Everybody has had a bad boss somewhere along the way; someone who treats his or her employees like dirt, and thinks that the only thing that matters is making himself look good. But one unnamed boss wins the prize for being the most heartless dick ever, and he is apparently completely unaware of why.
The anonymous overseer wrote to Alison Green’s Ask A Manager website for advice after the woman he described as “my best employee” quit following his refusal to allow her to come in two hours late for work one day. And the reason she asked to come in late? She wanted to attend her college graduation.
Here’s how the boss described the situation:
I manage a team, and part of their jobs is to provide customer support over the phone. Due to a new product launch, we are expected to provide service outside of our normal hours for a time. This includes some of my team coming in on a day our office is normally closed (based on lowest seniority because no one volunteered).
One employee asked to come in two hours after the start time due to her college graduation ceremony being that same day (she was taking night classes part-time in order to earn her degree). I was unable to grant her request because she was the employee with the lowest seniority and we need coverage for that day. I said that if she could find someone to replace her for those two hours, she could start later.
He goes on to explain that the employee asked her co-workers but nobody was willing to help her out, since the change would involve giving up a day off. Of course, he’s the boss, and he could have moved the schedule around to accommodate this woman on what was a obviously a very important day for her. She had been taking night classes to earn a degree, for crying out loud. You’d think that would get you some points with the boss. But apparently not with this one.
After saying that he put the burden of working out a solution on the employee, the boss actually admits this:
Caveat: I did intervene and switch one person’s end time because they had concert tickets that they had already paid for, but this was a special circumstance because there was cost involved.
So, bought and paid for concert tickets are a “special circumstance,” but a once-in-a-lifetime college graduation isn’t?
He goes on to explain that he told his employee that she would have to skip the ceremony. Then, an hour later, she turns in her ID badge along with a list of all the times she had changed her schedule to help out her co-workers, and quits.
Up to this point you’re probably thinking that the employee in question was always asking for favors, was producing substandard work, etc, etc. Quite the opposite, as Clueless Boss explains:
I’m a bit upset because she was my best employee by far. Her work was excellent, she never missed a day of work in the six years she worked here, and she was my go-to person for weekends and holidays.
But Clueless Boss is unhappy because of the “unprofessional” way the employee handled the situation. He wants to tell her that she should never do something like quit on the spot again, and he says,
Even though she doesn’t work here any longer, I want to reach out and tell her that quitting without notice because she didn’t get her way isn’t exactly professional. I only want to do this because she was an otherwise great employee, and I don’t want her to derail her career by doing this again and thinking it is okay. She was raised in a few dozen different foster homes and has no living family. She was homeless for a bit after she turned 18 and besides us she doesn’t have anyone in her life that has ever had professional employment. This is the only job she has had. Since she’s never had anyone to teach her professional norms, I want to help her so she doesn’t make the same mistake again. What do you think is the best way for me to do this?
As if the guy didn’t look like a total jerk already, he just admitted that his incompetence as a manager put the employee in a situation where she decided the best option was to walk away from the job. There were multiple solutions to this problem. Clueless Boss could have worked a couple of hours for the employee himself, given this was a very special occasion and the employee was apparently not in the habit of asking for favors. Or he could have told another employee that they had to make the switch. But no, his solution was to force his employee to come up with a solution, and when she failed to find one, she quit.
Alison Green’s response was not kind. After telling Clueless Boss that he should reach out to the woman and offer to rehire her, she says,
I’m not usually a fan of people quitting on the spot, but I applaud her for doing it in this case. She was raised in dozens of foster homes, used to be homeless, has no living family, and apparently managed to graduate from college all on her own. That’s amazing. And while I normally think graduation ceremonies are primarily fluff, I’m hard-pressed to think of anyone who deserves to be able to attend her own graduation ceremony as much as this woman does. You should have been bending over backwards to ensure she could attend.
After chiding Clueless Boss for his refusal to be flexible, particularly after admitting that he had bent the rules for another employee, Green concludes by saying,
There’s a lesson to be learned here, but it’s not for her.
This office must be hell to work in, as it appears that the boss believes that he can ask his employees for anything, and expects them to do it, while refusing to reciprocate. Is it any wonder that some people claim the underlying problem with the U.S. labor system is that it is still based on slavery?
You can read the entire letter, and Alison Green’s reply, along with over 1600 comments, most of them critical of Clueless Boss, here.
Featured image via Pixabay