I want to tell my boss I don't want to attend weekly team meetings

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Pinkos

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I work in a dysfunctional department. The exec and head of the department I work for has pretty much abdicated his responsibility and doesn't manage in anyway. It's a small department and everyone is pretty self-sufficient because we've had to be. But there is no real "team" feeling. No leadership. No sense of cohesion. We used to have monthly team meetings but now since everyone is working from home, he changed it to weekly. Argh!

These meetings are excruciating for me because I feel sidelined and I'm not privy to what the others are working on. I'm in a support role. I have specific tasks and responsibilities and they're routine in nature and not really big enough for discussion at these meetings. There's no meeting agenda. So there's a lot of time spent in chitchat (kids, quarantine problems etc), and then there's work stuff. Now 90% of the time I am not involved in any of the work related matters and I don't even have the full context. I'm not included in any communication outside of the meeting (unless it pertains to my area of responsibility). I could ask questions to get them to give more background (which I used to do but stopped) so I can understand but to what end? It would just prolong the meetings tediously, and it doesn't mean I'll be more involved moving forward. They don't choose to involve me on what they're working on. By the way I have asked to be included more, asked for more work and they simply don't care to make the effort. He finally told me I should try to glean ways to get more work out of these meetings. Which really pissed me off because i felt like he was basically telling me I need to delegate work to MYSELF. He's also said to me that none of them are good at managing/delegating. So from my perspective, he's not interested in changing the dynamic on my behalf. I should add that my relationship with this boss is not good. It's tense and avoidant. He has certain habits that deliberately violate physical boundaries and he's needy and mean. I have already set boundaries in terms of not entertaining his neediness outside of work related interactions. He did not like that at all. So I can't help but feel like he's "punishing" me in many ways by actively isolating me from the team. I could go into detail but I don't want to write a book. I have used grey rock and medium chill to positive effect in dealing with him but of course he doesn't like it. 

I've been grey rocking, keeping my head down, and doing my work and trying to detach. I know I should've left a long time ago. And I feel ashamed for not doing so. And I think that shame has made me just avoid asking for or expecting certain things. Like the bare minimum of respect and consideration. Because I rationalize that it's my fault for putting up with it for as long as I have and that by being there I'm agreeing to be treated poorly.

Since these meetings are happening more frequently I find myself feeling more irritated than usual. It's triggering all kinds of feelings of being ignored, feelings of worthlessness etc. It feels very much like a narcissistic thing to expect me (there's also another admin who just listens) to just sit there and listen for an hour when nothing that's discussed pertains to my work in anyway. Under the guise of "team meeting" where we're supposedly catching up on the weeks' happenings etc. It really just feels like they are catching up and actively ignoring me. I can't help but feel that way. I sometimes feel like I'm being taunted. It feels very blatantly disrespectful.

At the end of the last Zoom meeting where I basically didn't say anything for the entire meeting until the very end and chose not to be on video....when I was saying 'bye', one of them said my name as if to be like 'oh there you are'. As if I'm somehow being passive aggressive. And honestly sometimes I doubt myself and think 'well maybe I should make more of an effort to engage.' But I find the whole thing repulsive. I feel set up in a no win situation.

So I want to tell him that I want to opt out? Am I way off base here? Am I just escalating? Am I just further alienating myself?

(I think mostly what prompted me to post this on here is that I wanted some support in dealing with this. Because it's been taxing emotionally, and I want to feel like I'm not asking for too much here. I realize that asking for this may be viewed as confrontational by him and he may retaliate. He can be petty and narcissistic. But I am already alienated from the team and excluded so what do I stand to lose?)
« Last Edit: July 04, 2020, 02:30:00 PM by Pinkos »

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Associate of Daniel

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Re: I want to tell my boss I don't want to attend weekly team meetings
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2020, 08:15:00 PM »
Do you think it would work against you if you continued to attend the Zoom meetings muted and with no camera?

Would it work against you if you asked for permission to not attend?

Would it work against you if you didn't attend?

Which would have the worst consequences?

If you can manage to attend and let the frustrations of doing so just slide off your shoulders, then I'd suggest you continue to attend.

Personally, I love the online meetings.  I often mute myself and turn off the camera.  I then get on with my work while keeping an ear on the talk.  I get so much done!

AOD

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clara

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Re: I want to tell my boss I don't want to attend weekly team meetings
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2020, 01:00:32 PM »
This is a tricky one because while you may not be getting anything out of the meetings and feel they're a waste of time, the others can view It as something necessary and vital and your not wanting to participate can be viewed negatively on that basis alone.  It has less to do with work and more to do as a social dynamic, and some managers will exploit this.  Participation is a type of test to them and unless you're in a more powerful position to choose your own course without negative repercussions, you have to play along.  It's only when they say you don't need to be there when you really don't need to be there, otherwise yeah, you do.  And yep, it eats into your work time and can leave you frustrated and irritated, but you have to do what's best for you in terms of hanging onto your job, if that's what you want.  Personally, I only felt comfortable making demands on my job when I knew I was in a position to do so.  Reading the room for when that happens can be hard because you really have to know your boss and how they'll react.  If you boss hasn't really listened to you in the past, he's not going to start doing it now.  Sometimes a pattern gets set and it's really hard to break until something changes in the work environment (like a new boss or manager or administrator).  You have to decide whether or not the risk of jeopardizing your job is worth it. 

In the meantime, I'd do as AOD said and just detach yourself from the emotions you feel about the meetings and deal with it on face value only.  It is what it is.  When I worked, I had to attend a lot of useless meetings, sometimes involving discussions I didn't even know what they were talking about, but I'd sit there, smile, act attentive, take notes etc. and then leave and also leave it behind.  It "cost" me a lot less than if I'd have told my manager no, I don't feel these are useful.   Those stupid meetings weren't a hill I was going to die on.

And when it comes to expanding your work experience, if you're not being given tasks directly then you have to keep an eye out for the openings.  Sometimes a casual comment from a boss or even a co-worker can lead you into something new.  This is where keeping your head down doesn't work to your advantage.  You have to be alert to subtle undercurrents.  For example, you hear some new project is on the horizon, and tell your boss you'd be interested in being involved with it.  But you have to show engagement with the work environment.  Some people aren't at all interested in changing anything about their jobs, and that's okay, but if you're actively interested in doing something new you often have to pursue it.  But if you really feel you no longer want to work there and are actively pursuing something else (or will be) then you have to decide how much effort you're willing to put into making these changes.  If not, then continuing doing the gray rock and medium chill might be best for your mental health!


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Blueberry Pancakes

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Re: I want to tell my boss I don't want to attend weekly team meetings
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2020, 04:59:52 PM »
I am always amazed how many managers do not think it is part of their job to actually lead, facilitate  productivity, communicate or even attempt to positively influence anything. They take the title, then let the rest go on autopilot and blame the staff when things go awry. In my opinion asking to not be in the meetings or doing anything that could be taken as a negative reflection does not tend to make things better.             
Please do not blame yourself for "putting up with" this dysfunction. We all need our jobs. I sadly think it is not uncommon and not a reflection on you. I sometimes think we look for validation in workplaces that are simply not equipped to provide it. I also wonder if being in a support role as you describe might be triggering to having past feelings of being marginalized? I work in a similar role as you describe, and have had similar feelings, similar boss, similar zoom meetings. I agree with what is posted here to not let these meetings be a hill you are going to die on. Take this time to make inventory of your skill set, engage where you can even if it is to say "great meeting.. or I agree", etc. Staying engaged, no matter how minimal you feel it is allows you to keep an ear open to other opportunities. If one comes up, follow through on it. Above all, believe in your own skills and talents. Know that you are enough and are worthy just as you are. 

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Pinkos

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Re: I want to tell my boss I don't want to attend weekly team meetings
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2020, 11:15:12 PM »
Thank you all for your thoughtful replies! And for bringing me back down to earth. You're right of course. I need to find a way to just deal. *sigh*

There's a lot of bad history for me at this job in terms of them trying to take advantage of me with a bait and switch a couple months after I was hired. It was a big clue of what kind of work environment I was dealing with and I should've hoofed it out of there right after that.

I've made efforts since that incident to put it behind me, ingratiate myself, to be more engaging and take more of an initiative, and it felt like they were just dangling things in front of me with no intention of actually giving me a chance to succeed. I felt like I was just being toyed with. I know I have a good work ethic, I still take initiative and work independently most of the time with little supervision. And I agree keeping my head down only intensifies my sense of isolation. But there's definitely a social hierarchy/a clique and I feel put in a position to just keep chasing for scraps and to pander to egos. Any effort on my part to have a more significant role just felt like I was throwing good energy after bad. So I've been dejected. And I know that ultimately I don't want to keep doing this kind of work and that's part of why I'm stuck at this job. I'm too drained and overwhelmed from the day to day to pivot, and I have no clue what next! It's depressing to even look for other jobs in this type of role.

I think the frequency of these meetings along with this difficult quarantine period has just brought a lot of stuff that I may have been stuffing down to the surface. I'm unhappy. I feel stuck. I feel angry about it all. I feel nothing but dread prior to the meetings and then I have to "come down" for the rest of the day afterwards.  :aaauuugh:

I think I really just need a break of several months. But I'm scared to take that leap with no plan.

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Pinkos

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Re: I want to tell my boss I don't want to attend weekly team meetings
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2020, 11:37:25 PM »
I am always amazed how many managers do not think it is part of their job to actually lead, facilitate  productivity, communicate or even attempt to positively influence anything. They take the title, then let the rest go on autopilot and blame the staff when things go awry. In my opinion asking to not be in the meetings or doing anything that could be taken as a negative reflection does not tend to make things better.             
Please do not blame yourself for "putting up with" this dysfunction. We all need our jobs. I sadly think it is not uncommon and not a reflection on you. I sometimes think we look for validation in workplaces that are simply not equipped to provide it. I also wonder if being in a support role as you describe might be triggering to having past feelings of being marginalized? I work in a similar role as you describe, and have had similar feelings, similar boss, similar zoom meetings. I agree with what is posted here to not let these meetings be a hill you are going to die on. Take this time to make inventory of your skill set, engage where you can even if it is to say "great meeting.. or I agree", etc. Staying engaged, no matter how minimal you feel it is allows you to keep an ear open to other opportunities. If one comes up, follow through on it. Above all, believe in your own skills and talents. Know that you are enough and are worthy just as you are.

Agree with your whole comment, and I appreciate the kindness. As to the bolded, 100%. I feel resentful of this and I'm sure my grey rock has been received very negatively and with resentment. I guess it could read like I'm turning up my nose or being disdainful. I am subjected to a lot of passive aggressive behavior - almost like there's a bet on how much bs can Pinkos put up with. I am shown very little grace and consideration. Of course I continue to be professional and polite but nothing more. I just feel like I'm a human being and I deserve dignity and respect just like anyone else. And I resent being put in a position where it's clear to me that he doesn't give a flying fig and yet I'm expected to pander on a regular basis. On some level I feel like he feels inadequate and insecure about his leadership skills and my not massaging his ego feels like criticism. And I know I should just play the game but I'm just tired. Tired of playing the game when I know there's nothing in it for me. I'm doing all I can to keep the paycheck but I really can't do anymore than that at this point.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2020, 12:06:32 AM by Pinkos »

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Coyote23

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Re: I want to tell my boss I don't want to attend weekly team meetings
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2020, 01:43:54 PM »
Just came here to say, youíre a clear communicator and you obviously know whatís going on in your workplace. All support positions arenít created equal, and I think you would be an asset to any new place you go. I believe you can find a job that makes you happy and celebrates your worth and potential.

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Angelacl

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Re: I want to tell my boss I don't want to attend weekly team meetings
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2020, 10:16:36 AM »
Hey, just wanted you to know that it is great that you know your co-workers and know your priorities and fight for your place!

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mayaberry

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Re: I want to tell my boss I don't want to attend weekly team meetings
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2020, 08:39:06 PM »
I read this post and could not believe the similarities in our situation. I swear I could have written that myself! My service manager struggles with people skills and any hint of discussion or a question about why we might do certain things, is seen as outrageous. For want of a better word he acts like a dictator. He has gathered a crew of people around him who idolise him and don't question him. This has resulted in me being pushed further out of the loop over the years and just becoming a "bum on a seat" really, recognised as conscientiousness and willing to put the work in so I can be called upon to cover extra shifts etc but there's no development. I've sat in meetings for well over a year now where I have had no need to contribute anything at all and watched as my lead roles have been chopped up and delegated to other newer members of the team to make them "feel included". It's soul destroying. I become anxious before every meeting and hate going into work. This manager is also my supervisor and we are supposed to receive supervision monthly to check on our client work, see how we are coping and also for me to report on my own supervisees. I have had two supervisions this year. He barely acknowledge my existence between March and August whilst we all worked frontline during lockdown and only held a brief supervision after I complained to our team leader about it.
I still haven't worked out a way of dealing with the meetings other than just gritting my teeth and trying to detach during the meeting. Thankfully, we have fewer meetings than usual at the moment because he doesn't want to hear people "moaning" about covid and how it's impacting on them etc.
However, what has got me through the last year and a bit is being able to study. I realised that although I enjoyed the work, I could not stay there with no hope of progression or any recognition of my skills. I began studying again. I found a bursary and I'm studying part time whilst working full time. The lack of any real effort being required in my role because they gave me such a back seat has left down time during the day where I can study sometimes. It's taken up a lot of my free time and I have to really thank my husband for taking the slack but I cannot describe what it's done for my mental health. Being in that role with those managers had destroyed my self esteem. When I started studying I realised that I did have skills and I had huge amounts of knowledge that they were never going to let me use. It's given me a whole new outlook and will hopefully open up avenues for me to leave in the future. Even if it doesn't, it's certainly helped me hugely on a personal level.
I know studying maybe isn't an option for everyone but I would really encourage you to find or do something that makes you feel good again and gives you the fulfilment that your work role really won't.