My new boss

(46 Posts)
nellyjelly Thu 29-Nov-12 09:27:03

I work for a small company which is part of a bigger organisation. We have a new boss. So far I am unimpressed with his approach and methods but my main issue at the moment is his lack of flexibility.

I have 2 children, 1 in nursery and 1 in reception. I work 4 days pw, my contracted hours. I work hard, produce what is expected and hardly ever have time off for illness, either mine or the kids. DH has 7am starts so can't assist in the mornings. Kids go to nursery and breakfast club at 7.45. I have no family or anyone near to help with childcare.

The bigger organisation that we belong to has a commitment to 'family friendly' policies; career breaks, decent mat leave, parental leave etc. however the new boss seems totally unconcerned with 'family friendly'. In his first month he has;

a) moved the weekly managers meeting to my non working day, no consultation, just expected me to rearrange my child care permanently.

B) He has arranged 2 days away at a hotel for an away day, 45 miles away from where I live but expects me to be there for 8am every morning (or stay over). Again no planning,just an instruction. Gave 2 weeks notice for this so no time to try and plan for it in terms of childcare.

C) Also has asked us all to submit our leave from Jan onwards but won't come back with an answer as is awaiting requirements from our customers so he can see who is needed. Fair enough but I need to know as I have to take school holidays and if I can't need time to organise some childcare. This takes time. The Feb half term is not that far away and holiday clubs round where I live get pretty full. Also afaik only 2 of us want that week, so why no response?

I don't expect special treatment as a parent but some level of what is reasonable. I cannot leave for work before 8 am due to childcare but given that means I always start before 9 and work my core hours, that should not be a problem. Unless he thinks 8 am starts are appropriate. Actually I don't. I need a quick turnaround on leave requests, surely asking anyone to wait weeks for an answer is unreasonable. We can't drop everything for the business.

I am the only one with small children and I am starting to feel discriminated against tbh. I get a real sense that he thinks I am a pain. AIBU? What should I do?

theoriginalandbestrookie Sat 01-Dec-12 15:22:50

ilovesooty - I think it also depends on the salary. Management could mean anything from being a retail manager with a salary not much higher than minimum wage up to 40% tax rate roles and above. If its the latter then yup a bit of flexibility and proactivity is required, if its the former then not so much.

It's all very well saying oh DH has to do his share, but for example in my situation my DH is a contractor and earns 5 x as much as I do per day and as a contractor has much less job security than myself. I have deliberately gone down a grade so that I can feasibly work reduced hours ( was on my way to a nervous brakedown at the higher grade as taking work home all the time, didn't feel I could say no if meetings outside my scheduled hours etc)

Therefore in our situation, I am and always will be the primary go to for child care arrangements. I make sure that I don't take the mickey and as DS is a bit older (6) am lucky enough to know other parents that could potentially do drop offs and pick ups on an ad hoc basis as required with me obviously returning the favour when I can.

Like the OP I have no family near by so if I had been requested to get into work when DS was younger for 8.00am then it would have been very difficult for me. DH could perhaps have done it for one day, but like I say he is a contractor and works further away so could not rock up at 10.00am two days running just because my manager is on a power trip.

Also re redundancy. Having been through a massive redundancy exercise last year, the one and only thing that is usually taken into consideration is finance. Regardless of how good you are etc etc, those who are on a final salary pension and/or are considered expensive are the ones who will go,it's highly unlikely a relatively junior manager will be asked to input into the process.

So OP I wouldn't at this stage make it into a personal crusade or mention to your manager that you feel discriminated against. I would state and restate what you can and can't do - probably by email at this stage so you have a trail if required for HR and take it from there.

kickassangel Sat 01-Dec-12 15:02:05

I'm a teacher and if something meant I had to be away from the class I set cover and requested a sub. I think your do needs to accept that the children are his as well as yours and be prepared to do this. Even if his college won't get cover just for one hour then he can set work. You say it's adult education so it won't have the same concerns about kids misbehaving.

If the new boss keeps trying to shift things close to his home then it would be worth raising as unfair to effectively move where you're working, but just for two days try to find a way.

The weekly meetings are a big no. He is effectively changing your contract. Check your contract to see how thus is covered.

ilovesooty Sat 01-Dec-12 14:15:42

I think I'd agree if she didn't have a management role. I think management responsibility usually comes with the expectation that you'll work flexibly. In any event I don't think it's reasonable for one parent and not the other to make any different arrangements, and she will certainly not be making a good impression when or if redundancy comes into play.

Sallyingforth Sat 01-Dec-12 13:18:02

I think two weeks in long enough to arrange childcare for two early mornings.

That's all very well but this is how the new manager intends to work and it will happen again and again. The OP needs to make clear that it is not acceptable to change her established working hours like this.

ilovesooty Sat 01-Dec-12 12:49:38

bosses like people who present solutions rather than being the whining employee that is always moaning about something. So offering to reorganise the meeting etc. will make you look like you can fix problems rather than create additional ones

While I agree with the main thrust of this, I don't think the OP should have to sort out the situation of the meeting on a day she doesn't work. What her boss is doing there is discriminatory and I think that's the issue that needs to be addressed. I think she'd be far better off trying to find a way of dealing with the away day problem.

And whatever the client demand, I think if only she and one other person want the Feb half term week off, she should really be given an answer on that so that she knows what arrangements she needs to make.

MontBlanc Sat 01-Dec-12 10:24:57

Good advice from theoriginal - bosses like people who present solutions rather than being the whining employee that is always moaning about something. So offering to reorganise the meeting etc. will make you look like you can fix problems rather than create additional ones.

Also agree you should tackle the most important thing first and perhaps leave the holiday a week or two.

Good luck!

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 30-Nov-12 22:38:41

I don't think you are wrong OP I think your boss is a complete arse, but I would be careful about how you tackle it.

Regarding the meet up, I guess I would want to have my team meeting on a Monday if I were the boss as it sets priorities for the week, but I know when I didn't work a Monday my boss made it first thing on a Tuesday. Can you suggest to him that he makes it on a Friday - offer to set up the meetings and book the room if it will soften the blow.

As for the 8am start - I would struggle with this as I'm in a similar position to you DH works further away so I do all pick ups and drop offs, but he has a wee bit of flexibility for the odd occasion.

For the course I would say to him that you will drop off DCs and get there as soon as you absolutely can, but cannot be there for 8am as it is a one hour drive away. I wouldn't be defensive or abrasive about it, just state it as a fact and see what he does with it. If he then starts saying you absolutely have to be there thats the point at which I would think about discussing with HR.

Don't over worry yourself with the 8am meetings becoming the norm. Even if they do then you just continue to get there as early as you can and be pleasant but not apologetic about it.

On the holidays - maybe don't tackle that at the same meeting grin but for this I see absolutely nothing wrong with emailing to say "Please can you confirm if I can have the holidays requested in Feb - I need to know by xx date so that if they are not accepted I can ensure that I can book DCs into holiday club as spaces run out. Thanks " I'd keep it friendly at this stage, and I would keep emailing him on a weekly basis until you get an answer.

Good luck.

ilovesooty Fri 30-Nov-12 22:16:21

He is a teacher. He has to be in front of the class at 9 am. How can there be any flexibility?

There is surely the possibility of cover - what happens if he is ill? I don't think what your husband does for a living should mean that your employer has to take all the implications of your childcare needs.

Is there anything in your contract about the expectation that you will work flexibly when required? We sometimes have to attend meetings and training starting at 9am nearly 100 miles from the office. We sometimes have to do prison pick ups some way from home/the office base and be there for 8am. Our core hours are 9-5 but it would not be acceptable to cite childcare as a justification for not performing your duties. And in this day and age refusing to deviate from your core hours, especially if you have management responsibility, is likely to put you at risk of redundancy if your funding is lost.

I maintain that expecting you to be at meetings on a day you don't work is absolutely unreasonable,and this needs to be tachled, but I don't think the other expectations necessarily are.

plutocrap Fri 30-Nov-12 21:58:26

I meant that funny syntax to evoke Paul Merton rather than Yoda, by the way!

plutocrap Fri 30-Nov-12 21:57:15

Most unreasonable clients I know, children are! grin

nellyjelly Fri 30-Nov-12 21:35:54

True! It is tougher at home with a 2 yr old tbh!

plutocrap Fri 30-Nov-12 21:35:16

Don't refer to your "day off". You are still working, just for someone else!

MontBlanc Fri 30-Nov-12 20:36:42

I agree, expecting an 8 am start at an offsite some distance away from the normal office is unreasonable for everyone!

nellyjelly Fri 30-Nov-12 20:28:29

He is a teacher. He has to be in front of the class at 9 am. How can there be any flexibility? In any event I am not asking to start work late, I am saying that I can't be expected to start a meeting at 8am 45 mls from home. Kids or not I believe that is unreasonable. I don't mind the odd early start but my core hours are 9 to 5.

ilovesooty Fri 30-Nov-12 20:12:42

and offer some support - sorry.

ilovesooty Fri 30-Nov-12 20:12:08

Sorry, but I don't think your employer should be expected to see the work arrangements of your husband as a justification for you to be the only part of the partnership wanting flexibility, and your employer shouldn't have to shoulder all the implications posed by your childcare needs. IMO your husband needs to speak to his employers are offer some support regarding covering childcare.

nellyjelly Fri 30-Nov-12 19:47:34

DH teaches in a college. He has teaching from 9 am most days, has a long commute so has to leave at 7.30 to get there on time. There is no flexibility as has to be there in front of the class. Doesn't get half terms as is adult education.

Will report back when I have tried to address problems with boss.

youngermother1 Fri 30-Nov-12 00:58:45

Agree he is being difficult and feel sorry for you, but would like to ask why it is nearly impossible for your DH employers to be flexible occasionally?

kelpeed Fri 30-Nov-12 00:21:00

There is no hard and fast rule for the best time for weekly meetings. We have had our weekly meetings on Fridays. We also had them on Tuesdays, as Monday would be devoted to deadling with the weekend rush of new requests.

I've had 2 bosses who didn't want to change the weekly meeting. But i've also 4 bosses that said when I started "we can change the meeting to a day when everyone is here" . The latter were bosses who had kids and /or their wives/partners had kids and were working part time. The former were bosses who were single/no kids, no outside life, and/or their partners did most of the childcare.

The company I worked for had the top executive repeatedly used to say "all the positions here are part time unless otherwise negotiated". (lucky). So I hope you do work something out. It would be sad if you couldn't, why should parttimers be hounded out because of your bosses inability to work around what should be little stuff like this.

There is lots of good advice here. But let us know how you go, so us mostly lurkers can put your experience into our toolkit for managing bosses like this.

kdiddy Thu 29-Nov-12 18:41:53

Whilst I think he needs a reality check, I also think it is reasonable for a business to expect a couple to share childcare, rather than it fall on one person only. He might be a bit more reasonable with you if you can make some obvious gesture, by getting your DH to cover one of the days. People like your boss often need to see some visible reminder you are committed - even if you know you are.

ilovesooty Thu 29-Nov-12 18:34:18

I agree with Wilson

The meeting on your day off needs tackling: we have two part timers in our team and the team meeting was moved to a day they both work.

The rest of the stuff is, in my view, not unreasonable. And if you lose your funding you will all presumably lose your jobs. I think YABU in refusing to expect your partner to be flexible.

MontBlanc Thu 29-Nov-12 17:59:56

That is a ridiculous argument that you need to plan the week ahead on a Monday, you can plan the following week any day! I really would push on this point.

ethelb Thu 29-Nov-12 17:48:47

Hmm. Our management and planning meetings are all on Mondays tbf. Though my employers do offer lots of flexible working but strongly discourage staff not being in on Mondays.

I would have a sensible chat with hr and see what they think. They might be on your side, they may offer to negotiate other contract terms on which case you could argue something more beneficial for you.

nellyjelly Thu 29-Nov-12 16:54:59

Well his argument is we need to meet weekly to plan for the week ahead on a Monday. My day off. I suppose there is sense in that though why not Friday for the following week?

ethelb Thu 29-Nov-12 15:42:08

I don;t think this is about havign children, I think they are just treating you badly tbh.

However, one big problem with having flexible workers is finding a time to meet up. I mean that in the nicest possible way. Are there other flexible workers who need to attend? is it possible that the meeting can't be held at antoher time.

If it can be contact HR.

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