I’m Held To A Higher Standard Than Other Employees

Question:

A fairly new employee spends a lot of time on the internet doing her own personal business, such as her banking, christmas shopping and just looking up things for fun while on the other hand I have more than ehough to do and can’t seem to find time to break away for lunch or a break. She usually spends 2-4 hour a day doing her personal things while at work. How do I go about saying something to my boss since he has seen her doing this and nothing has been said?

I can’t get upset about something that goes wrong for me without my boss treating me like a two year old, making me feel like he thinks I need to grow up and let things go. But others get upset and rant and rave and storm out of the office. Why do I get treated differently? I have been employed here for 8 years and he just lets the new employees get by with everything.

Signed,

Frustrated


Answer:

Dear Frustrated:

It sounds as though your grievance is with your boss, not with others. Consider these options as you decide what you want to do:

1. If your coworker is able to get her work done and still have time to surf the internet, maybe your boss doesn’t mind. If you are overwhelmed with work, consider asking your co-worker to assist you. Or, ask your boss if you can get some help temporarily.

2. If your coworker is not doing all the work she is supposed to do, and your boss doesn’t say anything about it, there is not much you can do, except focus on your own work or complain about it to your boss or to the person above your boss’s level. Those are tough things to do in any workplace. But, it is likely the only way anything more will happen. 3. You can do as Dr. Gorden suggests sometimes, and “vote with your feet” by quitting and letting the highest level in your organization know why you felt it was necessary. That is also a drastic action.

4. It sounds as though you and your boss do not agree about how your behavior and performance compares to that of others. Or, it may be that there is some conflict between the two of you that results in your boss not being very impressed, no matter how good your work is.

Consider working on developing a better working relationship with your boss so you can communicate about issues such as these, and be heard. One way to do that is to show that you want to improve and be the best employee in the group.

Evalute, or have someone else evaluate, the work you do. Is there a reason you are unable to get it all done and still go to lunch or take breaks? Are there some knowledge or skill areas you need to gain? Are you working well as part of the team or do you feel that it is them against you and vice versa? Those are all things that can make a difference in how much people want to help you, and the influence you have with your boss and co-workers.

When and if you feel you can openly communicate with your boss, ask for time to talk to him about a concern you have. Then say it honestly, “Mr. Williams, it seems to me that I get in trouble for things that no one else does. It also seems that I’m always working but others have time to relax and do nothing. I’m feeling really discouraged about work and about whether or not the work I do is even appreciated at all. Is there something I need to do differently to help make a change?”

Maybe that kind of conversation will open his eyes up to the differences in how employees are being treated. Or, he may have another viewpoint. At least you would know what he is thinking about it.

There are many reasons some employees are treated differently than others, if in fact that is the case, and not just in the frustrated imagination of the employee. Sometimes it’s because the boss simply likes one better than the other and lets that bias show. Sometimes one employee offers a lot to the group and it’s worth it to the boss to get that employee more leeway about behavior and performance. Sometimes one employee is less hassle overall, and that positive trait is rewarded with extra perks. There is no way to know the situation in your case, but perhaps you can consider it and find the answer.

At this point your best action is to look at your own work and make it top-notch, then talk to your boss about getting assistance if you find you can’t do it all. After that you will have to be more direct, either with your boss or someone higher. Or, the final solution is to find a job where there is less disparity in treatment of employees.

Best wishes as you find ways to deal with this problem. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what action you take and the results. You may be able to help others who have the same frustrations you do.

You will either need to complain to your boss about the different work standards between employees or go over your boss’s level to complain. Or, perhaps you can ask your co-worker.

Tina Lewis Rowe