Friday, April 25, 2008


I’m off work today and waiting for the British Gas man to come round. Then I’m going to go and get my hair cut and then I’m going to see my financial adviser (and I will presumably say I haven’t got any money as I have to spend it on a new boiler!).

Anyway, yesterday proved to be a bit of a challenging day at work. C is leaving and so we have been looking for someone to replace her. We looked at various options and decided that the best approach was to upgrade her post because there is some difficult work coming up and there was also a very good candidate from a recruitment run by one of my colleagues and we were then able to offer that woman the job. We got HR’s agreement to all of this and it meets all the rules – the woman was recruited through fair and open competition etc. This woman accepted the job yesterday and so that was the first opportunity to tell C what was going on. I really believe that you should be honest with staff and that you need to make sure that you tell staff properly rather than them finding out through Chinese whispers, so I explained to C what was happening about replacing her. She was so unimpressed and had a real go at me.

We sit next to each other and normally exchange a bit of banter, but yesterday afternoon we didn’t really speak (not in a childish way, we just each got on with our work) and just before she was due to go home I asked her if there was anything else she wanted to say about our earlier conversation she said “no, it’s none of my business really because I’m leaving”. She then momentarily paused for breath and it turned out that she actually had plenty to say and told me what all those things were! Basically she doesn’t think it’s very fair and to a degree suggested that I had sold out my principles by doing this, she said something like “you talk about always wanting things to be fair, but when it suits you, you change the rules” and I explained that what we had done was fair and we’d had to go through a process to get permission to do this etc and I explained why we’d regarded he post and the election process to get her replacement etc, but she still didn’t think it was fair.

C wouldn’t have been eligible for this upgrade because of the way the grading structure works and she said that we would never have done this for her, which I was surprised that she would say. I told her that we were working in theoreticals now because I couldn’t predict what we might have done in the future had she stayed but I talked to her about all the things we had done to try and get her post upgraded but ultimately she didn’t pass the exams and so we couldn’t upgrade her. I even helped her prepare for the interview for the job she is now moving on to. I have worked really hard to do the right thing by her, even if it was to her benefit more than that of the organisation. It’s not that I think she is ungrateful or want her to thank me for it, I just feel really disappointed that she might leave next week and her abiding memory is that I sold out and did something for convenience rather than being fair. If it were true I’d just have to accept that, but what bothers me is that it isn’t actually true. There was nothing dishonest about this recruitment and I always did the right thing by her as much as possible, but somehow I feel there’s a bit of a cloud over that now. I’m not feeling sorry for myself about it and I don’t feel guilty about what we have done because it is all above board - and I also suspect if I was on C’s position I would have said very similar things to what she did – but I do think it’s a shame that C feels the way she does. The fact she said the things she did is because we have good and honest relationship, but sometimes it seems that isn’t always a good thing.

Well, what’s done is done.


Kahless said...

I think you did the right thing in being honest here with C, though it may have had a difficult outcome. I always try and be honest and open with my staff (as I can possibly be) as ultimately it breeds trust. It does cause difficulties at times but in the whole a good thing.

I can see why C was pissed, but ultimately such is life.

Good luck with your own interview next week.

Random Reflections said...

kahless - yes, I still think it was the right thing to do. It's just disappointing that she was so upset by it.

I suppose it did also cause a bit of self doubt in me too - would I 'sell out' if it suited me? Do I have principles because I don't have to test them very often? I need to think about that...