Ask Abbie: Adjusting to new supervisor at work has benefits

Published 10:38 am Saturday, September 29, 2012

By Abbie Long

Question: I am so close to quitting my job I don’t know what to do.

I’ve been working as an accountant at the same company for almost five years. I am responsible for generating many different reports.

I recently got a new supervisor; all of my reports go to him. I just worked hours upon hours on a report, gave it to him, and he looked at it for about two minutes.

I can’t believe I am wasting so much time. It’s like he doesn’t value my work. What should I do?


Answer: It’s vacation time and you have chosen a mountain retreat as your travel destination.

Do you take the scenic route for a more relaxed journey and to observe the details nature has to offer? Or, do you go by the highway for time efficiency and disregard to scenic intricacies?

With either choice, you will arrive at your cozy cabin nestled in the woods — neither route being right or wrong. Your choice is simply a result of your style.

Walk around a typical office environment. Do all workspaces exhibit the same degree of disarray? Does everyone organize, file and keep records in the exact same manner?

Yes, only if the office is run by robots rather than by human beings with unique characteristics, backgrounds and personal preferences. The appearance of your desk, and that of others, is simply a result of individual style.

To better understand the problems with your specific workplace situation, start by applying your analytical proficiency toward evaluating your work style and the work style of your supervisor.

For example, you may find yourself more detail-oriented and he more big picture focused. One critical factor to the success of your evaluation is to never assign a value to a person’s way of doing things.

Assigning values automatically denotes one way as better than the other unless each is assigned the exact same value, an almost seemingly impossible task due to personal ethics and preferences.

Just because someone works differently than you does not mean their approach is worse than yours, just different. Do you really want to work in an office full of and run by a bunch of “mini-yous?” Would you have all of the expertise needed to do every single job required? Would you drive yourself crazy?

Once you understand that a major part of the problem you are having with your supervisor could be attributed to a difference in working styles, you must try to find a way to mix and match your differences together.

Schedule a meeting with your supervisor to determine if he feels there is any redundant data in your reports. You may find you are spending too much energy on unnecessary details.

Ask him to identify his hot items — those most important for his purposes. This new approach will help both of you become more time efficient — you with less numbers to crunch and he with reports containing less extraneous material to slow his interpretation time.

In addition, be sure to mention the more time he helps you free up on current reports is more time you will have to devote to overall department missions and objectives.

In a well-organized work environment, employees with similar styles are selectively grouped into teams for maximum efficiency and productivity. You, however, have been placed in a situation of conflicting work methods, but also in one with immense opportunity to diversify and enhance the portfolio of your career training and experience.

As a result of developing the flexibility necessary to work under and within various styles of management, you increase the value of the personal assets you need to advance your own goals and ambitions.

Abbie Long is a Franklin native and advice columnist for The Tidewater News. Submit your questions to