Supervisor Unreasonable?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about boss assigning hours that are unreasonable:

I have been at my present job just over a year. I was hired for 24 hours a week, and I made it clear that I wanted part-time and no more hours or full time. I worked with a number of the people at our previous job (where we were all fired), and they knew I rarely worked extra hours and worked part time 3 nights a week. When I started this new job, I put in 50-60 hours a week helping get it started. I was told I would get my part-time hours and how they had to watch hours more carefully. I was also told when I had to work a Saturday, I would get an extra weekday off so I wouldn’t go over 24 hours. I have never worked just 24 hours…usually a few hours over which is fine and I do not get that extra weekday off when I work a Sat., again that’s okay with me. I have been lied to about what my schedule would be from the start.

We are a small business and have 5 full timers (including 2 bosses) and then another lady and myself as part-time. The other lady does work full time elsewhere but it’s 3, 12 hour shifts a week. My supervisor has been scheduling me extra hours and insisting I work extra whenever she wants me to without listening to why I can’t.She never asks if I can work, just schedules me. It may not be too often but it seems she always does this on days when I have something going on. I have given her dates when I can’t work but that is always subject to change on my side since I have health problems and kids at home. She has switched my days off because another lady couldn’t work a day again without asking and I had other plans and told her but she insisted I work or else.

I realize employers can do this but what if someone has other commitments and other people rely on you? I have tried to explain this to my supervisor, but she just says “You have to work…we are short handed.” I have refused a few times because I couldn’t get out of what I had going on, and on my evaluation she documented I was not flexible with scheduling and refused to work. Then she brought out 2 pages of things she wrote down over the year of what I either said or did she didn’t like. She documented how I upset another coworker one time. I had asked the lady to switch and she said yes but it wouldn’t be a regular thing because she would lose 2 hours pay. This lady went on about how she needs money and losing 2 hours pay isn’t acceptable. I work at 2:30 and this other lady works at 12:30. I told her never mind, I would just miss my daughter’s choir concert. The other lady got mad at me but no one seemed to consider how I had missed all my children’s school activities since I started the job and I never once complained until then. My supervisor will say “Don’t push it” or “Don’t make me mad” but she doesn’t seem to think she is making me mad or upset.Last night my supervisor again told me how I would have to fill in soon and I told her I will if I don’t have anything going on. She started yelling at me and I said I have other commitments, but she didn’t want to hear any of it. She did ask if I had another job, and I said what I do on my days off is my business but I have other commitments some of those days. She got mad and stormed out and talked to the boss. I did talk to another co-worker and I said the only solution I can see is to quit my other commitments and make myself available 24 hours to my supervisor since she is being unreasonable and won’t listen to anything I have to say.

She seems to think because I am part time I have nothing going on on my days/nights off so she can schedule me anytime she wants. Why are some bosses/supervisors like this? If I wanted more hours, I could have put in for a full time job. Is there any solution to this problem? Of course now my supervisor has said I better be careful because when I want off I may not get it. My mom is due to have surgery soon. I am very worried I wouldn’t get off for that (she is 83). Thanks for any advice!!

Signed, Part-time Work Any Time

Dear Part-time Work Any Time:

A solution? State when you won’t work and if they say, “Or else” find another job. Supervisor’s do not always have easy jobs. Scheduling can be a headache, especially for those who work part-time and ask for special times off. I’m sure you realize that.The only remedy you have is to put in writing in advance times when you will not work and stick to that. If you waffle, your supervisor might bully you. Perhaps you can work out a schedule with your supervisor the last of one week for the next. Get it in writing and put your faith in clear communication. Since you have had a blow-up and occasional “words” with your supervisor, might it not be wise to schedule a face-to-face private session in which you say you want the past differences to be past and that you want to work cooperatively, but must insist on a clear understanding of when you can and cannot work? Especially, you should say that understanding will be essential because of caring for your mother after her surgery.

Does this make sense? Please put your faith in firm, clear, and frequent communication with your supervisor. Don’t allow the frustration over hours sour you. Remember that a cheer leader is much more wanted than a jeer leader who gossips about how unreasonable the boss is. Is is possible for your to put your self interest forward and also to be WEGO minded?

William Gorden