Accountant Given HR Responsibilities

Question submitted to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being hired as an accountant but given HR responsibilities.

I started with this company 9 months ago as a Accounts Payable and then got promoted to staff accountant right after my probation period of three months ended. I was put in the situation where I had to help with HR related work since we do not have a dedicated HR person. Few months later my boss got fired and our entire team changed. My new boss keeps taking away my accounting work and keep giving it to the senior accountant (who doesn’t like me since I am much younger than her and know the business a little more than she does). Her and other new people in our department keep making personal comments on my appearance to the point where I go home and cry myself to bed every night. Should I just quit my job because the company dynamics are changed?

Signed Should I Quit

Dear Should I Quit,

Your promotion to staff accountant after probation is something of which to be proud. Firing of your boss and replacement with a new boss has proven unfortunate. More than just much of your work being shifted to HR work, to have comments on your appearance by your new boss and others can’t help but cause you pain, so much pain that you cry instead of slip off to sleep peacefully.

Should you quit? Before you come to a decisive answer to that question, here are several matters to consider:
1. Do you have in writing the offer made you describing its job description?
2. Do you have evidence of meeting expectations to satisfy your probation?
3. Have you logged the approximate time in which you have been shifted from accountant to HR work?
4. What specifically is the language you have been told regarding your appearance?
5. Have you communicated your displeasure with being shifted from accountant to HR and if so what was its result?
6. Have you explored what you might do if you quit and considered that it is easier to get another job while still employed?

Now let’s consider what answers to these six questions tell you about quitting. If you have a written job description and of meeting the requirement of probation and if you have approximate time shifted to HR, from a position for which you were not hired, you can speak with your new boss to request she honor that and rather than put you into Human Resources. This kind of a request is fair and reasonable. Obviously you workplace is not large if you don’t have a full time person in HR. However, see the positive of being assigned to HR. Soak up all you can about HR; it widens your job possibilities.

You also need to meet with her regarding your new boss’s comments about appearance. Does she know they hurt and have you done your reasonable best to learn from them—perhaps demonstrating that you have and are trying to groom up to her expectations? General business attire and grooming is not an unreasonable requirement. However how and when you have gotten comments about appearance should have been made kindly and in private. So if that has not been communicated to you in that way, your new boss will be disturbed to learn you are aware of her missteps in management. So possibly you and she can form a plan to deal with appearance.

Not incidentally, when you speak with your boss, it would be helpful to bring ways you have found that might save wasted supplies, wasted energy, wasted time, and things that if done differently would save money. Talk about making your company stronger demonstrates that you are not thinking selfish about only yourself. Also feel free to ask for advice about your career path.

Should you look elsewhere? Probably it would be wise to quietly explore other job openings. No one should ever be treated to feel unwanted and disrespected. There are good places to work for those who will work hard. Before you quit, you should resolve that anyone who diminished you is in the wrong to do that. So keep your head high. Find things to do outside of work that make you feel good, possibly dancing or yoga and/or by helping those less fortunate. This life is the only one each of us has. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.

William Gorden