There are three assistants whom I work with on a daily basis. One of them is a young and beautiful woman from Brazil. I’ve heard, before starting to work with her, that she is cold to everyone, and sure enough, she keeps her distance from me as well. I don’t blame her, being a good looking woman working in a male dominated world, I wouldn’t show too much zealousness either. Anyway, she forgot to tell me some procedures, and it triggered one of those emails that copied everyone and their mother.
Adopting the LIFO method (last in first out) with my emails, I dutifully did a “reply all” when I saw the accusatory message. After playing ping-pong via emails a few times, I finally realized that I was being an office politics fool. It is the administrative manager’s responsibility to train the administrative assistants, and the oversight of my assistant would ultimately point back to them, either by way of inadequate training or mismanagement. Why did I insert myself in the email threads at all?
Anyway, when the administrative manager sent a separate email just to me and requested to talk offline, I stopped my “reply all”. I promptly forgot about the incident for 4~5 hours, until I walked pass the administrative manager’s office. Cheerfully, I walked in and asked whether she wanted to talk. To my amusement, she scolded me for not knowing the procedure and demanded me to take responsibility. Although I don’t play the office politics game, it doesn’t mean I don’t know the rules. I realized that she needed to perform a “slap on the wrist” in order to bury the issue under the rug.
I began to list the facts, then I felt some extreme boredom came over me. It was like I left my body to observe two adult wasting time playing a monotonous game in the sand. So instead, I smiled, and said that we would do better next time and left her office. No wonder “running interference with management” is a defined role in some teams. I’m glad that I don’t have to do a lot of that.
On the bright side, the assistant from Columbia, who is older but also attractive and very elegant, had always treated me as if I was her little sister. She even told me where to park to kill sometime between my meetings. And here is a picture from her recommended parking spot.