Bereavement

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about: My boss has treated me like dirt through two deaths in my family in one week. He has downright refused to give me time off,

My boss has treated me like dirt through two deaths in my family in one week. He has downright refused to give me time off, but it’s in the policy handbook that I’m allowed time, three days to be exact for my grandfather’s death. This is not including my uncle’s death which occurred two days before. What should I do?

Signed, Treated Like Dirt

Dear Treated Like Dirt:

You take off in spite of your boss’s objection, if indeed your policy book allows time off for deaths in the family and you feel you should. Your boss will have to adjust. Your question arrived yesterday, and from your brief description, I assume that the time off conflict is partly over or soon will be. Apparently you checked your company’s policy, so you can hold it to that, but it would be wise to inform him and Human Resources you were taking off even if he refuses you.

You of course have a choice in this matter; to not take off or to take off. You can fight your boss, and if I read you accurately, that is what you want to do. And you can take that fight up the ladder. Document specific ways he has treated you “like dirt” and refused to allow you to take time off for the deaths. You don’t like being treated like dirt.

However, could it be that the working relationship with your boss has not been congenial even before you make the request? Might you see him as a policeman rather than a coach? Do you arrive early for your job and linger before leaving? Do you have an on-going conversation about how the work in your area is going? Have you ever suggested ways to cut wasted supplies, time, energy, and money? How many times have to proposed ways to cut defects and to improve customer satisfaction with your products or service?

Have you mumbled things about him or badmouthed him to coworkers? I ask because being treated like dirt implies you don’t like him and think he is a bad boss, and he might be. I can’t know from here. Beyond getting off what is your goal? If your job is just a job and you don’t see a future for yourself in this place of work, you bide your time until you find a job with a good boss. On the other hand, should you see this place a good place to work except for this incident, you do what is reasonable to help your boss to treat you and others with respect. How?

Most immediately, it is trying to understand his reaction and accommodating what about it that is reasonable.Earn his respect by doing high quality work. Think and respond to him as a team member who wants to make his job easier. Asking for his advice about your career. Engage him in work-focused matters.Ask for a time-out session to learn how he feels about your work and also dare to say what you would like more or and less of in the way he bosses. Do these thoughts sound reasonable? Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and that means doing what you can to build a good working relationship with your boss.

William Gorden