Problems With Boss and HR

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about new job and misrepresented working hours:

In my interview with a potential new boss, he told me I would be working full time making “X” amount of money. I’ve been here a month and I barely work 2 full days a week, so I’m not making the money he says. I told HR my dilemma and they sided with my boss to which I said “shame on him for telling me this is full time making “x” amount of money.”

HR then told me I am border line insubordinate. I told her I’m ending this conversation and hanging up as I don’t mean to be insubordinate. I said, “Good bye” and hung up. Will you please explain to me what exactly you call this scenario and what should have been said between HR and me? Was I wrong? I found out boss is an alcoholic and attends AA & also he screams at workers every day, including at me. HR (in another state) says nothing to that. I told HR, “It’s not a privilege to abuse anyone and I’m not going to take this abuse” but still no change.

The boss also badmouths an employee to me, says “he (employee) isn’t the brightest bulb in the place” I happen to find that employee very helpful. I am the only female in an all male job environment and I have no complaints about any of the guys and I feel blessed that I work with those guys. They are extremely helpful & polite.

It is known that the boss is in AA & an alcoholic. He flips out & suddenly screams for nothing, then in the next breath he talks like a friend. He’s a pathological liar, game player and untrustworthy all around.Two days ago the boss just screamed at me, “Look, if you don’t like it here why don’t you just quit & go home now?” Stunned, I looked at him and said, “Don’t you dare talk to me like that.” He repeated what he said and I looked at him and said, “You’ve been here too long today. You go home” to which he said nothing.

In his next breath he talked to me nice, but then he acted up again. All us employees stick together and tell each other what we go through daily. Yes, this goes on every day with drama- boy, hateful slob that he is. He has no business being a boss.I’m only at this new job one month and I go in whenever I’m told I have work, but I was lied to in my interview. How was I to know that I really won’t be working 40hrs. or so a week?I know I wasn’t insubordinate to HR when I was talking to her and I know things are going to get worse. Is it OK to tell him if he wants to talk to me he has to talk like a human? I know you can’t reason with an alcoholic, but at least I can say it for the record.I also feel that now that he knows I went to HR (he told me). He and HR will be conspiring against me and they’ll be keeping notes. I’m documenting everything too.In the meantime, I’m looking for another job.

Signed, Disappointed and Frustrated

Dear Disappointed and Frustrated:

You are certainly correct to be looking for another job, since you dislike your boss so much and he seems to dislike you, and apparently you aren’t going to work as much as you need to. It’s an unpleasant situation all the way around and you will be better off to leave before you are fired–which seems likely if things continue as they are!There is no easy or acceptable explanation for how things have worked out. Apparently the promise to you about work hours was done verbally, and maybe with the expectation it would actually be that way. But now, things have changed. That is the problem with part-time or call-in work.

Your boss probably does not have full authority to bring someone in if there isn’t enough work to justify the cost to the company. And, the reality also is that if you hate him so much and show it, why would he want to go out of his way to have you there? So, I don’t think you should figure the work hour situation will ever change.As for your boss’s behavior, it does sound like he is unpleasant to be around if he yells at people–another reason to quit. Unless several employees are willing to step forward and make a formal complaint about it, the situation probably won’t change.I don’t know what kind of work it is, but it may be that the company isn’t as concerned about the feelings of employees as they are about getting the work done. Having everyone complain together might let the larger company know that a better work environment will allow employees to do their best work.You have only been there a month, while others have been there over three years. Apparently they have found a way to deal with it, even if they complain among themselves.Rather than employees huddling together to complain about the boss, maybe they should huddle together to talk about ways to enjoy work more or how to do work better. The boss can be friendly sometimes, you say.

Maybe that should be the focus, and when he is friendly, encourage that behavior through positive responses to it.In the time remaining before you quit, if your boss is talking rudely, rather than saying he has to talk like a human to you (which is an insulting comment) say, in a civil tone, something like, “Ed, please don’t talk rudely to me. Talk in a decent way to me and I’ll talk in a decent way to you.” The truth is, if you talk rudely to him (and your examples sounds as though you probably do) he and you are both in the same category. So, what does that tell him about how you want to communicate? You may be able to make your remaining time there more tolerable by softening your own stance about things. It sounds as though you are very angry about all of this–justifiably so, perhaps–and that came through in your voice and comments to HR. There is nothing they can do about your working hours so they can’t help that. And, they may have felt your dislike of your boss was overshadowing everything else you said.So, the bottom line is that this situation seems to have almost no chance of improvement. You have no respect for your boss.

You view the fact that he goes to AA as being a very negative thing about him. You get in his face as much as he gets in yours. You are angry because you aren’t making the money you had hoped from this job. There is no reason I can see for you to stay there. And since there is no obligation for your boss or your company to change, I don’t think that will happen, do you? We usually can find ways to suggest better communication and improved relationships, but I think your situation at work has gone past that in the very short amount of time you have been there. Find someplace else where you can enjoy work and build your work life in a positive way in a new and hopefully improved work place.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.