"stepping on toes" or helping?
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Thread: "stepping on toes" or helping?

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    Community Host wlillie's Avatar
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    Default "stepping on toes" or helping?

    At work (and at home!), I've run into a few situtations that raise my eyebrows and most of them have to do with who's responsible for completing a job.

    Do you think it's stepping on someone's toes if they seem overwhelmed with a task to offer to help or to help without asking for permission first? Is that phrase used more as an excuse for not helping or is that a valid answer?

    This mainly applies to routine things that are hard to mess up and no one would be upset if they had to fix a small error in the way it's done. Like folding laundry or restocking a snack bar or throwing the recyclables (this one is in both places!!!) in the appropriate container?

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    Community Host wlillie's Avatar
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    This is going to sound sexist, but I've only heard men use that reasoning for not doing something they can see needs to be done. I don't mind asking people to help when I need it, but I see people struggle all the time and I try to help where I can to make sure things run the way they should. I've been told in the past and just today that I shouldn't do something because the other person may get upset with me....but it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to tote cardboard boxes to the recycle bin outside so I can't imagine someone being upset about it or for me doing any of the other tasks I would take on without being asked.

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    I have yet to hear someone complain about their spouse because they help out too much at home! I think offering is nice--the person can still turn down the offer. But I think just going ahead and doing it is nice too (especially if it's mundane stuff).

    At work, I guess my hesitation would be dependent on the personality of the person you try to help. I think most people are appreciative....and just a small percentage would see it as you trying to "take over" or "look better than them". I guess that is why at work I'd be more likely to ask first whereas at home I'd just step up and help out.

    I do think many women are more likely to step up and help out and therefore expect others to do the same.
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    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    I think that helping or offering to help is usually well received. I would be super happy if DH did some mundane task like folding laundry without even asking if I needed help....just did it....imagine! *eyes go glossy* I would say it's usually only a problem if you start doing it in a way that implies they don't do it right (i.e., if I folded laundry and then DH went through and refolded it, as if to imply that I didn't fold it correctly the first time.) I am guilty of doing this to DH, particularly in regards to cleaning the kitchen. I can't help it. He doesn't do it right!
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    Posting Addict daniellevmt's Avatar
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    At home, I'd always view it as helpful! Absolutely!

    At work...well, I guess it depends on specific jobs, and whether or not you are part of a team. I would never view it as "stepping on toes" if someone asked to help me with something because they see that I'm overwhelmed. We are supposed to work as a team, however, so if any of the staff used the "stepping on toes" excuse for our daily duties, I'd remind them that we work as a team. And when I hire a new team member, I encourage them to jump right in. I find that the first week or two, many new employees are slow to help, simply because they don't want to be viewed as "stepping on toes". And I can understand that, but I try to discourage it. I remember when I first started my current job and there were a couple of techs who were very, very territorial. I was slow to contribute because I didn't want to piss anyone off. So in some cases, I think it's a legitimate concern.

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    Posting Addict fuchsiasky's Avatar
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    At home help without asking is mostly always welcome. I say mostly because if one of us has a specific plan for something (like dinner) and the other just jumps in sometimes it is stepping on toes. But any other time help is more than welcome.

    At work we tend to ask before jumping in. We all have our own areas and responsibilities so there is alway 1-2 people who know what needs to be done on any given project. But none of us are shy about asking for or offering help. It is one of the things that our management really loves to see and encourages. We have a good team with an "we're all in this together" attitude so when things are really busy for one person we all try to chip in and help them out.
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    Posting Addict fudd8963's Avatar
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    It's almost a non issue at our house. DH and I don't have "chores" that I do and "chores" that he does. We both do it all. So if there are dishes that need to be done, whoever gets a chance does them first. If the recycbles need to be taken out, or the laundry done, etc... once again it's whoever gets the chance to do it first does it. I am lucky in that my DH is AWESOME and doesn't mind doing laundry, folding clothes, etc... But then he is also lucky that I will mow the lawn, rake the leaves, etc...

    At work, I'm in charge of my programs, so if somebody just starts doing work without tellig me, I would be ticked. Not that they were helping, but that I may have already assigned that task to someone else and then two people are doing the same task and wasting money and time.
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    Posting Addict ClairesMommy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alissa_Sal View Post
    I think that helping or offering to help is usually well received. I would be super happy if DH did some mundane task like folding laundry without even asking if I needed help....just did it....imagine! *eyes go glossy* I would say it's usually only a problem if you start doing it in a way that implies they don't do it right (i.e., if I folded laundry and then DH went through and refolded it, as if to imply that I didn't fold it correctly the first time.) I am guilty of doing this to DH, particularly in regards to cleaning the kitchen. I can't help it. He doesn't do it right!
    Ditto, except in the reverse. DH will go around behind me with a damp cloth to clean off the film he says gets left behind from disinfecting wipes, or will wipe the chrome to get the streaks or water spots off after I've cleaned it. He's the same with hand-washed dishes, like leaving a water spot is some kind of criminal offense.

    I have a problem with one co-worker stepping on my toes. She often does work for my boss behind my back (which is partly my boss's fault) and keeps me totally out of the loop, leaving me to look like an a$$ to her boss who is the head honcho of the whole dept.

    Oh, and Alissa.....Congrats!
    Last edited by Claire'sMommy; 05-10-2011 at 11:16 AM.
    Lisa


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    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Thanks!

    ETA: DH's problem is that he thinks that "washing the dishes" = "cleaning the kitchen". Whereas I think cleaning the kitchen means washing the dishes, wiping down all of the counter tops and surfaces, taking out the trash if it needs it, sweeping the floor, et cetera. So after DH "cleans the kitchen" I always feel like I have to go in there and finish it up. I can't just leave food splatters stuck to the counters!
    Last edited by Alissa_Sal; 05-10-2011 at 01:49 PM.
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    Posting Addict daniellevmt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alissa_Sal View Post
    Thanks!

    ETA: DH's problem is that he thinks that "washing the dishes" = "cleaning the kitchen". Whereas I think cleaning the kitchen means washing the dishes, wiping down all of the counter tops and surfaces, taking out the trash if it needs it, sweeping the floor, et cetera. So after DH "cleans the kitchen" I always feel like I have to go in there and finish it up. I can't just leave food splatters stuck to the counters!

    Mine too! He rarely wipes the counters OR runs the garbage disposal! It's annoying at times, but I rarely say anything. Easier just to do it.

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