Author Topic: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?  (Read 5439 times)

Schpeet

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Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« on: October 04, 2014, 04:41:09 AM »
I'd appreciate some advice on this!

I work in construction management, and generally am 2nd in charge on projects working under a project manager  Typical value $15-30M.

I was asked to work in a different city for a few months.  Typical arrangement for management staff working away is additional pay, flight home every weekend, accommodation.  I've worked away for around 12 months in the last 18 months, so am familiar with the what normally happens.  On this particular project, since I grew up and lived in the away city until recently I told them I was happy so skip the weekly flights.

Anyway, I discussed with the project manager (PM) for them to send several options for accommodation to me and I'd pick which one I liked.  Didn't happen - they just booked a tiny studio unit (cheap, and the 3 other staff in the office that are living away all have better accommodation).  There are a number of issues - the layout of the unit itself is poor and doesn't work well, no oven, kitchen is very poorly equipped, washer/dryer has already ruined several loads of my clothes through dye running.  I've brought up the issues a couple of times and provided alternate options which have been dismissed.  They have sorted out the utensils and are apparently getting an oven installed but there has been no progress on this.  I got sick of this and sent the PM an email basically saying the unit is unacceptable accommodation, I'll provide an alternative and work will need to arrange to move me in there.  The PM has refused and told me if I don't like the accommodation then go back to my original city.

So here's the dilemma - stay in the living away city, getting the additional perks, plus I am really enjoying catching up with old friends.  Except the PM is a tyrant boss, egotistical, always right type personality, and I don't particularly enjoy the type of project I'm working on.  Or move back to where I now live permanently and resume my old project (which I enjoy more), with a short-term reduction in other employee's opinion of me, but I have a much smaller social circle.  The PM has stated he would prefer me to stay in the away city.

My current thoughts - I gave the PM an ultimatum, provide alternate accommodation or I leave.  He has provided a couple of weak promises/work arounds (work will pay for all my clothes to be laundered, and are 'chasing up' the oven installation which is a lip service statement as far as I am concerned until an install date is confirmed).  So, I want to go back to my old project and not stay with the tyrant PM and go back on my ultimatum.  But I won't be paid as much, and have a worse off social circle...I don't think I care too much about the likely drop in reputation, this particular PM is know to be a tyrant with little respect for others and I am going to quit my job to spend a couple of years travelling at the end of this year anyway!

Would appreciate any extra input?  Cause I'm not entirely sure I'm making the right decision.  For what it's worth, the PM has told me I'm being pretty childish.

Pooperman

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2014, 04:58:48 AM »
Flip a coin for it. Before that coin is revealed, you'll secretly be hoping it's one of the other. You know the answer deep down, listen to it.

MayDay

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2014, 05:43:04 AM »
Go back home.

chasesfish

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2014, 06:20:48 AM »
I'd stay and you should go hang out with your friends.

Your concerns seem to be complanypants, whiney, 1st world problems.  (Oh no, my company paid apartment isn't nice enough).

I am also very familiar with your profession, its a fairly small circle of large project PMs and General Contractors, I wouldn't get real bent out of shape.

Tai

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2014, 07:49:10 AM »
Is it possible that the PM really doesn't want you there for whatever reason and the lousy apartment is a message?
I think I would go back to your original city. It doesn't seem like it will get any better, only worse. What is your instinct ?

Goldielocks

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2014, 10:38:38 AM »
Are the other three staff in the same city or project?

If so they should be able to have that management company for the others find something similar.

I think your best option is to just ask for cash living expenses of $x, and move out and handle it on your own.tthis may become a taxable benefit, so ask for enough to cover that too.  But acctng may nit be set up for that.

The problem may be that they leased the studio sight unseen, and cant break the lease. 
I also guess that this is the first time in this project area and there are higher costs, or are being ripped off for a furnished place.

Whatever you do, having them pay for laundry, and count cutlery with property mgmnt is a hassle for them and exceptionally complainy pants appearing.
You just want a new studio. Period.  Find three options, and bring to the person managing this mess and ask them how you can help to make this mess easier. 

Alabaster

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2014, 11:09:32 AM »
Dignity > Money.

If you feel the accommodation is inadequate, do something about it. You are not powerless. You can leave. You don't need the PM or that project.

Sarita

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2014, 02:00:38 PM »
My experience in workplaces is that complaining about space (offices in this case) does not win one brownie points.  I've seen very senior level people sit in small offices because it was close to their staff, or all that was available, and people really respected them for not being class-conscious and having their priorities straight. 

I'd accept the living arrangements, get the basics fixed (find a way to not ruin your clothes or have them compensate you for replacements), get over it, and finish the job.  Tell the current PM that although you remain unhappy about the living situation it's more important to you that you finish what you signed up for.  It's not a permanent situation, you can live with it.  Have a nicer time travelling with the extra money you've squirreled away, and enjoy your friends a bit more.   And resolve to not complain about things like this again. Even though people may consider the PM a tyrant, they will also think you are weak.  Reputations, while you are working, matter.  And I'm pretty sure that MMM would say buck up, too :).

kyanamerinas

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2014, 02:15:53 PM »
Are you getting a per diem for food/eating out? If not I think it is perfectly reasonable to expect a kitchen in your accommodation. If you are, I'd make do. How long are you there for? Look at threads for hotel food, maybe get a microwave or hot plate or slow cooker or toaster oven and see what you can manage with those.

Chrissy

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2014, 06:09:31 PM »
This is the type of situation for which FU money was designed.  You have that money, so fire up that middle finger and go on home.

KBecks2

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2014, 06:23:24 PM »
My experience in workplaces is that complaining about space (offices in this case) does not win one brownie points.  I've seen very senior level people sit in small offices because it was close to their staff, or all that was available, and people really respected them for not being class-conscious and having their priorities straight. 

I'd accept the living arrangements, get the basics fixed (find a way to not ruin your clothes or have them compensate you for replacements), get over it, and finish the job.  Tell the current PM that although you remain unhappy about the living situation it's more important to you that you finish what you signed up for.  It's not a permanent situation, you can live with it.  Have a nicer time travelling with the extra money you've squirreled away, and enjoy your friends a bit more.   And resolve to not complain about things like this again. Even though people may consider the PM a tyrant, they will also think you are weak.  Reputations, while you are working, matter.  And I'm pretty sure that MMM would say buck up, too :).

+1.  Make it work and stop complaining.  Enjoy your social life and just get the job done sans drama.

OJ4_JayGats

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2014, 07:00:47 PM »
I'd appreciate some advice on this!

I work in construction management, and generally am 2nd in charge on projects working under a project manager  Typical value $15-30M.

I was asked to work in a different city for a few months.  Typical arrangement for management staff working away is additional pay, flight home every weekend, accommodation.  I've worked away for around 12 months in the last 18 months, so am familiar with the what normally happens.  On this particular project, since I grew up and lived in the away city until recently I told them I was happy so skip the weekly flights.

Anyway, I discussed with the project manager (PM) for them to send several options for accommodation to me and I'd pick which one I liked.  Didn't happen - they just booked a tiny studio unit (cheap, and the 3 other staff in the office that are living away all have better accommodation).  There are a number of issues - the layout of the unit itself is poor and doesn't work well, no oven, kitchen is very poorly equipped, washer/dryer has already ruined several loads of my clothes through dye running.  I've brought up the issues a couple of times and provided alternate options which have been dismissed.  They have sorted out the utensils and are apparently getting an oven installed but there has been no progress on this.  I got sick of this and sent the PM an email basically saying the unit is unacceptable accommodation, I'll provide an alternative and work will need to arrange to move me in there.  The PM has refused and told me if I don't like the accommodation then go back to my original city.

So here's the dilemma - stay in the living away city, getting the additional perks, plus I am really enjoying catching up with old friends.  Except the PM is a tyrant boss, egotistical, always right type personality, and I don't particularly enjoy the type of project I'm working on.  Or move back to where I now live permanently and resume my old project (which I enjoy more), with a short-term reduction in other employee's opinion of me, but I have a much smaller social circle.  The PM has stated he would prefer me to stay in the away city.

My current thoughts - I gave the PM an ultimatum, provide alternate accommodation or I leave.  He has provided a couple of weak promises/work arounds (work will pay for all my clothes to be laundered, and are 'chasing up' the oven installation which is a lip service statement as far as I am concerned until an install date is confirmed).  So, I want to go back to my old project and not stay with the tyrant PM and go back on my ultimatum.  But I won't be paid as much, and have a worse off social circle...I don't think I care too much about the likely drop in reputation, this particular PM is know to be a tyrant with little respect for others and I am going to quit my job to spend a couple of years travelling at the end of this year anyway!

Would appreciate any extra input?  Cause I'm not entirely sure I'm making the right decision.  For what it's worth, the PM has told me I'm being pretty childish.

Sounds like a tough situation. I agree with what Alabaster said about not being powerless. What if you were to identify 3 places (one lower cost, one the same cost, one slightly higher cost) in the area that are more suitable to your needs and propose moving to one of those? This shows you're willing to work with him and the issue is really just the subpar accommodation.

Let me know how it goes,
J.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2014, 07:28:57 PM »
Do not move into accommodation until it meets your approval. If it's too small, missing appliances, in a bad neighborhood, etc...do not agree to stay there. Explain that you will stay in a motel until suitable housing is found; if they disagree, leave.

Of course, any demands should be known up front. Don't wait until you arrive to tell them a laundromat is not acceptable, you must have a private washer/dryer. But if you told them of that requirement up front, hold them to it. And don't accept "we'll put one in later," if they pull that, then explain you'll accept the accommodations once they meet the prior agreed-on specifications. Might seem silly to refuse a perfectly good apartment (minus washer/dryer) and stay in a motel which also lacks that...but it'll light a fire under them and will be taken care of ASAP.

Now...you've already accepted the housing provided. I wouldn't complain about the size or layout. If appliances are faulty I'd push for repairs. If something was not satisfactory on move-in and you informed them immediately (preferably before formally accepting the housing) and they stated it would be rectified, hold them to it.

And don't make ultimatums unless you intend to follow through. If I were you, and if I were (mostly) in the right, I'd stick to what I said and would leave if this was not rectified by the end of the week.

KBecks2

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2014, 06:57:06 AM »
Remember it's only a few months.   Have you tried color catcher sheets in your laundry?  Get some on your next visit home.

Schpeet

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2014, 07:13:06 AM »
Thanks all for your advice.  Seems a pretty equal split of stay vs go.


Iíve decided to go home.


@tai Ė the PM has expressed he would prefer I stay, but obviously he doesnít want to provide better accommodation.  Itís not a money thing Ė Iím familiar with the project financials.

@goldielocks, Good suggestions -  I have already provided them with alternatives accommodations and theyíve declined to provide one of the alternatives.  Pretty poor, considering they offered to let me choose where I would stay, and I said I would like to choose before starting the project. Then they booked a pretty pathetic unit without any input from me

@alabaster, I agree.  Itíd be better financially for me and the project for me to stay Ė but the PMís Ďalways rightí attitude is getting in the way and Iím not willing to back down.  This issue would be quickly resolved by any of the other PMís in the company.

@Sarita, I know I wonít be earning brownie points.  Honestly, if it was an issue that no one had any control over ie there werenít alternatives then I would just deal with it.  The part I have issue with is there are a number of better alternative options, and the PM is choosing not to resolve the issue (Iíve done all the research and provided the alternatives to him already all he has to do is say yes).

@josetann, I agree.  I told him last week if it wasnít sorted Iím not staying so I canít now stay without losing faceÖ

Thanks everyone for your advice!!

Like I said, I want to quit soon anyway to travel for a while.  I have enough money already, but wouldn't mind saving some more.  Worse case (and it's very unlikely I get fired over this) I just bring the trip forward.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2014, 07:39:52 AM by Schpeet »

OJ4_JayGats

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2014, 07:21:59 AM »
Glad to see you were able to come to a decision. Let us know how it turns out a few months from now.

J.

SnackDog

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2014, 07:52:15 AM »
I agree with others here that the PM is giving you a clear signal that he is not interested in a high-maintenance Gen Y whiner.   In my experience, people who are high maintenance tend to be not worth the trouble 90% of the time. 

A young friend here quit his job, with the global leader in his field, because he didn't like the accommodation or working location.  Then he spent over a year living at home with no job.  Last month he got a job with a weaker company in a location a short plane ride away but no accommodation at all.  He rents a room from another guy and frequently flies home on the weekend.  He says he is happy.

Chrissy

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2014, 12:57:24 PM »
SnackDog, did you read the original post?  Schpeet is NOT quitting his job, he's leaving this project to return to a project with which he already has experience and a place waiting for him.  His compensation for the away project included certain arrangements regarding housing.  Those arrangements were agreed to by the head of the project, but not honored.  Why, in your mind, is it okay for Schpeet's boss to renege on his compensation once he's started the position?  Schpeet has given his boss options and time to rectify the situation, but has been stonewalled.  He's been met at every turn with bad faith actions from his superior.

In my industry, travel is the norm, and housing and per diem are not considered "perks", but a good portion of the negotiated package.  We're union protected, and our union has outlined the lowest standard of housing acceptable.  The studio where Schpeet is located would not meet that standard.  In his place, after exhausting all other avenues, I could take the issue up with my union, and the company would not only have to find me acceptable housing immediately, but would also be forced to pay me a PENALTY for each day that the conditions were subpar.  In comparison, Schpeet's company is getting off easy.

Isn't the point of Mustachianism to have the resources to choose when, where, and under what conditions we will work?  Or IF we will work at all?   Schpeet has those resources, and is making his choice.  I say kuddos to him.

Schpeet

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2014, 04:30:50 PM »
Hmm, so they've now changed their story once they realised how serious I am! They've decided there are no jobs in my previous city (bullshit, I know for a fact there is plenty of work). And decided my options are stay where I am or quit. So I'll stay where I am, but I'm going to provide my own accomodation.  Could be interesting over the next week or two - my boss (the PM isn't my boss, we actually report to the same person) has been away and returns next week so I'll see if anything changes then.. In the meantime, I'm applying for overseas work visas. Was always going to do a working holiday for a couple of years I've now got the kick in the pants to actually book it in and so it!

Schpeet

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Re: Can anyone give me advice on a work conflict?
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2014, 04:32:58 PM »
@chrissy thanks for your post, what you've stated is spot on! Glad you understand ;-)

And I love having f*ck you money, and no debt. Makes the world of difference!