Taking a Position

The director and manager of school construction sat down in my office.  They had made it clear that they needed to see me NOW. 

“What’s up?”

“Well, you hired a supervisor. For the construction department.” 

“An accounting supervisor. Yes.”

“We should have been consulted. After all, she works in our department.”

“Yes, she’s physically located there, but she reports to me.”

They looked at each other. Clearly angry.

“That position reports to us.”

No doubt I had messed this up pretty badly.  I needed to have a good working relationship with these guys.  We talked a while.  The previous supervisor had reported to them they insisted. 

All I knew was that when I was hired, the supervisor position was vacant (and in my mind, the position title was Supervisor of Construction Accounting). So I hired a replacement, a CPA, who reported to me.

The rest of the conversation was tense and awkward. I had to let them know that I wasn’t going to rescind the job offer. They departed, still visibly upset.

This next story begins the day after payday.  A very concerned attractive young woman comes to the payroll department. 

“I didn’t get a pay check” she says. 

“Who are you?”

She gives her name. “Um, nothing in the system. Social Security number?”

Still nothing. “What’s your position?”

“Well, I am not quite sure of the title, actually.”

“What department do you work for? 

“Well, I am not quite sure of that either.  Human Resources, I think.”

The Human Resources director is contacted.  Only then does the full story emerge. “Oh her!  Well Bob hired her at a cocktail party and tried to put her in my department. I told him you hired her, she comes out of your budget.”

So now I contact Bob, my boss.  I pepper him with questions. What’s the job description, job title, pay grade, work year?  Who does she report to?  What’s the source of funds? What was her start date? Bob is clearly annoyed. “Let’s just call her a Human Resources supervisor. You work out the details.”



“How’s your new job?” an older and wiser colleague asked shortly thereafter at a conference we were both attending.  “Well, I need to figure out why the district is so broke.” He wagged a finger at me and, very knowingly, said two words “position control”.  I really should have known.

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