Thursday, January 04, 2007

Teamwork is Frustrating


I dislike working in a team. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-social, it’s just that I can’t stand it when people don’t pull their weight on the team or want to push others around. I don’t think that it’s right.

I have to work in a team for this project that means a lot to me. A lot rests on how successful this project is, as it forms part of my studies and will determine my overall CGPA. As an honors student, I know that I am able to complete all my assignments well and on time. My fellow team members… are not honors students.

The saga began when this assignment was announced. M was appointed group leader by vote (and I didn’t want to be the leader because we all don’t get along well with our lecturer). M did not handle this well, and told us all that she wouldn’t be the leader.

We had two months to do the project. Since M was the leader, we all waited for her direction (and since we were busy with our dissertation, no one bothered to prod her into action). Weeks went by and with 3 weeks left to go, I couldn’t stand it any longer. Someone had to get the ball rolling, right?

Since this was a marketing campaign, I suggested that we each come up with an idea (there are 7 of us) so that the best ideas can be selected from the group. This was during the week of 18 December. And then I waited… and waited… and waited some more. No one was really doing anything about it as it was Christmas weekend and we were all in the holiday mood. I was in the holiday mood too, but I got my idea churned out and sent to the rest within 4 days.

More than a week went by. I couldn’t keep on waiting forever (the clock was ticking!) so I sent out emails and suggested dates and times for the group to meet. Although this was not my duty, I didn’t mind this part as I felt a need for the group just to get moving.

On the day of the meeting, some did not come prepared with ideas as requested 1 ½ weeks ago. I cannot comprehend this. What is so hard about coming up with a single idea for a marketing campaign? You are marketing students, for crying out loud! (The culprits were F, V, M2 and A) So we ended up working on my, E and M’s ideas. Fine enough, we still had ideas to work upon.

Perhaps M felt that I overstepped my boundaries and infringed on her territory as leader, because she was very antagonistic whenever I presented any ideas and defensive when I questioned some aspects of her ideas and contributions. (And I already have beef with her over her mis-reading of the situation in the assignment question) But, as she was after all the “leader” of the group so to speak, I let it slide. (But I was told some days later by V that M had announced to the group before I arrived that she intended to speak only and not write a single thing. !?!?!?!?! The nerve!)

A few days later, M was in full-blown bossy mode at our next meeting, again being antagonistic and defensive (but only towards me, I noticed). I however, insisted that she do her part by writing up her ideas and taking charge of the budgeting for the project. It was only fair since I had my hands full with editing, amending and proof-reading not to mention coordination of compilation of the scattered info and A was doing all the creative A&P materials. The rest (read: weaker students) were tasked with collecting info before I shaped it into something more presentable in grammatically correct English.

F did not bother to turn up for this meeting. Neither did he submit his work for the rest of the group to discuss. So we discussed on his behalf and I sent him a short bulleted email on what we had discussed. E also did not turn up, neither did she send us her info. (So irresponsible!)

At our final meeting, F again did not turn up. And he kept on saying that he could not email us the details. (I know the Internet is supposed to be down due to all the cable trouble from the Taiwan earthquake, but the rest of us are still emailing stuff. So?)

At this meeting, M was being bossy again, demanding to see everything that others had done and sent to me (and all this info had been emailed to the group earlier. M did not download it). If you’re not the one doing the work, why bother? (I had asked her to come up with the timeline at the earlier meeting, but 3 days later, she still had not sent it to me.) When V and I rebutted her idea on the basis that it was not within the scope of the project, M acted very huffy and dropped the subject with no good grace.

Remember F? Supposed to send the details of his write-up for the assignment? This fellow had the guts to email back to me what I had sent him earlier following the second discussion (when he was not around) word for word. A cut and paste job. Without even attempting to amend it. (Talk about cheek!) Pffft!

M is now sending emails asking for this and that (in a very accusing manner, I might add) and saying that she wants to see X and X as if I had things to hide from her.

If M had stepped up to the plate when she was elected leader in the first place, I would be fine with the situation. As a leader you do have a right to demand things and cooperation from me (which I have been complying with fully all the way). But when you said you didn’t want to be the leader (M outright rejected the position), to my mind you have lost all right to turn around, take it back up and demand anything from me using said authority.
As for F, he is simply coasting along on the efforts of others (he has not made any attempt to do any work at all!) and I feel that it is horribly unfair if we should all get the same marks when he has done nothing at all. If there are any marks to be gotten from this assignment, I would say that the majority of the work would be because of the creative work of A and my editing work (50% of the assignment is completely written by me!) with a small portion from M. And F should deserve no marks at all.
All being said and done, I work best alone. Alone, there is no one to push the blame to when you fail and there is no one to (unfairly) grab the praise for a job well done. This situation is not teamwork because of 2 selfish people.

2 spins:

Simple American said...

I hate team projects like this. It is rare that team work is fair and equal. Unfortunately this gets you ready for real life, where slugs will coast and even rise based on your efforts.

F should be reported to your instructor ASAP. Why cheapen your grade with his coasting? M just needs to get tweeked. Some folks are incapable of leading.

Best of luck with your efforts.

Thanks for visiting my blog. :)

rinnah said...

simple american: I know that I'll face this kind of situation in working life later on, and I hope I'm prepared to face it.

Sad matter of fact is that my lecturer would not do a single thing to F even if we reported him. *sigh*

Thanks for the well wishes and for taking the time to visit my humble little blog too!