So I was tasked with organizing and handling a large capacity of files for the Exec. Director. Last week I was told that I need to obtain the rest of the 5 boxes of files located in the basement. I put in a work order to have maintenance bring the boxes up to my room. He never did.

As a matter of fact, my supervisor was tasked with finding an old file so he put in a work order for the same boxes, they arrived.

I did in fact call the maintenance guy prior to knowing this fact to follow-up on the boxes (that's how I found out where and why they were in there).

Of course chain of commands. Now, the Exec. Dir. approached me early today asking for those boxes to which I told her what occurred and she was infuriated that the boxes were not being handled in my room. I couldn't avoid mentioning what actually happened.

My question is, did I do the right thing by telling her the truth, or is there a bro-code or code of ethics to avoid being in trouble and at the same time not tattle-tale?

  • I am slightly confused. You and your boss apparently requested the same set of boxes. Maintenance delivered the boxes to your boss since, presumably, they don't have the ability to deliver physical boxes to two different locations. Presumably now that your boss has the boxes you also have access to them and can do whatever you were asked to do. Presumably, you have at least mentioned to your boss that he has the boxes you're waiting on and have discussed how best to share them. If so, why does the director care which room the boxes are in? – Justin Cave Feb 4 at 21:22
  • The issue was that the overall project was mine. The boxes needed to immediately be in my room, and I was supposed to be the keeper of the boxes/files. The maintenance guy should have adhered to my supervisor's order without my notice. When the executive director approached me requesting a file from those boxes which I did not have, I didn't know what to tell her, I didn't know if I had to make an excuse, lie or tell the truth. – AndrewManor Feb 4 at 21:41

It's not high school.

Just state the facts making no judgements and absolutely no emotional aspect.

Something like

I requested that the maintenance department deliver the boxes to my room. They haven't been delivered yet. I have followed up with them and am waiting to hear back.

In a work environment, never ever "don't tell on" someone, it would be whacky. Just state facts. It's not high school. Indeed it's not kindergarten.

  • 1
    +1 for this not being school anymore. We have an actual job to do. If someone or something else is preventing us from doing that job, management needs to know. It's their job to deal with the issues that prevent us from doing our job. Now that the Exec Director knows what the holdup is, maybe they can do something about it. – Seth R Feb 4 at 21:17
  • "It's not high school." I'm going to start using that along with HR IS NOT YOUR FRIEND – Old_Lamplighter Feb 4 at 21:28
  • Yeah, that's true. I just wasn't sure if there was some social ethics behind "it's their fault I'm not getting ahead". Like one similar to "You shouldn't keep complaining about the same employee about the same issue over and over again to HR because that's how you get fired" Something in that realm of facts I wasn't aware of. – AndrewManor Feb 4 at 21:46
  • @AndrewManor, that's why you only stick to the facts you know. Fact: You requested the files to be delivered and they haven't been yet. You don't know why or if anyone even is at fault (maybe maintenance has been too busy fixing the leak in the basement and just hasn't had time). You're not complaining, you're just stating what you know to be true. – Seth R Feb 4 at 21:52
  • I keep that in mind, at least I can rest assure that I hadn't fallen out of the bounds or scope. – AndrewManor Feb 4 at 21:55

Stating the facts isn't snitching. What else would you do? Make up a lie?

I requested that the maintenance department deliver the boxes to my room. They haven't been delivered yet. I have followed up with them and am waiting to hear back.

  • perfect suggested language there. – Fattie Feb 4 at 19:42
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    f' it, your one is so much better I had to, uh, modify my one to be more like your one – Fattie Feb 4 at 19:43

"It's not your problem." You were told to get the files. Apparently, in order to "get those files," some third-party had to do it. You did your best.

Look: "take it from someone who has been (koff, koff ...) 'on the topmost floor, and then some.'" Until you've actually been "upstairs," you really have no idea. ("It's an acquired taste," I assure you.) Therefore, please do not try to "project yourself" into realms of greater concern that you've never yet dreamed of ... and, might never want.

Do your job as best you can, and trust that other people really do understand. Sometimes, you're asked to do things and you just can't do them. 🤷‍♂️ It's okay. Go home at night with a clear head and a clear conscience, having done your day's work as best you can. Tomorrow is another day.

  • I appreciate it! I'll keep it in my notes and share this information with others. – AndrewManor Feb 4 at 21:47

My question is, did I do the right thing by telling her the truth, or is there a bro-code or code of ethics to avoid being in trouble and at the same time not tattle-tale?

I don't really understand your question, per say. I understand that you ordered some boxes from the basement and the person you ordered it from, never gave it to you.

It could be as simple as since you never ordered boxes from this person that he simply thought you had no authorization to request boxes and simply held the order until you either speak to him or he hears from it from his manager. It could also be as simple as he never getting the request and it's lost somewhere.

The simplest fix is to go talk to him and ask what is up. If he is outright refusing to give you the boxes, then bring it up with your manager. Most likely you never requested boxes before and since you're not a supervisor, manager, or exec, he simply cannot verify if you need the boxes or not.

With that said a simple phone call...

You: "Hello, this is X, I just ordered 5 boxes from the basement and put in a request form. Can you update me on the status?"

Person Who Moves Boxes: "Yes, I got your order. I do not have an authority to hand you the boxes and require a supervisor permission before I can sign you off. Sorry it's company policy."

You: "Okay. Let me go talk to my supervisor."

Very simple. Instead you chose to stay silent about the issue and now your boss wants to know what is going on. At this point all you can say is you put in a request for the boxes and have not heard back. Depending on your relationship with your boss, he may become annoyed at the fact you didn't follow up until he asked especially given you made the request several days ago.

It's not "tattle-tale" and instead it makes you look incompetent that you didn't follow up on something the boss is asking for. If I saw my supervisor getting a box he requested on the same day, I would walk over and ask him/her on how he's able to get the boxes and you never heard about yours.

  • No, they gave it to my supervisor because he was my supervisor. It was a miscommunication within the Chain-of-Commands. – AndrewManor Feb 4 at 21:54

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