I recently started a new job as a department coordinator – I thought that such a position would come with a bit of built-in respect but boy was I wrong. My boss is the micromanager from hell – I’m surprised she hasn’t scheduled my bathroom breaks – but her trusty sidekick secretary is even worse. If I ask the secretary to do anything she pretty much ignores me and when I confronted my boss about it I was told that I needed to “earn” the secretary’s respect. Earn, my ass, I didn’t get the position because I’m a slacker and I shouldn’t need to prove myself all over again. I hate to even think it, but I am the only black person in the department and I know my predecessor wasn’t treated like this. I filed an EEOC report just to cover my bases but I want to work this out. Do I grovel for respect or what?
Finding respect on the job can often be elusive. This is because most people believe that respect in the form of trust has to be earned instead of simply given. However, this does not eliminate the need for decency and courtesy towards you - something to which everyone is entitled. Since you are new in the position, you might explore how you can improve your relationship with your boss and her secretary so that they don’t feel the need for micromanaging you. Often micromanagement is a result of insecurity, and it may be alleviated by going out with your boss for lunch to find out what she expects from you in the job. As for the secretary, she is simply taking her cue from the boss, and her attitude will almost certainly change when the boss’s attitude towards you changes.