Boss Plays Favorites

Question:

My work group is small, consisting of 5 women, myself included. Our boss is in our office only 3 days a week and we are mostly unsupervised. We have a problem co-worker. She loves to create drama and if she decides someone has slighted her, she is openly nasty and will run to our boss and tattle. Our boss happens to be pretty good friends with her. Our boss always takes her word first and pretty much attacks the person who has “wronged” her friend.

It always, without fail, turns out that the troublemaker who is a friend of the boss, is lying. Our boss never calls her on it and she continues on as before. We are in a cubicle situation, so sometimes a couple of us will talk in a whisper about something, especially if it is regarding something personal. This woman ALWAYS thinks she is being talked about. She is not.

Our boss will stop at this co-worker’s desk, and they will whisper for 20 minutes. Or they will go into the boss’ office and whisper there. None of us thinks they are talking about us. This co-worker also works approximately 6 hours a day & gets paid for 8. She leaves without clocking out for lunch (we watch and see her do it.) she leaves work 1 to 2 hours early without clocking out & gets paid for it. She is allegedly going to another office to pick up work, but one of our coworkers has called repeatedly to check, and she never is at the other office. We know she gets paid because the boss told me she pays this co-worker 10 extra hours per pay period (2 weeks) for going to the other office and that she fixes her time on the time clock. There are so many more inequities caused by this boss/coworker friendship. It is frustrating for the rest of us and we always feel that we have to be on our toes or the coworker will get us fired if she decides to. And most irritating of all is that we all work very hard. We all clock in and out properly. How do we as a group handle this situation? What to do? Two of my co-workers have confronted the boss about it and she denies any problem.

Signed,

Can’t Get Over This


Answer:

Dear Can’t Get Over This:

You expect life and work to be fair! It isn’t. Ideally the rules should be made by a blind and ignorant collection of souls for all those who must live by them before they were born. Why? Because only then will the rules be made without favoritism. Only will life’s rules be fair when we don’t know how that great slot machine in the sky or somewhere is going spit us out to be born–smart or dumb, rich or poor, hot headed or cool. So those who can get will get and those who are not so able will take what they can. So you four feel a fifth woman in your small office gets by with murder. Two of you have complained about that to the boss. The boss ignores those complaints, siding with the favored woman. What can you do? I can think of several possibilities and probably you four can too: · Confront her from north, south, east, and west. Take time out and tell you all have something she needs to listen to. Spell out to her the lies she has told, the times she has fudged, the fact that you have talked about her but not the times she said you were. Tell her you don’t like this behavior and you have a log of her misconduct. Tell her if she doesn’t shape up you will by-pass the boss to report her. · Persist. Squeaking wheels get the grease. Bosses don’t like to hear four squeaking wheels. Hearing squeaking wheels once is not enough. Unfair, unfair, unfair will not be ignored if it is repeated with data, No boss want to risk having her boss hear that she has a favorite; that she and that individual close the door and converse at length on days you have logged in. No boss wants to hear you that she is paying for hours in which an employee is not there. Frankly say that if this isn’t corrected that you will take your concerns above your boss to Human Resources. And state that you four will ask for an investigation. · Obviously you have a work group that mumbles and rumbles about Ms. Favorite. That is distracting and discouraging to you four who are hard workers. To tell you to stop this nasty gossip is a waste of time. You won’t stop until you get the rules and their implementation made fairly. Admit to the boss that this employee and she are topics of gossip and frustration. Admit that you want to stop but that you won’t until Ms. Favored works as a team member, as an accountable team member. · Help your boss manage. Tell her that you want to make your office lean and mean; that you want to cut wasted supplies, time, energy, and duplication. And to do this that you want her to coach; to schedule and conduct regular skull sessions of quality improvement. Explain that you want to make her and all of your work more effective and easier and to accomplish this you must communicate candidly, constructively and creatively. Just a successful women’s soccer team must huddle after, before and during a game applauding what went well and asking what must we do to play better. Do any of these options make sense? The odds are that you four are working scared to say too much. You fear that you will be accused of ganging up on poor Ms. Favored. You are walking on eggs. You are afraid you will be stabbed in the back and that some of you will be fired. If you really are afraid then bite your tongues and continue to grumble among your selves. However if you are really fed up with unfairness, toughen up. Add up what you don’t like. Log the wrong and decide that come what may, you will voice that wrong is wrong. You will do what it takes to make it right. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. As of now you are doing what it takes to make that happen.

William Gorden