New Job, Hostile Trainer. What should I do!?

posted 2 years ago in Career
Post # 2
Member
311 posts
Helper bee

I wish I had a good answer for you, but unfortunately, the only thing you can do is either bide your time and deal with it or leave. I moved 1000 miles away from home for a job in January, by myself, and went through almost the exact same thing. I let my emotions get the best of me because I was trying to just deal with it, and it showed. The more I tried, the worse my manager got. I had been looking for other jobs since March, but nothing was coming up. Eventually last week, it all came to a head and I walked out. I couldn’t deal with the anxiety anymore. Some people just don’t work well together, and sometimes, even though they’ve been there forever, it doesn’t mean they’re an effective leader. You have to decide just how much you can take. I still haven’t found another job yet, and I’m freaked out about it, but quitting there was the best thing I could have done for my emotional health. 

Post # 3
Member
2704 posts
Sugar bee

What I’m getting from all of that is that you are very smart and very eager. Sometimes when taking a new position, it’s tempting to show how smart and eager you are but you have to be very careful in how you approach it. There are systems in place to complete all the tasks of the job. Frequently as an outsider with a fresh perspective, you see TONS of opportunity to do things in innovative and more efficient ways but you tend step on toes if you approach it right out the gate. Know what I mean? He may have PERSONALLY developed those systems and they work for him so when you’re asking questions about WHY things are done and isn’t it better to use a CD instead of…, he’s insulted by that -even though you don’t mean it that way AT ALL. Then you’ve created an adversarial relationship with the ONE person you need to back you up and tell management you’re fit for duty. It puts him in a mindset to want to showcase how much you DON’T know instead. Best to learn whatever functions they’ve set out exactly as they’ve been doing them then as you gain credibility and are on steady footing, implement changes gradually over time. Egos are delicate things to deal with. Good luck to you with your new gig!

Post # 4
Member
4000 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

This is what I would do: take a long, hard look at yourself. What I mean is your entire post is basically about how this is all on him, and takes no responsability. I would give some serious thought to what in this you can take ownership of. That’s not to say you’re doing anything bad intentionally, but really be harsh with yourself and consider how things may look to outsiders. Like, when he said you weren’t detail-oriented enough, what did you do about that? What steps have you taken to improve?

Then I would set up a meeting with him. And I would lay it out on the table. I would say “I feel like our working relationship hasn’t been going to well, and I want to talk about what I think I can do to improve it, and what things I was hoping you may be able to help me with”. People respond a lot more when you take ownership and responsability for your role, and then try to show an honest effort towards improvement.

If this guy is winning awards he’s not going anywhere. And if you can’t afford to leave, you have no choice but to at least try this kind of approach and hope for the best.

 

Post # 6
Member
4000 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

sparklebee19 :  Well damn. Is it an option to bring in a manager on your meetings with him?

Post # 9
Member
4000 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

sparklebee19 :  I sthere anyone you feel you oculd trust to ask? Not gossip but just say “hey i feel like i’m not connecting with Joe, do you have any advice? I respect him, but feel like maybe there’s some tension with us”

Post # 10
Member
108 posts
Blushing bee

sparklebee19 :  As someone who often works with and trains new hires, I agree that what you might see as enthusiasm and initiative can be perceived quite differently by those around you. I think it is also important to note that you had a week of one-on-one training, which suggests that this individual is now “training” you ON TOP of their regular workload. So – a little bit of tough love from someone who often trains new hires:

  1. I do think it is unprofessional when you talk about personal things. Generally, I am training you in addition to my regular workload which means I am swamped. Your goal should be to learn this job and become as good as possible as quickly as possible so you can support the rest of the team. Once you can do that, you can decide if you have time to talk about personal stuff and get your work done but before? I want you to focus on learning.
  2. I am okay with “Why” questions, provided you are okay with short answers. Again, I am busy and I need you to learn, so my answer might just be “because we tried X in the past and found clients didn’t respond as well”. If you are expecting me to go into the 5 years of trial and error it took to learn this, or all the meetings that we had before coming to this decision, I am sorry but I don’t have time. I need you to trust that we do things a certain way because a lot of people who are very good at their jobs determined that this was best. I am also happy for you to put forward new ideas or suggestions, but please wait until you have a bit of experience under your belt.
  3. It does make me crazy when you forget things we have talked about. Maybe not fair but again, if this is on top of a regular workload I do not have time to teach things twice. I expect you to take responsibility for your learning and make sure you have some sort of reference (whatever works for you!) of what we discuss.
  4. You are responsible for your work pieces. Telling me that you “thought you could count on the other team to do their part properly” is a total cop-out to me. Buck stops with you. You need to make sure the pieces your are responsible for are complete, of good quality etc no matter who else is involved in their production. It is frustrating for sure, but there is no passing the blame back.

Honestly, the fact that your manager said “you need to learn the basics before you move on” suggests that it is not just your trainer who thinks you are getting ahead of yourself.

So – my suggestion on how to handle this? First of all take a deep breath and recognize that this is not personal – he can be unhappy your work and it does not mean he (or anyone else) is unhappy with you as a person. It also does not mean you are not a wonderful and capable employee. You just have to get on track!  Some ideas:

  1. For now, copy this guy. Do what he does, the same way he does.
  2. Try to make sure the “Why’s” you ask are necessary to you performing the job in the future. For example, asking “Why do we add V0x to our documents?” is a “good” why (“because it is a versioning number so we can keep track of how many times something has been edited”) A “bad”  why might be “Why do we use numbers and not letters when we version? I mean, the whole company uses numbers but why not letters? I think letters would be easier” (Not relevant – the company uses numbers, it is not a big deal, and he doesn’t want to tell you the story about how they used to use letters but then had a doc that had 28 changes and they ran out of letters and they work with a company in the Ukraine who uses a Cyrillic alphabet etc. They just use numbers)
  3. Have a discussion with him, keep it short, and explain WHY you have been doing some of the things you have. Something along the lines of “Look – I want to be clear, I have been asking other people on the team things because I want to make sure that I can anticipate and avoid problems before they come up – because I really want to be good at this job and work independently – but I am not sure this is having the right effect. Suggestions?” Ideally (though he may just be a jerk) he will then let you know what’s up – “I get that but right now we need you to focus on how to do basic things, and will get to how to recognize problems once you have some experience under your belt. For now if there is an issue I would prefer you just ask me” (or whatever)

Sorry that is so long but I hope at least some of it is helpful. And I do hope you get this worked out – I know how hard it is when you are TRYING to do a good job but all your effort seems to be having the opposite effect. Best of luck!

Post # 12
Member
2199 posts
Buzzing bee

newbee33 :  This x1000.

 

As someone who has trained people and been trained, I completely agree with newbee33 response. 

You said your notes could be better. So rewrite them or type them up, and REFER TO THEM FIRST before asking a question. I am guilty of this, having the answer in my notes, not looking hard enough, and just asking again. Now, that I have been the one asked the same question over and over again, I get how annoying it is. And I feel double like an asshole since I had the answer, just didnt’ take the time to find it. 

Yeah, I would focus on getting your daily work done exactly as you were told, as newbee33 said, exactly like your trainer does. Trying to make a personal connection is a good idea, but it comes across as a distraction to your trainer. 

Also, asking why all the time does get old. I get that mentality, as I am curious as well, but I have realized that if i give myself some time and critically think about something, I’ll figure out the why. As I understood more of the processes of this company, I understand why certain things are the way they are. Its not always easy to explain. 

I say, come in with a determined attitude to focus on all the details and prove to your trainer and manager that you will work the way they want. 

Post # 14
Member
2199 posts
Buzzing bee

sparklebee19 :  No, you aren’t getting radio silence, you just aren’t paying attention to what has been told to you. 

In your response to newbee33, you are defending all your actions. Not critically looking at what YOU can improve about your situation. You can’t change your trainer, his attitude or your manager. You can change your perspective, attitude, and behavior. 

 

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