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    RichardCF's Avatar
    RichardCF Posts: 11, Reputation: 2
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    #1

    May 23, 2013, 04:15 PM
    Accused of insubordination
    Accused of insubordination by a supervisor where I work who isn't my supervisor.

    I work at a motel. I am a maintenance man. I went into our breakfast area across from our front desk to fix a broken cabinet hinge. As I was entering the lobby, the front desk supervisor ask me to go stop the man that is leaving the motel through the exit because the front desk forgot to do something when checking him out. It was 20 minutes before quitting time and I had two maintenance issues pressing that I had to get to. I told the front desk supervisor that I couldn't right now, I was too busy. There were two front desk clerks standing beside her that were not doing anything. When they saw I was about to go to work on the cabinet door, they simply stood not doing anything. I looked their way and told all three, call out the window to the man. One of the desk clerks took my advice and did just that. The man heard the call and came back in. Problem solved. The next day this supervisor (who isn't my supervisor) has written me up for insubordination. Was I wrong? Was she right? Did she over react? Should I have dropped what I was doing and gone and done what was asked anyway? Most all the time I would have helped out, but I was pressed for time. There was also two desk clerks not doing a thing. Who was right and who was wrong. With my suggestion the problem got solved anyway.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,970, Reputation: 6056
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    #2

    May 23, 2013, 04:28 PM
    Without knowing the layout of the lobby it may have been easier and quicker for you to stick your head out the door and call the customer. And in a service business the customer should always come first.

    I do think a formal writeup was an overreaction. In the desk supervisor's position I would have had an informal talk with your supervisor about putting the customer first.
    Alty's Avatar
    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
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    #3

    May 23, 2013, 04:36 PM
    Is customer service part of your job description? If not, the supervisor that asked you to call the costumer back in, had no right to ask that of you. If your job is only to maintain equipment in the hotel, that means you're not responsible for the costumer aspect of the hotel, that's their job, not yours.

    If that's the case, I think you're in the right, and the supervisor that wrote you up is in the wrong. A simple look at your job description and duties should clear this up.
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    RichardCF Posts: 11, Reputation: 2
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    #4

    May 23, 2013, 04:38 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottGem View Post
    Without knowing the layout of the lobby it may have been easier and quicker for you to stick your head out the door and call the customer. And in a service business the customer should always come first.

    I do think a formal writeup was an overreaction. In the desk supervisor's position I would have had an informal talk with your supervisor about putting the customer first.
    Thanks, Scott. Appreciate the response. I personally feel just like you about it all. 99 times out of a 100 I would have helped out, but it was a busy day. Yes, I probably should have taken the time, but it wasn't that big of an effort for the other unoccupied desk clerks if they had been thinking. And I do think the supervisor over reacted. Thanks, again.
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    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
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    #5

    May 23, 2013, 04:38 PM
    I think you described the scene well, and if you submit it to the owner, you should be OK. And after all, a handyman has more skills than a desk clerk, in my opinion.

    Hope I'm right at your place of work.
    You could describe this event, but you could also ask for a directive regarding side requests and who is allowed to ask you. You could even write down what you think it should be as a pro-active suggestion. Reasoning can be that only you can do what you do, as well as interruptions make it hard to concentrate on a specific task.
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    #6

    May 23, 2013, 04:40 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Alty View Post
    Is customer service part of your job description?
    I'm going to have to disagree with you here. The nature of the business is that EVERYONE is responsible for customer service. Some are more responsible than others, but everyone has responsibility to make sure the patrons are properly cared for. It doesn't necessarily have to specify it in the job description, it is implied by the nature of the business.
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    RichardCF Posts: 11, Reputation: 2
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    #7

    May 23, 2013, 04:41 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Alty View Post
    Is customer service part of your job description? If not, the supervisor that asked you to call the costumer back in, had no right to ask that of you. If your job is only to maintain equipment in the hotel, that means you're not responsible for the costumer aspect of the hotel, that's their job, not yours.

    If that's the case, I think you're in the right, and the supervisor that wrote you up is in the wrong. A simple look at your job description and duties should clear this up.
    Thanks, Alty. Yes. Techncally we are considered part of the customer service team, and maintenance where I work has a lot of other duties dumped on it. We have a BIG motel with only one dedicated maintenance person, and a supervisor.
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    ScottGem Posts: 64,970, Reputation: 6056
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    #8

    May 23, 2013, 04:43 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by joypulv View Post
    I think you described the scene well, and if you submit it to the owner, you should be OK.
    What I meant is the OP may have been closest to the door the customer went out through. The supervisor may have felt that the OP had the best chance of getting to the customer then the other desk clerks. We can't know that.
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    RichardCF Posts: 11, Reputation: 2
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    #9

    May 23, 2013, 04:49 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottGem View Post
    What I meant is the OP may have been closest to the door the customer went out through. The supervisor may have felt that the OP had the best chance of getting to the customer then the other desk clerks. We can't know that.
    Actually, I was closer to the leaving guest, but the other employees could have caught him with little problem if they had tried.
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    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
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    #10

    May 23, 2013, 04:49 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottGem View Post
    I'm going to have to disagree with you here. The nature of the business is that EVERYONE is responsible for customer service. Some are more responsible than others, but everyone has responsibility to make sure the patrons are properly cared for. It doesn't necessarily have to specify it in the job description, it is implied by the nature of the business.
    You are more knowledgeable on how things work in the US, so I'll cede to your knowledge. I only know how things work in Canada. I worked in a customer based business. Yes, the customer is everyone's responsibility, but, there were different jobs, with different duties.

    For instance, most of the employees were hired to stock shelves and work the register. For those employees helping customers was part of their duty. But, we did have a maintenance man, and his only job was to maintain the facility, he was not allowed to interact with customers at all. In fact, the many times a customer asked him for assistance, he directed that customer to one of the staff that was hired to deal with customer service. Even if that customer complained, that employee never got a write up, because customer service wasn't in his job description.

    He was hired to do a specific job, and dealing with customers took away from his ability to perform that job. Not only that, but he knew nothing about our products, or our policies, so he wasn't equipped to deal with the customers.

    But that's in Canada.

    When I read this post my first thought was "you're not in customer service, you're in maintenance, you fix things, you don't deal with the customers". If the OP is right and three people who were hired to deal with customers, did nothing, and then asked him to help them do their job, while he was busy doing his, I don't think it's fair to reprimand him for not agreeing to do their job because he was busy doing what he was hired to do.

    That's just my take on it, and I'm basing that opinion strictly on how things run where I live.
    RichardCF's Avatar
    RichardCF Posts: 11, Reputation: 2
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    #11

    May 23, 2013, 04:56 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Alty View Post
    You are more knowledgeable on how things work in the US, so I'll cede to your knowledge. I only know how things work in Canada. I worked in a customer based business. Yes, the customer is everyone's responsibility, but, there were different jobs, with different duties.

    For instance, most of the employees were hired to stock shelves and work the register. For those employees helping customers was part of their duty. But, we did have a maintenance man, and his only job was to maintain the facility, he was not allowed to interact with customers at all. In fact, the many times a customer asked him for assistance, he directed that customer to one of the staff that was hired to deal with customer service. Even if that customer complained, that employee never got a write up, because customer service wasn't in his job description.

    He was hired to do a specific job, and dealing with customers took away from his ability to perform that job. Not only that, but he knew nothing about our products, or our policies, so he wasn't equipped to deal with the customers.

    But that's in Canada.

    When I read this post my first thought was "you're not in customer service, you're in maintenance, you fix things, you don't deal with the customers". If the OP is right and three people who were hired to deal with customers, did nothing, and then asked him to help them do their job, while he was busy doing his, I don't think it's fair to reprimand him for not agreeing to do their job because he was busy doing what he was hired to do.

    That's just my take on it, and I'm basing that opinion strictly on how things run where I live.
    Actually, Alty it works the same in the states as there. It just depends on the business you work for. I have worked at places where the maintenance man is not apart of customer service and I have worked at places - like where I am now - where you are part of customer service. But you're right. Depends on the business, really.
    Alty's Avatar
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    #12

    May 23, 2013, 04:57 PM
    My husband is reading this and he has a different solution, also just opinion.

    My husband suggested that you talk to your immediate supervisor about this write up, and get it removed from your file, or ask for a commendation letter for not being distracted from your duties when an employee in a supervisor position, demanded that you do their job. The commendation letter would counteract the write up. :)
    Alty's Avatar
    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
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    #13

    May 23, 2013, 04:59 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by RichardCF View Post
    Actually, Alty it works the same in the states as there. It just depends on the business you work for. I have worked at places where the maintenance man is not apart of customer service and I have worked at places - like where I am now - where you are part of customer service. But you're right. Depends on the business, really.
    Sorry, I didn't see your other post before replying. So you are expected to contribute to customer service, even though you are mainly responsible for maintenance? That seems to be a lot of undo pressure. How are you supposed to do your job when you're expected to do the jobs of others that are specifically hired to deal with customers, but are too lazy to do it?

    Sorry, I'm mad about this. Mad for you. I don't think this is fair at all!
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    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
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    #14

    May 23, 2013, 05:00 PM
    Quick question. If you hadn't finished your duties for that day, what would have happened? Would you have been written up for that?
    RichardCF's Avatar
    RichardCF Posts: 11, Reputation: 2
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    #15

    May 23, 2013, 05:03 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Alty View Post
    My husband is reading this and he has a different solution, also just opinion.

    My husband suggested that you talk to your immediate supervisor about this write up, and get it removed from your file, or ask for a commendation letter for not being distracted from your duties when an employee in a supervisor position, demanded that you do their job. The commendation letter would counteract the write up. :)
    Ha! Ha! Love it. Good idea, but they might write me up for a good idea. :-)
    RichardCF's Avatar
    RichardCF Posts: 11, Reputation: 2
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    #16

    May 23, 2013, 05:06 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Alty View Post
    Sorry, I didn't see your other post before replying. So you are expected to contribute to customer service, even though you are mainly responsible for maintenance? That seems to be a lot of undo pressure. How are you supposed to do your job when you're expected to do the jobs of others that are specifically hired to deal with customers, but are too lazy to do it?

    Sorry, I'm mad about this. Mad for you. I don't think this is fair at all!
    The maintenance department has many duties assign to my supervisors list of things to do that have nothing to do with maintenance. Running customer service errands to rooms for guest, moving laundry around, dealing with supply delivery. I'm sure I can come up with more.
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    RichardCF Posts: 11, Reputation: 2
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    #17

    May 23, 2013, 05:07 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Alty View Post
    Quick question. If you hadn't finished your duties for that day, what would have happened? Would you have been written up for that?
    No. For the most part my supervisor is pretty fair, although she won't touch this one because the front desk supervisor has more clout.
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    ScottGem Posts: 64,970, Reputation: 6056
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    #18

    May 23, 2013, 05:18 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by RichardCF View Post
    Actually, I was closer to the leaving guest, but the other employees could have caught him with little problem if they had tried.
    This is what I meant. The desk supervisor may have felt you were risking missing the customer by your refusal to follow her orders. I still think she overreacted. Her reaction makes me think she is a controller type person who expects to be obeyed. And I agree with Alty's husband take on it that you should have a conversation with your supervisor about the impact of this writeup on your job performance.

    Aside to Alty. This is really the nature of the hospitality business. And I doubt if it is different anyplace in the world. Other businesses may be different. Let me give an example. I was at a national convention for the ERP software my company uses back in April. They were demoing the capabilities of their software. One of the examples they used was a hotel scenario.

    The scenario was this: A traveler calls the hotel informing them he is running late due to some issue and was having a real bad day. The desk clerk who took the call wanted to upgrade his room to make him feel batter about things. But the only unoccupied upgrade was being held because it need an A/C repair. The repair was scheduled for the next day. The desk clerk used the software's social media component to contact the maintenance dept to see if the A/C repair could be moved up so the room would be ready for this traveler. The point being that it is everyone's job to make sure the customer receives the best treatment.

    I'm not saying the desk supervisor was right, but I do understand what she might have been thinking.
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    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
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    #19

    May 23, 2013, 05:20 PM
    Here's the way I see it.

    The front desk supervisor and her two subordinates, screwed up the check out of a customer. Because of their screw up the customer had to be called back in to fix their mistake. Instead of dealing with that themselves, the front desk supervisor asked you to retrieve the customer. But you had your own duties to perform, duties your supervisor expected you to do before your shift ended. Your supervisors instructions to you supersede the demands of the front desk supervisor. The front desk supervisor is responsible for the people she supervises, and their actions, not yours.

    So you got written up because her subordinates made a mistake and weren't willing to make the effort to correct it. Did the employee that incorrectly checked out the customer to begin with, get written up as well? Because that's the person at fault for this, in my opinion, especially since not one of them were willing to go after the customer to correct their mistake.

    My husband works as a machinist. He was telling me that there's a supervisor that works in the welding shop that loves to come the machinist shop to see if he can find anyone to tattle on. A while back my husband was on the phone, and this supervisor came in, saw my husband on the phone, and immediately ran to the owner of the company to tell on my husband. Well, when they talked to my husbands immediate supervisor, they found out that the person my husband was on the phone with, was his supervisor, he was confirming an order. He was doing his job.

    The welding supervisor often comes in to ask the machinist to help out with their work load. If they're not busy, they will offer to help, but their work comes first. If they have work to do, they turn down the request for help. Why? Because their duties come first. It's not their job to help the welders. They're glad to do it if they aren't busy, but the jobs their supervisor tells them to do, comes first. This welding supervisor doesn't like being told no, and now he often comes into the machinist shop to try to cause trouble, because they won't put their jobs aside and do his.

    Sorry if I'm babbling, but I really feel that what this supervisor did is very unfair. But again, that's just my opinion.
    RichardCF's Avatar
    RichardCF Posts: 11, Reputation: 2
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    #20

    May 23, 2013, 05:54 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Alty View Post
    Here's the way I see it.

    The front desk supervisor and her two subordinates, screwed up the check out of a customer. Because of their screw up the customer had to be called back in to fix their mistake. Instead of dealing with that themselves, the front desk supervisor asked you to retrieve the customer. But you had your own duties to perform, duties your supervisor expected you to do before your shift ended. Your supervisors instructions to you supersede the demands of the front desk supervisor. The front desk supervisor is responsible for the people she supervises, and their actions, not yours.

    So you got written up because her subordinates made a mistake and weren't willing to make the effort to correct it. Did the employee that incorrectly checked out the customer to begin with, get written up as well? Because that's the person at fault for this, in my opinion, especially since not one of them were willing to go after the customer to correct their mistake.

    My husband works as a machinist. He was telling me that there's a supervisor that works in the welding shop that loves to come the machinist shop to see if he can find anyone to tattle on. A while back my husband was on the phone, and this supervisor came in, saw my husband on the phone, and immediately ran to the owner of the company to tell on my husband. Well, when they talked to my husbands immediate supervisor, they found out that the person my husband was on the phone with, was his supervisor, he was confirming an order. He was doing his job.

    The welding supervisor often comes in to ask the machinist to help out with their work load. If they're not busy, they will offer to help, but their work comes first. If they have work to do, they turn down the request for help. Why? Because their duties come first. It's not their job to help the welders. They're glad to do it if they aren't busy, but the jobs their supervisor tells them to do, comes first. This welding supervisor doesn't like being told no, and now he often comes into the machinist shop to try to cause trouble, because they won't put their jobs aside and do his.

    Sorry if I'm babbling, but I really feel that what this supervisor did is very unfair. But again, that's just my opinion.
    Thanks, Alty. Basically I agree. But if I had to do it over again, I would probably have done it to keep the peace. Ultimately my responsibility is to my department. And I do think this person over reacted. It really was a case of everyone could have done better. It happens.

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