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The smell of burning bridges


I got into a bit of a . . . discussion . . . with my superior via email today. She missed her 6th deadline, of course. I called her and asked her to send the deliverable immediately, because the partner had asked me to take it from her and finish it myself. She said she would, and hung up in a huff.

When hours went by with no further response, I emailed her and copied the client and the partner, and asked her to send it to me so that I could finish it. I was trying to shame her into finishing it, because I knew she would not do it otherwise.

Shaming worked. She finally sent half of it. I promptly shamed her some more by asking her (copying the client and the partner) to send the rest. I didn’t want to remove any pressure from her, because I knew she would slack off and not complete the work.

She replied that she would complete it, and she told me to stop emailing everyone about it. I replied, copying the partner only, saying that I was being asked by the partner to follow up in case she couldn’t get the job done. I could have said it more bluntly, that the partner had no faith in her, but they had faith in me, so they were asking me to finish it. I chose to say it slightly more circumspectly.

She was infuriated anyway. She ordered me to cease and desist, and she reminded me that I work for her, not the partner.

“That can be corrected,” I thought to myself, but I stopped emailing them. Instead, I called the client and the partner and gave them a verbal update, just as she sent the remaining deliverable out. The client was pleased, relatively. They have always liked me. I have avoided them because I don’t particularly like them. But I’m happy to do what it takes to make a happy customer. I apologized for my superior’s poor performance, and asked the client to please copy me on any questions or requests they made of my superior, so that I could ensure that she (or I) answered them. That made them happy.

Unfortunately the partner has already blacklisted us, due to my superior’s poor performance. We are required to appear on the carpet for a dressing-down before we may be permitted to do more work. So that bridge may already be burned, as there is no guarantee that the partner will decide to renew our credentials, especially if my superior is still in charge. And she will remain in charge.

I may have burned my bridge with my superior also, by resorting to public shaming to get her to do her job.

Everything happens for the best, I think. Onward and upward.


  1. 2012-09-21T07:52:24-04:00 07:52

    What’s her reason for not doing the work? Not that the reason is a justifiable excuse, but I’m curious.


    • 2012-09-21T08:04:01-04:00 08:04

      A series of personal and technological emergencies, none of which precluded her getting another 32 hours of work done within the space of a month. She worked on other projects but not this one. It was an inability to see priorities and to work effectively, I think, sort of an “efficiency anorexia” if that analogy makes sense.


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