Employee Handbook???

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about policy:

I work for a company that has no written policies or handbook. Everything is word of mouth. Things seem to change daily. How can an employee protect him/her self from a boss who changes things to suit himself for each situation?

Signed, Subordinate of a Rule-Maker

Dear Subordinate of a Rule-Maker:

Most small companies don’t have handbooks, and I expect that you are not employed in a big company. Unless you work for a company that is big enough to be under state and federal regulations made by the Congress and/or Department of Labor, there are few protections; except those that apply to such topics as safety, discrimination, length of working day and overtime. You can access these regulations by clicking on the Frequently Asked Question of the DOL: http://www.dol.gov/dolfaq/dolfaq.asp

From what do you need protection? Your boss apparently has changed the rules. But is that bad? Is changing the rules really different from her or him changing assignments? You are hired to do what your boss orders, so can you not accept that? If a rule seems unfair, you can speak to him about that? Right?

The fact that you sent us this question suggests that you and your boss need to improve your communication. Do you talk with her/him about ways you might be more efficient and effective? Do you suggest ways to cut wasted time, supplies, duplication, and money? Such talk builds a good boss-bossed working relationship. Make talking with the boss a common and frequent habit. But not so much that he/she says, “When will you shut up?” Try this and do let me know if you and your boss find less to complain about. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Get my point? Think of ways to make both your and your boss’s work more fun.

William Gorden