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Candidate for Worst Boss of 2016

A letter to the blog Ask A Manager details a work experience and asks for advice. It almost sounds fake, but it reminds me of one boss who wouldn’t let me take one day off to get married, then later expected me to cover for him for two weeks while he took care of some family business. And a huge number of commenters offer similar stories from their pasts. Here’s the letter.

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. She asked her coworkers, but no one was willing to come in on their day off. After she asked around, some people who were not scheduled for the overtime did switch shifts with other people (but not her) and volunteered to take on overtime from others who were scheduled, but these people are friends outside of work, and as long as there is coverage I don’t interfere if people want to give or take overtime of their own accord. (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.)

I told this team member that she could not start two hours late and that she would have to skip the ceremony. An hour later, she handed me her work ID and a list of all the times she had worked late/come in early/worked overtime for each and every one of her coworkers. Then she quit on the spot.

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.

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?

You can imagine how people reacted. This manager got pretty much the same advice from everyone- the writer of Ask A Manager, the commenters, reddit, Jezebel, and Raw Story. How would you have answered the letter?

(Image credit: Flickr user jen collins)


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Could you not hear your own words? She's the BEST employee and not even you would help her out with this important milestone in her life, knowing she had NO FAMILY and you think she's being unprofessional?
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