Saturday, September 22, 2018
Business

Career Q&A: After dustup with boss, start from scratch or move on

Q: I recently got a new boss who is difficult and obnoxious. In my eight years with this company, "Carol" is the worst supervisor I have had. Ever since she arrived, she has treated me unfairly and underestimated my abilities.

After working with Carol for two weeks, I complained to human resources. At that time, I was going through a lot and not really thinking straight. Unfortunately, I found that Carol had already described her problems with me to the HR manager.

Having made a fool of myself with HR, I'm not sure what to do next. This situation with Carol just adds stress to my already stressful life. How should I deal with this?

A: While Carol may not be the boss you would choose, she is unfortunately the boss you have. As you recently discovered, complaining to management about a new supervisor can easily backfire and make a bad situation worse. If you had been thinking clearly, perhaps you would not have been so hasty.

At this point, you seem to have two choices. If working for Carol is truly unbearable, you can always decide to look elsewhere. In that case, it's time to polish up your resume and begin networking. But if you wish to keep this job, try to repair the relationship by acknowledging your mistake and attempting to correct her first impression.

For example: "Carol, I want to apologize for the comments I made to human resources. That was a very stressful time in my life, so I'm afraid I overreacted. My hope is that we can put this event behind us and start over. What could I do to better meet your expectations?"

If Carol is a mature manager, she will welcome this overture and forgive your lapse in judgment. But if she refuses to give you another chance, the job search is always an option.

Spouse never feels caught up with work

Q: Before every holiday weekend, my wife's employer tells the staff that they can leave at 2 p.m. on Friday if their work is caught up. However, my wife is never caught up because her inbox is always full of client emails. She has 40 years of experience and is the top agent in the office.

On the other hand, the lazy millennials goof off all day and don't have much to do, so they always get to leave early. My wife is ready to quit over this slap in the face. What do you think about this?

A: I think this guy is extremely predictable, so I wonder why your wife doesn't simply anticipate his holiday season routine and act accordingly. If her boss sends this email "before every holiday," she should either make plans to empty her inbox or tell him why she can't.

As the top salesperson, your wife undoubtedly has some leverage. If she explains that ongoing communication with her many clients makes catching up impossible, he is likely to understand.

But if her manager is truly obsessive, then the wisest course would be to work on that backlog well before the holiday. She might also work on adopting a kinder attitude toward the younger generation.

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