Miscommunication in the Workplace

My PR internship at Louis Vuitton is easily the most stressful work experience that I’ve had so far. I am given more responsibility than I anticipated but I’ve also seemed to take on responsibility for my supervisor’s mistakes. I have two supervisors, one of which started only a week before I did and this is her first job out of college. At first, she seemed kind and supportive and was constantly checking in on me to make sure that I was enjoying my work. As her responsibilities have grown, however, I have not felt that same level of support and have actually felt put down by her.

My supervisor is temporarily doing the work of two jobs as someone on the PR team left after my first week and they have not found a replacement yet. This level of work that she has acquired has made her unorganized and scattered. The mistakes that she is making have now trickled down to me and cause me to make mistakes without me knowing that I’m making a mistake.

For example, we send out a lot of items every day to different photo shoots and clients, either in garment bags if they are just going elsewhere in NYC or in a box if they are being shipped to a different location. My supervisor wants me to call her every single time someone comes to pick up a garment bag or box so she can double, triple check that the right things are being sent out. I personally feel that this wastes time because, most of the time, she packs her own send outs and then insists on checking them again to make sure nothing has magically left the box.

I was asked one morning to pack up three different boxes. I did it right away and had the boxes sitting with the correct labels along a list of what was inside. Someone came to collect a package so I called up to my supervisor who told me to give him the package but hold off on the other two. I handed off the correct package and was happy that I had successfully scheduled the three pick ups. However, my supervisor later forgot that she told me to hand off the package and freaked out that I had given it to be sent out and was very paranoid that I packed the wrong items. I knew I had packed the right items but couldn’t articulate to her what exactly was in the box as a few hours had already passed. There was a whole commotion that I sent the wrong package out (which she had also helped me pack and told me to send out) but we eventually were able to confirm that the right items went to the correct shoot.

This was quite a long winded way of saying that I am constantly told to do things by my supervisor, I do exactly as I am told, but it turns out my supervisor asked me to do the wrong thing and then the blame falls on me for actually doing what she asked. This feeling of her placing blame on me every time she makes a mistake has been incredibly draining. I work 10-11 hour days and by the time I get home I am so exhausted from the blame and criticism that I can’t even debrief my day with my mom because I do not want to relive the negativity that I experience in the workplace. I am not sure what to do about this problem because it’s basically impossible to tell my boss that she is wrong but I also do not want to take the fall for things that actually aren’t my mistake. I hope that a new hire comes in soon so my supervisor isn’t so overwhelmed and stressed anymore because she has absolutely no idea how her mistakes are affecting me and I don’t think I can go the whole summer constantly being made to look as if I’m the one doing something wrong.

One thought on “Miscommunication in the Workplace

  • June 19, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    First and foremost, I am concerned that you are so stressed and that you are in this situation (in terms of what you describe with your supervisor). Is there any way I could intercede; I could check in with her and just revisit your learning contract, emphasize Jepson’s desire for you to have supervision, on-site education, etc.? Also, is Joey a girl? I have Joey Cantu listed as your supervisor. In regards to your reflection, I recognize that among other things – you just had to get this all off your chest and out there; totally understand that. In regards to the prompts, you do definitely address weaknesses in regards to leader/follower as well as challenges with communication (from organizational culture prompt). Again, for future, might want to revisit the prompts before you write. But this time, I completely understand venting to some extent. Please let me know what I can do to assist.

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