Vent, need advice about what to do.

  1. Hi all,

    I am venting and collecting advice / opinions.

    I don't have any co-workers to talk to, no friends in town, etc. so I am interested in hearing from you especially if you consider yourself a strong, professional woman.

    I work in the day as an office assistant and go to school at night. My job consists of answering phones and doing typing, which I still haven't figured out why they hired me for the job because I have a BS and 3 years marketing and HR experience. I'll get to that later though.

    It is a small office, only 5 of us here. I'm the only young woman. The rest are older males. Now, I don't want to hop on this male vs. female bandwaggon because I have never experienced this in any other job I have had, but I feel it here.

    This job is basically getting me through school. I imagine I'll be here another year and a half or so while I'm in school. So far, the pay hasn't been bad, I get out at 5PM which allows me to go to night school. Plus, I am lucky to have even have found this job because there are very few in my area.

    But, I guess my self pride is hurting. I was in my boss' office and I found my Yearly Review. I looked at it and the comments that were made on it weren't too bad. I agreed with many of them but then I looked at the Points System. Points are assigned on a scale for different areas of performance (ie. 1 thru 10).

    Over all I am a 3.8 out of 10.

    I will be the first to admit that the position I hold should be eliminated. The phone doesn't ring much and there isn't a whole lot to type. (Hence you see me on the board quite often). But I don't think it is fair to give me a 3.8 out of 10. Since I have been here (over a year) no one has ever "trained" me to do anything, given me goals or responsibilities and in fact I was told that they wouldn't bother to train me because I would just get pregnant and leave anyway. I have tried to be helpful but like I said, there really isn't a whole lot to do to begin with. Now it seems like I am being penalized because there isn't work to do and no one will give me anything to do.

    I will probably sit down with my boss some time next week and go over it, then I'll have to sign it. I don't know if I should just sit there with a pretty smile on my face or if I should make some issue of it. I should probably suck it up and not make waves since this job isn't a stepping stone in my career to be a nurse, but I still don't like the idea of that being in my file like some big black mark as I have never had a job where I wasn't liked or there were problems with my performance.

    I should probably just keep quiet and swallow my pride but I guess I am just tired of swallowing it all the time here.

    Any advice would be welcomed. I have always tried to maintain a sense of professionalism and decorum and balance it with my self pride and respect, I guess I find these two out of balance a lot lately.
  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   2banurse
    Hi Colleen,

    Having gone through evaluations like this when I was a medical secretary, I understand how you feel. One year in particular I had a tough time, and my review was not quite as good as previoius years. There were a couple of comments I didn't agree with and I did comment on these and talked with my supervisor.

    I would definitely suggest that you speak with your supervisor and find out why about the low rating you received. If you don't feel that his explanations are good enough, I would definitely place your comments on the evaluation. If there is no space, I would be hesitant to sign. I understand your need to work while going to school, but with your credentials, I would look for another day positon.

    Just a suggestion (something I am planning on doing if I don't get into the nursing program next fall), but how about applying for a unit secretary/coordinator. Living in Pittsburgh, you must has have a lot of hospitals in your area. This will give you exposure to a nursing floor, and there may be a bunch of different shifts available.

    If you decide that you have enough of the snow, come on down here to Florida...I live close to three hospitals, one of which is the 2nd largest in Florida (in Sarasota) and they always have openings for unit coordinators. Also, some good nursing programs. If you want any other information, you can email me at

  4. by   PennyLane
    I would definitely say something. This kind of sh*t pisses me off. I have many friends with college degrees who end up being secretaries or Admin assistants. Do you ever see men out of college taking those jobs? No way.

    You're switching careers, so you can afford to make a stink. Stick up for yourself and say something to show the men who run that office that you're worth more than just a typist, but they never bothered to allow you to prove yourself. Sounds like they don't care to promote within the company. Or maybe their sexist views held them back. They need a swift kick in the butt to remind them that female professionals can not be swept under the carpet and ignored!!
  5. by   Beach_RN
    Colleen... As Mel said... You are switching careers, this job provides you a salary and the flexibility to attend school.... So when he gives your review... play the game, ( you are a previous H.R. person, I was too) you gotta play the game.....! Hang out, collect your paycheck and move on when the time is right!

    As I see it... you are not planning on staying there... and as far as this affecting any future reference... he is not going to pull out your review and share it with your next employer..... he legally can't do that... he can say that you are not eligible for rehire... but I don't think that is what is happening here!

    I think this is just the Good Ole Boys Club! HE has the power, it is a small office, and he likes flaunting it!

    That's just my take on it! I work in a small office right now while I work on my pre-reqs.. do I like my job? No.. but my boss is rarely here, I can study, do homework, hang out on all-nurses all day, I'm 5 miles from my house, he pays me well, when he is here.... I just yes him to death.. and make him feel important...

    This job is just temporary... till I become a nurse...

    Good Luck and let us know how you decide to handle the situation!

  6. by   Lausana
    Brenda said it! GOOD OLE BOYS CLUB! Uh huh, it happens frequently where I'm at. For myself, the job pays the bills, but it's frustrating to see some articulate, intelligent woman I work with be referred to "oh is so-and-so's assistant in?" etc. even if they're not and work just as hard at their job.

    BUT ANYWAY! Make a fuss. If your boss has not set any expectations for you, there is now way he can give you a grade on something that doesn't exist! The fact that the job isn't your life's goal doesn't matter--if you are doing an efficient job and are even willing to do more--then you've done the job.

    I guess you must not have got them enough coffee refills or donuts

    Good Luck Colleen!
  7. by   Stargazer
    Evaluations and appraisals should always be based on your official, written job description. It is the only objective way to measure whether you are fulfilling your job duties or not.

    Do you have a copy of your job description? If not, can you obtain a copy? Does the job description state that your employer is responsible for providing you with job training? Are there parts of your job which are dependent on receiving assignments from your boss or others in the office?

    You need a copy of your job description. If one does not exist, I would sit down and write out what you think your job description would be, based on what you were told at time of hiring. Then figure out where you stack up against this description.

    If there are any areas in which you are not fulfilling the job requirements, make a note of why not. I would include verbatim any comments you're received such as "There's no point in training you because you're just going to get pregnant and leave anyway."

    When your boss goes over this with you, I would demand that he disqualify scores from any area in which someone else in the office was responsible for giving you training or assignments and refused to do so. DO NOT SIGN the eval until you have amended it with a written explanation of the areas where you disagree with the score. Insist on a photocopy of the entire eval, including his sig, your sig, date and your additional comments.

    I highly recommend that you review federal and state statutes concerning sexual harassment and discrimination. Isn't this the same place where they were out-and-out harassing you a few months ago? A few casually dropped references to "hostile work environment" might make him stand up straight and wipe the smirk off his face.

    Because this job is just a stepping-stone for you, it's an excellent way to practice your assertiveness skills re: HR issues. They'll serve you well in the future. Good luck and keep us posted!
  8. by   colleen10
    Hi Gals,

    Thanks for your quick responses and support.

    It is nice to know that there are people out there that get what I am saying and understand.

    Mel, I do believe you are right on the money. When I interviewed for the job they totally played it up, said they needed someone with all this experience and a degree, there would be opportunity, etc. I had a feeling then that perhaps some of it was fabricated but when I got here I realized that it was just typing and answering phones, which I don't mind doing as long as there is Some substance to the job, which here there isn't.

    Everything they said evaporated. I sometimes think that they mixed up my name with someone elses resume and accidentally hired me. For example, my last job I planned my companies trade shows and events - planned about 40 a year and would manage budgets in excess of $200,00.00 per show. They had a trade show that they attended last year and the only thing I did to help was make hotel reservations online. I truly believe that they are affraid to give me any type of project or repsonsibility because "I will get pregnant and leave" and then they'll be stuck.

    Brenda, it is totally a man's club. There are no women in any type of supervisory or managerial role. There once was a female engineer that worked here but she only stayed a few months because the other managers and engineers refused to work with her. I really think they like to have a secretary around to make them feel important.

    I'm glad you mentioned that they cannot open up my file and tell a future employer what my rating is. I was concerned that this could ruin my chances of getting a nursing job some day which would totally Peeve Me Off!!!

    Kris, thank for your support and kind words. I think I will say a couple of things that I don't agree with but I won't make a fight of it or anything. One thing that made me mad is that in the section regarding coming to work on time, etc. he gave me a 4 out of 10. Now, I have called off for illness, funerals, any type of emergency situation but I come in 15 minutes early, stay late when asked to and eat my lunch at my desk every day and answer the phones if they ring during this time. I also scheduled my vacation around their schedules so that I wouldn't be out if they thought they had a big proposal (lots of typing) due.

    I have been looking for entry level jobs in health care like Patient Care Tech, etc. but the hospital systems here are so hard to break into. You have to know someone to get your resume passed anywhere. As much as I would like to live some where in which it is warm at this time of year my family and home are here in Pgh. But if anyone has suggestions on how to get my resume through the system I would appreciate it. Everything is via e-mail and online, it's impossible to tell where it goes and no one lists names or numbers for HR.

    Once again, you guys have been great and a real inspirtation.

    Thank you so much for everything!

  9. by   colleen10
    Hey Lausana and Star,

    I was busy writing my last message whilst you two were posting.

    I guess I never realized how bad this "Boys Club" thing can be. I had heard of stories like this but didn't think that people really acted like that. Big wake up call! I guess it's good though, I spent too long with the rose colored glasses on.

    Star, yes, this is the same place where I was harrassed for coming in late during an ice storm and I have no doubt that a lot of the low scores have to do with me going to HR and telling them about the very indiscrete photo that was sent from one of the male employees to other male employees in our company and also male clients at a company that we do business with. It was titled "Beaver Dam" need I say more? I came across it on one of my co-workers emails because he was out of the office and wanted me to check his mail for him.

    I have been told that my boss calls me a "trouble maker" now so I know he's not an objective source for any type of review. All in all I am glad that I did go to HR about the email that was sent around. No one should have to put up with that and I am some what glad that there is a "paper trail" in case there are any problems in the future whether they be with me or some other employee.

    But, it really comes down to a matter of choosing battles. As much as I want to make an issue of all of this, it's a he said, she said and I am fearful that I'll find myself out on the street without a job and no income. I'm sure it wouldn't take much for them to say I have performed poorly and boot me out on a whim without a bit of severance or unemployment compensation.
  10. by   renerian
    Let me ask a question. I have done tons of employee evals with many different tools. For many 5 is where your supposed to be and anything higher is for job performance above and beyond the call of duty. 5 is good. 10 is for the person who walks on water. Is that how your tool is structured?

  11. by   colleen10
    Hi Renerian,

    For each specific section 2-3 points is a "needs improvement", 4, 5 & 6 is "average". I have all 3's and 4's.

    The points are totaled then divided by ten and so overall I have a 3.8. On this overall scale 2 or 3 is "needs improvement". 4, 5 & 6 is "Fully Satisfactory".

    So, perhaps if they look at it your way, then I am close to average.

    Also, we have to sign it when it is completed but we are not allowed to have a copy of it.
  12. by   Beach_RN

    If I remember correctly.... you have the right to receive a copy of your performance appraisal if you request it. They are not obligated to automatically give you a copy. Y

    You also have the right to view your Personnel File, if you request to do so.

    Does your employer provide you with an Employee manual, that review company policies??
  13. by   colleen10
    Yes, we have a manual but all it states as far as "performance reviews" is that you may periodically meet with your supervisor to discuss your performance and progress. It doesn't refer to the guidelines or forms that they use to conduct the review nor does it mention anything about getting a copy of it.

    We are told that we cannot receive a copy of our performance review, only a copy of our "job description". This is also stated in the memo that is sent to your supervisor along with your review forms that have allready been filled in by your advisor. The memo states that "All performance reviews are property of "company" and employees are not to receive copies of them. They may, however, recieve a copy of their job description."
  14. by   Beach_RN
    hmmmm interesting Colleen, they are calling the performance appraisals company property.... I'm going to call my old boss and ask him about that... as soon as I hear anything I will post or send you a PM!