometimes when I have anticipated the worst and then it actually happened, it made me feel worse than I think I would have felt had I been taken by surprise. It may sound counter-intuitive but I think that I have an inclination to feel worse when I knew something was going to happen and then it happened because if I knew it was going to happen, I should have been able to figure out how to get in front of it and prevent it from happening. You may not do that but and if so, more power to you.
posted by kat518 at 11:44 AM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Is it possible that the company is required to at least advertise any open positions internally (or externally) before hiring? I've seen that happen before - where a notice goes about about a job, except who will be hired has already been determined. (Even so much as the job being in the newspaper/advertised online.) It's a way of fulfilling their requirements, even though they already have a favorite - in this case, it sounds like that favorite for the job you wrote is you.

Makes me wonder if the receptionist job is the exact same situation with the other temp, and she wrote her own job description, too.
posted by stormyteal at 12:32 PM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

> I know that I'm more angry than I should be and I could also use advice on how to use/ what to do with the anger.

Apply for jobs like crazy. You don't like this job anyway. If you don't get another job and have to stay there, focus on the fact that you are choosing to stay in a situation that is better than the alternative (unemployment). As soon as you find a better alternative, bail.

Your ego is way too wrapped up in this. You're a temp. They owe you nothing. You are an extra in this film. Keep telling yourself that and focus on what you need to do to get out of there. Don't get mad at her for the fact that you're stuck -- she didn't make you stuck, so directing your anger at the problem at hand: you have a shit job and need to get out of there.
posted by ravioli at 2:00 PM on February 5, 2014 [4 favorites]

One thing that no one has mentioned and that you haven't said anything about is the timeline. If they have just posted the ad (in February), when is the deadline? I imagine it's a few weeks away. Then they'll interview, maybe multiple times, and it takes a while to schedule interviews and get references. Then they have to consider their options, make a decision, negotiate with the candidate, and do a bunch of paperwork. Whoever they hire is unlikely to be available to start right away, so add a couple more weeks or a month for that.

It sounds to me quite plausible that they are thinking of these two new hires as covering your position from April, which is when your current contract ends anyway! And since you are considering grad school, I assume you haven't promised them for sure that you could do another contract at that point even if they wanted to continue with the current arrangement.

I think maybe they are just covering their asses for what happens next. And that you might still have a good chance at getting the non-receptionist continuing job if you want it at that stage.
posted by lollusc at 5:56 PM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Preparing for the worst doesn't help you avoid being disappointed, you're still going to have that feeling. Preparing for the worst should mean having a backup plan and considering all scenarios. But it shouldn't mean steering into a skid, which it sounds like you tend to do. Instead consider that, yes, you should be preparing for what you need to do practically if an outcome doesn't go the way you want but also doing everything you can to achieve what you hope will happen is what should occupy much more of your efforts, including getting your head focused in the right direction. Again, you steer where you look so look where you want to go.
posted by marylynn at 10:26 PM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

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