Go Or Stay

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about money: I have a really great boss but he is totally unapproachable re: money. Should just look for another job or if I should approach him?

I have a really great boss but he is totally unapproachable re: money. He gets angry when money is mentioned and always says he has a cash flow problem but he goes flying, hunting to the coast etc nearly on a monthly basis. I am under paid but don’t know how to approach him about this as I know what his answer is going to be. He is a medical broker but his staff does not even have medical aid. Due to our hard work he is also constantly winning trips and prizes and the best he can do is say thank you for all the hard work. Help please I don’t know if I should just look for another job or if I should approach him? How do I go about this? We had a major argument in December re: money that was owing to me which I only received in January. I really like him but I can’t survive on my salary.

Signed, Go or Stay

DearĀ Go or Stay:

You are wrong. An unapproachable boss is not a “really great boss.” From what you say, he has a short fuse when money is mentioned. Why? Because that has made you and probably others afraid to mention it. Yet as you know he enjoys the pleasures that money can buy. So my advice is to continue working for him cheerfully and efficiently, never broaching $ and keep your mouth shut. You agreed to be hired for what you are paid. Be happy with that. You don’t deserve health insurance because you hired in without it. Right? How’s that advice from the Workplace Doctors? Get my point?

You are working scared and underpaid. That’s the way it will stay so long as you bite your tongue or don’t seek a job elsewhere. Is it not time to learn if your pay is what others get who have jobs similar to yours? And what benefits, such as medical insurance, are available other places? Is not time to explore other job openings? Is it not time to prepare a list of what you do for your workplace–tasks completed well and projects that bring in money? And with another list of the things you like about your job in hand, is it not time to schedule a head-to-head meeting with your boss in which you ask for a performance review?

In this meeting, you should be up front about telling your boss that you are afraid to speak to him about money because the last time you did he exploded. Tell him that except for that you think he is a “great boss.” Tell him that you want to be more than an employee who feels underpaid, unappreciated and in a dead-end job–that you want to improve your skills and worth to his organization. Ask him to be an adviser who will help with your career, not just a boss who pays only what he has to and makes his subordinates afraid of him. Are you up to this?

Think of it as you might have thought of co-habitation or marriage. Like too many, you got into it without talking enough about division of responsibilities and budget. Like too many others, you are afraid to talk about what matters–your partner does not do his share. He golfs every weekend when you must stay home and tend to chores. He blows up when you mention money and saving for the future. Continuing that way is not the kind of relationship that generates respect or secures your future. Can this relationship be saved? Not by biting your tongue. Do you know what you must do?

You really have answered your question in your signature: Go or Stay. Or put your faith and action in voice. Speaking up in your own behalf is necessary when your boss speaks only in his own behalf. So think of your self and rev up your courage. Be assertive. With head held high and a realistic assessment of your worth, talk to him as an equal. But speak in terms of WEGO–of what is good for both of you and your medical brokerage. Please tell me if this makes sense and what you do and its results?

William Gorden