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The receptionist where I work was supposed to take my photo and create my badge two months ago, but she kept telling me to followup the week after.

Eventually mid-January she tells me there will be a mass photo shoot and she will email me about it. I never get this email, and find out that she did the mass photo shoot without me.

She agreed to a make-up photo shoot for me and arranged a time, but cancelled literally the minute before due to her meeting going overtime. She promised to do some time on this Monday or Tuesday. On Monday, she even left work early.

Now it's Wednesday night and still no photo. She tells me she'll just let me know when she's ready, even when I insist on making an appointment.

I almost feel like it will never happen, because when I asked for a microphone, it was the same thing. When I found some myself and told her about it, she sent me microphones the very next morning.

There is no one else at the office who can make the badges, and I feel like talking to her is like beating a dead horse. I think talking to her manager will make her hate me and I'm worried what else she'll do in the future when I need resources from her.

Please advise what I should do. Thanks in advance.

Here's an update: Thanks for the advice everyone!

They will be installing card readers for building access soon, so I need the card before then, but no one seems to know when that will happen. Everyone has been talking about the card reader since mid-January and it still hasn't been installed yet.

Turns out she was sending emails to the wrong email address because management had my name wrong. She now knows my correct email address. Still no photo yet. I don't know if she wants to push it to the next mass photoshoot. Don't know when that will be, and knowing her, I think she wouldn't have decided when that will be yet.

To my knowledge, I don't know anyone I'm familiar with who has issues with her - she even went up to the guy who sits in front of me to resolve some of his issues on her own volition.

But for the makeup photoshoot, I know two other people were supposed to have theirs taken too. But since she bcc'd them and refered to them by first name, I can't contact them.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Neo Feb 21 at 17:12
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    (My comment asking for clarification was moved to chat. Here it is again.) Can you update your question to tell us just what you need a badge for? Do you need it to unlock doors and access resources, or is it just a formality like being issued business cards? It's hard to give you useful advice without this information. – Keith Thompson Feb 21 at 19:25
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    @user91988 I think it does matter. The best response depends on how bad the impact of not having a badge is. If it's unimportant (like, say, not getting business cards), then a brief mention to the OP's manager followed by not worrying about it is probably best. Otherwise escalation might be needed. – Keith Thompson Feb 21 at 23:20
  • Interesting, she could be grossly incompetent or just one of those people who need to be cajoled into doing everything little thing. Has anyone else received the same treatment? – ChrisFNZ Feb 22 at 20:13
137

I would escalate to your manager, They will know who to talk to and will know how important this task is. Some people suggest that she might have it out for you, which could be true, but it's not very relevant to this case, as no matter how she feels about you, she doesn't respect your time or the issue that you are asking her to help you with.

At this point I doubt you can change her mind and talking to your manager seems like a good option. If it's not very important, you can rest assured that management knows you've pushed for it and it is not by your hand this is getting delayed. If it is indeed important, she will probably act much faster when told by management.

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    Yes, if polite direct contact doesn't work immediately it's your managers problem to solve, don't get into a dispute or confrontation. – Kilisi Feb 20 at 8:37
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    @Kilisi Yes, as a general case I agree with you. But, you can certainly "ramp up" the pressure a bit, while still remaining polite. Most managers appreciate underlings that at least know that they have elbows and utilize them - now and then. I would rather say, if you cannot find a way to do it professionally with direct contact, escalate. Don't be too shy of conflict, it is usually necessary - unless you work at some super organized place where everyone shits roses... – Stian Yttervik Feb 20 at 14:05
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    @StianYttervik sure, but numerous follow ups over months already, OP needs it resolved, manager is where the authority lies to do that. The OP should not contact her manager or waste more time getting more frustrated. It's the OP's managers role. – Kilisi Feb 20 at 14:12
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    @Kilisi I agree, I agree... However - I have many a time seen people be conflict shy and always end up at the bottom of the priority task list because the squeeky wheel got the grease. If that is the case, their career suffer for it, and should be a part of a self-improvement goal... – Stian Yttervik Feb 20 at 14:16
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    @StianYttervik building self confidence is always a good goal, but I let managers do their role. I'm not shy of conflict, but pick my battles and analyse potential repercussions. This would seem petty to some and should have been taken to the manager months ago. – Kilisi Feb 20 at 14:22
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In corporate environment no one believes in verbal communication, and probably the receptionist knows that. Try to bring things in written communication, like an email and mention that i have been chasing the card for weeks now, you dont have to go in too much detail but just something that makes her acknowledge that.

Without an email it would be very hard to explain when the ball ends up in your court. I learnt it by experience and you will be amazed how quickly things get done.

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16

Per your comment:

I talked to my manager about it before, and he just told me to just wait till the next week like the receptionist said.

I believe the only thing you can do is give this person enough time to get their sh!t together, schedule your photoshoot, and commit to it. Your boss is aware you are waiting and the receptionist is aware you need a badge; the proverbial "ball" is no longer in your court. You have no further responsibility in this matter until a photoshoot is scheduled.

It sounds like your manager is not worried about it or maybe this is just consistent behavior from this person so they'd rather not open a can of worms. Quite frankly, give this person some breathing room so that they can unhate you for whatever reason looms in their head.

Go about your business and if someone important ever asks you "Where's your badge?" then your literal answer needs to be:

The receptionist has yet to give me one. I am waiting for them to commit to a photoshoot.

NO OTHER explanation is needed, ever. Use the phrase from above every single time anyone asks you about a badge.

Do not take any sort of passive-aggressive approach such as printing your face onto an index card and pinning it to your shirt; the responsibility is not yours and being badge-less is no fault of your own.

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    In some company cultures, your solution would be seen as finger-pointing and/or lack of self reliance.... – rackandboneman Feb 20 at 15:56
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    @rackandboneman In sane company cultures it would quickly be noted that OP has acted to their full extent and further pestering would cause further counter-productivity. – MonkeyZeus Feb 20 at 15:59
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    I am neither endorsing nor condemning "unsane" cultures here. I just think they are not exactly rare :) – rackandboneman Feb 20 at 21:47
  • "Quite frankly, give this person some breathing room so that they can unhate you for whatever reason looms in their head." Good, yet likely futile, advice. When someone decides to hate, there is little to no convincing them otherwise, and left to their own devices, they'll just stew in the hatred making it worse. – FreeMan Feb 21 at 13:30
  • @FreeMan I just figured the opposite of pestering is worth a try. Even if they don't stop hating OP, they should hopefully come around and simply be professional in the workplace. It might also give OP some time to reflect and think whether they've done something annoying/offensive to deserve such treatment. – MonkeyZeus Feb 21 at 13:35
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Going to your own manager (not the receptionist's manager) is the right way to handle this. If the receptionist is not fulfilling her responsibilities, it's not your job to get her to do so. Your manager may or may not speak to the receptionist's manager.

You said in a comment that you've already spoken to your manager and were told "to just wait till the next week like the receptionist said". It's not clear just when you spoke to your manager, but if it was a while ago, the manager's advice may well have been valid at the time.

It's also not clear how important it is for you to have a badge. At my current job, for example, I can't get to my desk without a badge, and not having one would be a serious problem. I've had other jobs where badges were unimportant and most of us didn't bother wearing them.

If it's been a while since you spoke to your manager, I suggest briefly mentioning that you still don't have a badge. I wouldn't discuss how not having a badge affects you unless it's having a serious impact; your manager already knows all that. And I wouldn't complain about the receptionist. For example, I might send an email saying something like "FYI, I still don't have a badge". I wouldn't even ask my manager to do something about it; that's implicit. (Sending an email creates a record of your request, which might be helpful if the situation escalates later.)

And then, unless it impacts your ability to do your job, stop worrying about it. Or, if you find the situation annoying, at least pretend to stop worrying about it.

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    pretty obvious OP spoke to her manager the first time the receptionist delayed her ... that's where "wait for the next week" comes from .. because the receptionist told OP to come back a week later - @OP just friendly remind your manager that its now almost 2 months later, not just 1 week - and the receptionist excluded you from the mass photo shoot despite promising otherwise. Slowly escalate .. keep reminding your manager - especially every time somebody pesters you about your missing badge – eagle275 Feb 21 at 9:20
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Go to her and say "You're going to think I'm a total jerk for saying that you seem to be purposefully avoiding making a badge for me."

Say it in your deepest voice that still sounds natural, with the inflection falling at the end, not rising. Don't be angry. Think of it like you are trying to get to know the person. You're open. You really want to know what's going on. She's not just a barrier. She's a person and you're making an emotional statement. It won't feel very negative to her or like an accusation, but still digs quite hard at the issue. You can always say "I said 'you seem' " if necessary.

Then say nothing else. Be silent.

This is a combination of sometimes surprisingly effective techniques from former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss at the Black Swan Group that very often yields inexplicably good results. Don't deviate from the script. Don't add "probably" or change "you seem" to "it seems" or make any other changes. To learn more search YouTube for him or read his book “Never Split the Difference.”

If it really is needed, the other words I would say are, "how am I supposed to follow company policy without a badge?" or, invoke whatever is the main reason why you should have a badge in the first place. Perhaps it's "how am I supposed to get into the building after hours without a badge?" or any other objective thing that you should be able to do but can't without a badge. It could even be "how am I supposed to feel like a real employee, fully welcomed by the company, without a badge" if you can't find anything else. (Or, give up on the badge entirely if it actually doesn't matter.)

You might throw in something like "what am I supposed to tell my boss if I still don't have a badge next week?" but that seems to verge a little bit on the passive aggressive or threatening side. If your boss has in fact told you to get a badge or anyone has indicated that not having a badge is a problem, then you can invoke it with less passive aggression by simply saying "how else am I supposed to get a badge like X asked me to?"

These also are very specific phrases whose most important part is the "what" or "how" at the beginning. Don't change those to any other interrogative. They need to be open-ended and not answerable with a single word/phrase such as "yes" or "no" or "next week."

I have personally been using these techniques lately and have found them to be powerful. Partial recent real life examples that don’t necessarily use all the techniques at once:

  • “You seem to disagree with the decision to use X instead of Y due to Z.”
  • “You sound pretty upset.”

These sound innocuous but in the context of each situation they were truly remarkable to me in their effectiveness—especially the first one. It was really amazing to me how they dealt with the situations. Both produced a very positive response that was much more desirable than many outcomes I've gotten in the past.

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    Did you have any positive experience with the technique you propose? – svavil Feb 21 at 11:14
  • @svavil yes, I have three examples, though none with all the elements. One example is 20 years old which I hit on by accident, and two are very recent that were deliberately done. The first recent one was “you seem to disagree with the decision to do X because of Y” which truly had almost magical results starting with actual thoughtfulness then: “no, I don’t disagree, it was the right decision”. The other was “you sound pretty upset” which was effective, “I’m not really upset. Just X, no hard feelings, but thank you for saying that.” – CodeSeeker Feb 21 at 15:47
  • Your other examples sound like usual "I statements", nothing really "magical". To me, the "magic" in the description lowers the credibility of your answer. You might want to incorporate these other examples into your answer. – svavil Feb 21 at 15:50
  • @svavil these are the techniques of: accusation audit, use of “you” instead of “I” or “it,” saying “seems,” “sounds,” or “looks.” The negative labeling technique I used 20 years ago and didn’t exactly follow the formula. “I know you don’t like me and I know I annoy you, but what you said to me in that conference room really hurt” and then I walked away. The person completely flipped her opinion of me and was actually genuinely positive toward me after that. I had accidentally hit on the negative labeling of “annoy you” and “you don’t like me” and I guess the use of “you.” – CodeSeeker Feb 21 at 15:53
  • @svavil it’s puzzling, the two examples I gave have no “I” in then at all. How are they “I” messages? Or were you thinking of some other content I wrote? – CodeSeeker Feb 21 at 15:55
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Four possibilities I can imagine:

  1. She's completely overworked and literally has no time for it. Or it's so low on her priorities list that more important tasks keep popping up. If this is the case I'd try to get my manager to give her a little nudge ("Hey Lisa, I've noticed Bob still has no badge, could you please take 15 minutes today and get him one?").

  2. You rubbed her the wrong way at some point and she's purposely delaying it to give you a hard time. I'd go the manager route here as well--she'll realize it paints her in a bad light if she still hasn't gotten you your badge, which normally trumps being an ass to someone else. Also, after you have everything you need, try to get things right. Having enemies at the workplace only brings disadvantages.

  3. Something is preventing her from giving you a badge. Maybe she forgot to order replacements and doesn't want to admit it. But after two months, that's a stretch.

  4. She's being instructed to delay it, for whatever reason. I doubt that's the case, but it is a possibility. Again, manager. He'll have to tell you at some point.

In any case, don't be passive-aggressive or even overtly aggressive towards her. Never, EVER, do the manager-CC trick. Everyone involved will hate you for it.

Maybe try another appointment. Send her a polite email with a proposed date and time and the remark that you're happy with her choosing another time if your date doesn't work for her. Use the Outlook appointment function, so she has to actively approve/decline/suggest new date.

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What exactly do you need the badge for? If it's just for identification then just drop the subject. It's clear that either the receptionist doesn't want you to have a badge, or she's been instructed by management to not let you have a badge (more on this later), and you're not getting a badge. You're an employee of the company, you go in, do your job, get paid, that's it.

If you need the badge for building access, then you might want to raise this with your manager, because lack of a badge is preventing you from doing your work. Even if you can still do your work because other people let you in the building or whatever, in theory there might come a day when you can't get through the door and do your work, so this is a work impediment. Explain it in those terms to your manager and they'll get it looked at for you. If they don't, then, if your work has a strict attendance policy, tell your boss that you will not be held responsible for being late for work due to being locked out at the door, as the company has made it prohibitively difficult to prevent such an occurrence.

One thing you should make it your business to make yourself aware of is who is the driving force behind you not getting your badge. One way to do this would be to discuss the issue with your manager, let him know that you are concerned that management has a hand in you not getting your badge and it makes you afraid for your job. This is a totally reasonable concern; an employee not having their badge after 2 months is pretty weird. See what he says and listen to his answer, but take anything he says with a heaping helping of salt; your manager will never actually tell you straight up "management hates you, find a new job immediately". Your manager will say something like "don't worry about it, I'll handle it". To which you go back to your desk and start looking for another job immediately (yes, you do this no matter what). Then you continue looking for another job until you get your badge. The reason for this is because you have no proof that management isn't looking to fire you, and your boss's words are worth nothing in this situation; he has a vested interest in pulling the wool over your eyes with respect to you potentially being fired, so your morale will be kept up and you will continue to work hard. So you look for a new job just in case your boss is lying to you, until such time as you get your badge, which is the proof that your boss was not lying and you can be assured your job is safe.

In short:

  1. If you need the badge for building access, emphasize to your boss that this is an impediment to you arriving to work on time and make sure he is aware and accepts(!) that you will be late from time to time due to not having building access.

  2. Inform your boss that this delay in you getting your badge signals a problem in your job and you are afraid for your job security.

  3. Start looking for a new job. Do not stop looking until you have your badge. This is not because "I don't have my badge, this company sucks bye"; this is because "Something smells fishy here, and getting another job offer ASAP is an insurance plan that, if something actually is fishy, then I'm not up a creek".

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    Voicing an unsubstantial fear of being actively barred from having a badge might make the op look like a conspiracy fan. It also very negatively impacts the quality of life... (it sounds like a very unlikely red flag). Receptionists can be just stressed or disorganized, that's a much more likely scenario. – eckes Feb 20 at 20:19
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    A receptionist being swamped for "two months" is pretty unlikely. They've had plenty of time by now to make a badge. – cutrightjm Feb 21 at 2:26
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    @cutrightjm It actually sounds very likely if they have to do all these random office management tasks in addition to normal receptionist duties. – BSMP Feb 21 at 21:51
  • @eckes this isn't an "unsubstantial" fear, in the circumstances. Two months is a long time, and it could be as innocent as "we normally wait for someone to complete a probationary period before cutting them a key", but ... – Will Crawford Feb 22 at 2:53
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    I fail to see how not being able to get your badge should evolve into a conspiracy theory that 'management is out to get you/fire you'. The second part of your answer does not make sense at all. – Mark Rotteveel Feb 22 at 16:41
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Send an email to your manager about the security risk this poses, and CC the receptionist and the receptionist's manager.

Write an email to your manager explaining the current situation, including only the facts, and not any speculation regarding things like motives. Explain any business problems that lacking a proper badge is causing, along with the fact that it's causing a potential security risk through social engineering - at the moment, it's entirely possible for an attacker to gain access to the building and explain the lack of proper identification as "the receptionist hasn't scheduled me for a photoshoot yet". If you're in a situation where photographic employee IDs are required, then they need to be issued to everybody if they're to function as a security measure.

I would also send this as a CC to the receptionist as well as the receptionist's manager, since they're both involved in this - your manager will likely need to talk to her manager to get this sorted, so you send it to him directly so that it won't need to be forwarded to him.

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    I strongly advise against mailing several managers at once, especially when you have talked to your manager before and he told you to keep it low. This would look like you do not trust the judgement of your superior. – ooxi Feb 20 at 16:16
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    Don't use the passive aggressive cc style of communication unless it's a serious problem (and even then direct communication is much better) – eckes Feb 20 at 20:15

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