Not One Boss, Many Boss Me

My boss passed away a year ago, I was asked to stay on by his wife who was very distraught, and she or their two grown children had no knowledge of how to do anything for the LLC’s and properties he owned. I have worked here going on 10 years. I do everything for the properties. They are selling them off and the problem is I am not being managed by anyone but by all of them. There is even a relative in Florida that has made demands of me that were never part of my job. I felt bad for her and stayed on and have been thanked by many of her friends for my help, but the demands are becoming stressful and unreasonable. Even asking me to meet with people for a sale of their property when it should be the realtor who is making the commission on the sale and expecting me to drive and take care of this while they are away on vacations.

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Falsely Accused of Racial Slur

 I was falsely accused of using a racial slur at work to another employee.

Dear Accused: My immediate response to your question was to suggest you supply more information. Why? Because that will be necessary to learn what evidence there might be of what you were accused of and to learn of your status in your workplace, e.g. are you a boss or coworker.

Apparently, you so far have not made time to add the information, I requested: If you really want a more complete answer, please add a bit more information, such as the size of your work group and work organization, your role and race, racial makeup of the employees, how long you have worked there, who accused you, what consequence likely will happen, how this will be investigated and what have you been told by your boss or Human Resources. What happened days or a week before being accused. Of  course don’t include names of those involved. –The Workplace Doctors 

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Ganging Up on Body Odor

Q What to do when a workplace environment, multiples workers ganging up, with over exaggerated behaviors about a person’s body odor? Meaning the smell is not noticeable unless. you get at least 2 feet away or closer.
A. This is to follow up my quick effort about how to communicate re the ganging up against the one with an odor problem. I’ve deleted some of the less applicable sites. But I still recommend the Internet site 

How to Talk to Employees about Body Odor: 20 Polite Ways assume you are sensitive and don’t want your workgroup to mistreat this individual who has an odor problem. I’ll not add details of how to talk with someone or to deal with if the problem individual is you. These sites below contain more than enough suggestions on how to cope with body odor problems within the workplace: How To Tell Someone About Dirty, Smelly Hair?

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Trouble At The Top–Plant Manager and H.R. Manager Affair

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a complicated affair at the top:
Q. I am a plant manager who is having an affair with the HR manager. She happens to be still married! Ironically, she is married to HR manager for another company. He has now learned of the affair and is threatening both me and his wife. He made an ultimatum to her to stop it, and if she does, he will keep it on the down low. If not, he intends to ruin both of us at work, getting both fired. She has wanted to divorce for a year, and over the past 5-6 years, she has threatened numerous times. She has been happy since our affair started. However, about 4 months ago, once her husband learned of it, he is now verbally and phycological abusive.

What are our options? She wants out, wants to protect both our jobs. We are unsure of what to do next. She doesn’t love him any longer and we are very compatible. There are also 2 children involved still in school. Signed–Needs advice.

A. Dear Needs Advice:
Unfortunately there probably are no options that will satisfy your and her situation. Before I discuss this further, you should know, I shared your question with Dr. Mark Mindell, who has had a life-time career as a HR manager with several major companies. Mark has served as a guest respondent from time to time.

His explication spells out the central issues: “First, let’s simplify the issues.  The following information is not relevant to the workplace issues you and your partner face:  (1) the relationship between the HR Manager and her husband; (2) the degree to which your ‘partner’ and her husband is happy or not with what they know about your affair with the HR manager; the degree to which your partner and her husband have children and (3) any ‘threats’ made to get you or your partner terminated.  The only thing that matters in terms of your question is what are the risks and likely outcomes if your affair with the HR manager becomes known and the company’s policies regarding employee relationships.  Your partner should know these inside and out given that she represents HR.
“When it is all said and done, what matters most is your company’s policy regarding relationships between employees.  That said, the fact that this is an HR Manager with your own company suggests a serious lack of good judgment on her part (she should know better) and you, as a plant manager, should also know that an affair is not going to look good for someone such as yourself either.  Again, though, the result of your affair becoming known will likely depend on your company policies.  Your partner, though, is probably likely to face harsh penalties given that she is an HR Manager.
“Beyond that, I cannot help with any questions around your partner and her husband except to say that, if it were me, I would absolutely assume that the information about the affair will become public regardless of the outcome of her marriage.  And I would develop your response around that assumption.  And to repeat myself, at best your affair will show very poor judgment (even worse for your partner) and, at worst, you will be disciplined according to your company’s policies and past precedence.”

Dr. Mindell’s advice should help you to be proactive rather than worry about the next few days or weeks. You were instrumental in causing a problem, that if it becomes known can make your position as plant manager problematic to say the least. So let me suggest a question that you should answer: Would your superior(s) prefer to learn from you of the problem you helped create, or to be informed of it some other way?

In short, you should know that one way, the best way, to predict the future is to help shape it. Such as candidly disclosing to the appropriate persons above of the affair and to seek their advice and action. Ask their advice and listen. Don’t respond defensively. Listen and think with them about what is best for the company. That might mean continuing in your role as plant manager or of suspension, demotion, or firing. The same will be true for your HR manager.  If this were known by those above, it would diminish the power of her husband’s threat. She might not agree with this choice but it is not solely hers to decide.

Also separately, she should ask herself, is it better to have a proactive role in predicting the future? How? By informing her husband that whether she seeks a divorce or does as he wishes and stops the affair, it will be better for her to work than to be fired. Money talks. Her husband should realize the price they would pay and he would pay if her income is no more.

Your two options are 1. to remain silent and hope no one hears of it and that your HR manager complies with her husband’s threat to cut off your affair or 2. to assume the affair will become known, and rather than be confronted by your firing or some other discipline, arrange a meeting to inform her/him of the affair.

From what you say, I assume you want to continue the relationship with her. If that is your desire and also her wish, would it not be best for you two to wait until she is divorced and your and her job future is decided? For now, she had best persuade her husband that it would be best for the children and him if she could keep her job. I repeat. Money talks. Her husband should realize that even if his wife divorces, it will be to his advantage for her to work. If not, he most likely will have to provide the income for her and the children. These no doubt are possibilities you and she have already considered. Therefore, today in deciding each of your next moves most likely is wiser that procrastination.

A few lines of penned years ago, by a colleague, are:
“Always in my heart abides this constant choice,
This resolution,
To ever be a part,
Not of the problem,
But of the solution.”      

It’s too late to avoid creating a problem, but not too late to be a part of the solution. Of course, it is wise to think through this analysis before acting. You will need to decide how to act soon.
Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. –William Gorden

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Want Meaningful Work

Ask the Workplace Doctors about wanting a job you love, or ….

I recently started a new position where I deliver and sell a product within a territory. So far I mostly like the job for several reasons including the product is one I enjoy selling and delivering, I am getting to explore cool towns and areas, I am meeting some nice people, and the owners/bosses don’t micromanage. There are parts of the job and company culture which I don’t love, but overall this job feels like a good fit right now. I am, however, worried that this line of work may not be one I want to do for long because I would prefer to do a job where the work feels more meaningful. How invested do I become in my current work? Should I try to find meaning in it or in other parts of my life? Should work be the root of our meaning?

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Displeased With Disrespect of Boyfriend’s Manager

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about her boyfriend being called insulting names:

My boyfriend’s boss’ daughter is completely unprofessional, disrespectful, and calls him names. What can he do about this? She seems to have some kind of vendetta against him and does not act accordingly as she should as a manager calling him obscene names like bitch on a text message. 

Signed –Displeased with Disrespectful Talk

Dear Displeased with Disrespectful Talk, I sent you a note complimenting you for being displeased with abusive name-calling of someone–either your boyfriend or this daughter’s father. Therefore, I requested more details about the size of the workplace and instances of the insulting situation and what prompted calling him a bitch or other names.

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Fired But Wife’s Still Working Where She Had An Affair

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a complicated situation:

I was terminated in Sept of 2018 by a major fortune 100 employer. The director of my department had been in a long term affair with my wife. Who also worked and still works for the company. When I was confronted by my wife’s BF, I objected to the affair and resulting harassment. I was then fired. Then in addition I was blacklisted using the PADS nuclear security access system. Is my issue more title VII or slander or harassment? or what other civil or criminal laws apply? Thank you. Signed Fired Because

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Should I Report My Husband’s Emotional Affair With A Colleague?

My husband has been in at least an emotional affair with a high up HR individual (not completely sure of her title, but I believe she is the HR Director) of the company. He is the Director of Operations at the same company. I am not sure if my husband and I are going to make it through all of this. In an attempt to save our marriage, he has confronted her about his emotional connection to her and the need for some distance.

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Happy Birthday, You are Older

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about posting Birthdays.

Is there a form that I can have each employee sign giving permission for our Company to post their Birthday? Just a simple form that the employee can sign for the Company to post their Birthday on a  Company-Wide Calendar. I know some companies refuse to post Birthdays and some have a permission form.  We would like to request a form if at all possible. –Signed Permission for a Happy Birthday

Dear Permission for a Happy Birthday:

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Texted Criticism of Bosses

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about disclosure of texted criticism of bosses:

I recently vented to my longtime friend and coworker via our personal phones, about my unhappiness with my work situation and made comments about my bosses out of frustration. She then told HR that I was unhappy, they asked what I said and asked to see the text messages (without my consent or knowledge prior). Now I’m being told that my texts were considered harassment and go against company guidelines since they were sent during company hours (we are working remotely, so they were not sent while on the property, and again on non-work devices).

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