By Lisa Kuzara | February 4, 2011
Great Job - Not-So-Great New Boss
I have been at this job for almost six years and I’m very good at it. I am in the finance department of a company that manages a group of hospitals, and I like the job because it pays fairly well, I have a lot of friends here, and the hours are very reasonable. At least they used to be.
About 3 months ago, we got a new boss and I’m beginning to think they rotated him to this department because nobody liked him in his last department. It surprises me that I’m complaining about him now because I liked him so much when I first met him – and by the age of 41, you’d think I’d have learned to be a reasonably good judge of character. But now I’m learning that many of us in the department felt the same way because the guy seems so nice at first. He smiles a lot as he hands over piles and piles of work and says things like “You can get this analysis back to me by Thursday, right?” It is Wednesday at 4:15.
He also never really seems to have that much work to do himself. But he has a lot of time to walk around and check on everyone else, while he smiles and makes small talk about the photos in their cubicles. It has started to become a bit of a running joke, where we compare him to the character Michael Scott on the sitcom “The Office.” Only he is not as funny, we actually have jobs to do, and the workload seems to be getting worse and worse.
Work / Life Balance at Risk
Up until now, I’ve been managing my career just fine, and I’m happy with my position and my pay. What I’d like is a little input on how to protect the work/life balance I used to have. It seems with this new boss that my former 8:30am to 5:30pm work hours are very much at risk. I have two children and a husband who I need to come home to at 5:30 every night. How can I manage my new boss so I can keep the hours I used to have, without risking my job?
Wendy Weighs In
It seems you’ve kept a steady head and good perspective on this whole turn of events, so kudos to you for that.
My first recommendation would be to keep track of the next two or three instances when your new boss gives you assignments with unreasonably short turn-around times. Include the dates when the assignments were given, what the assignments were, when they were due, and when you turned them in.
Then set up a private meeting with your boss to discuss communication. Take the lead in that meeting and tell him in a respectful and non-confrontational way that you have a strong performance record with the company, and that in order to maintain that positive record, you will need more turn-around time than you have recently been given on your assignments. If and when he seems not to understand, break out your examples and explain exactly what you mean.
Leave out your observations of his tendency to wander and chat. You may be able to solve that annoying problem for yourself simply by getting a phone headset, wearing it all the time (they are very comfortable – I used to forget I had mine on all the time), and pretending to be on a call when he enters your cube or office.
After the meeting, give your message a month or two to sink in. If it does not, start keeping track of your assignments and turn-around times again, then reschedule the same meeting, only this time invite your boss, and his boss to attend, and remember to maintain a professional, non-confrontational tone. That should do the trick.
Best of luck to you!
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