Unhappy Work Environment

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about daughter hired to boss:

I work in a place where the employees are all women. That itself is not the problem. A year back my boss made some changes, removing those who were causing the work place to be very uncomfortable. Recently she has hired her daughter and has placed her in a Management Position. She started out OK, but as time has progressed, she has found ways to push her duties on top of those of us who are already are overloaded with our own duties. She does not take the blame when she makes a mistake, but makes it appear that it was one of the employee’s mistake. Everyone that works under her is ready to quit except for one. This one, who appears to be the only happy employee under the boss’s daughter is a lot like the boss’s daughter in that she is good at pointing out others mistakes, but not her own. What can one do to bring back pleasant atmosphere that once existed before the boss’s daughter came in and caused discontent? How do you tell the boss that her daughter is hurting her company?

Signed, Unhappy

Dear Unhappy:

You have some choices. I’ll suggest three and you can think of others if you can pretend you are a creative person:

1. Blurt that out what you have written in your question to us to the boss. Simply voice your opinion of what you tell us to the boss.
2. Say that first to the daughter, and then if she doesn’t change, go to the boss.
Or 3. Be assertive about what is a reasonable workload.From what you say, the boss’s daughter is now also a boss and you resent that. I may be wrong, but is she or isn’t she now your boss? Or do you have two bosses? Being clear on that is important because that determines who makes assignments and to whom you go about problems.

Before you elect 1, 2, or 3 of the above choices, would it not be wise to reflect on what you do that is making your workplace profitable, productive, and cheerful? Lets call this choice
4. Make a list of those things you do that cut costs of supplies, cut wasted time, and cut wasted energy. Also list the tasks and projects you have completed. Be specific. While doing this, I expect that you will think of other ways you and those with whom you work might also cut waste. List these too. Don’t talk about any of these just yet. Rather, for one week, become the most efficient and pleasant employee your office has ever had–no complaining, no gossip, no down talk.

Be a cheerleader–praise others, help make others’ jobs easier, see the good and not the bad. Look in the mirror and see if you can pretend to be a happy person in the way you smile, laugh, and walk. What might happen? I’ll bet you will be. If you will give this an honest try, you will not only find a happy face reflecting back from that mirror, but also will find that your co-workers and possibly also the boss’s daughter will be more pleasant. Moreover, you will earn a favorable evaluation from your boss and daughter and will be seen as an employee they cannot afford to lose. Once you have given that an honest try, ask yourself if you can do it a second week. If you can, might not this be the time for you to speak your mind about what is a reasonable workload and to confer with your boss or boss’s daughter about how you and your co-workers might make each others’ work more efficient and effective? How might you do this? Not by complaining about work that has been dumped on you. Not by saying the boss’s daughter won’t take responsibility for her mistakes.

But by requesting time out–a meeting with the boss and daughter to talk about what you know about cutting wasted supplies, time, and energy.  And suggest that regular staff meetings could come up with a lot more ways just as you have when you reflected on what you have done and might do. If you will approach your boss and daughter this way, I predict that they will agree to give that a try for say one brainstorming session once a week for at least a month; perhaps on a Wednesday morning or whatever time seems best.

What do you think about choice 4? Might it make sense? If not, the choose 1, 2 or 3. They too might work even if you are blunt and assertive. My choice is to think WEGO, and by that I mean working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. I will post your question and I invite your reactions to my advice. Tell us what you do that works or do not work. Life is too short and work is too hard not to find a way to be happy in it.

William Gorden