Author Topic: DH has a work issue...  (Read 16165 times)

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3011
DH has a work issue...
« on: January 24, 2018, 02:56:58 AM »
I just feel the need to talk about it.

DH has a major issue with his direct boss, who doesn't function as a boss. Since the last half year, DH and his 2 people have had a LOT do work with. DH is responsible for how many people they have to work with, but his boss decides how much work must be done. It is impossible to recruit experienced people in our region, so DH's group is still too small for the amount of work. Still, the boss is deciding they have to accept both this and that project. DH is very stressed, as he is the only experienced person in his group and responsible for following up 50 different projects. DH managed to hire 2 new experienced people that will work on another location. But they won't start until april. One colleague in DH's group was about to become a father some time soon, which means in Norway that he will be away from work for a couple of weeks (paid paternity leave).

DH recently had a heart issue. He was prioritized by the hospital and has now received an implant of a device that tris to find out what causes the heart issue. The heart problem was this time much worse than the usual 2 minute issue. This time it lasted for an hour or so and DH felt terrible. We think that him being stressed played a role in causing this heart issue to be so bad. He just got a 2 week (paid) sick leave to relax a bit.

At the start of his sick leave, he went to talk with his boss and one boss over that. They made a plan of different options of hos to deal with the fact that DH would be gone for 2 weeks. DH also told his projects that he would be gone for some time. He then went home, stopped reading work emails and expected the managers above him to implement some of the ideas to solve the work load.

Now the 2 weeks are almost passed. In the weekend we heard that his one group member has become a father, 6 weeks before the planned date. The child is premature and the father probably needs to pay even more attention to the child than in another situation. So this person has started his paternity leave.

DH has to start working again tomorrow. He talked to the other person in his group and found out that this less experienced guy now is sitting all alone without any help. Is seems that nobody has done anything to get help for this inexperienced person. DH's boss has already asked DH when he can come back, as they are now missing a second person (the fresh father). DH is now worried that when he starts working tomorrow, all responsibility for solving any work that they get on their plate will be his and that he will have to work nights and weekend to make end meet. I am also worried about the younger person, who probably has a high workload now and might become overloaded and stressed.

We think the main problem is that DH's boss doesn't work. He is seldom at work, doesn't always appear on important meetings. He is a typical book keeper and is happy as long as DH's group is the most money generating group in the company. He doesn't care that people need to work 150% of their normal working hours to get the work done. He doesn't think of structural solutions, and seemingly can't solved a temporary resource problem either.

DH is now planning to have a serious conversation with his boss to find out what has been done in the past to weeks about the resource situation. And if he is not happy about it, he will talk with the boss at the level above. He eventually wants to threaten to quit, if they don't replace his boss with a better manager. We have the impression that the company needs DH more than they need his manager. But management teams also tend to support each other... DH will have to do these conversations on top of his already full plate of work, so this causes extra stress.

We have a good pile of FU money. We are almost FI, if we manage to get a good price for our clown house. We can easily live of less than my salary. So I gave DH my blessing to play it hard, after first trying to play is softly.
Not having DH's (higher than mine) salary this year would be a set back. But his health and his sanity are more important. He is currently extremely demotivated to start working again and has been demotivated in the past half year to have to do everything alone. Boss has not contributed anything to give DH better working conditions, which  his boss is responsible for.

I am curious how this will end.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 03:38:28 AM by Linda_Norway »

Zamboni

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2111
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2018, 03:03:56 AM »
This work situation certainly sounds like a recipe for disaster. It sounds like your DH has done his best to communicate the issues in a reasonable and professional manner. With his health being at stake, it's probably time for him to give them some version of "this has to change, pronto, or I'm walking permanently."

Good luck!

Loren Ver

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 172
  • Location: Indianapolis IN
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2018, 05:44:30 AM »
This really is terrible.  I like that your husband is trying to work with the company, but his boss is useless.

I think he needs to tell them about the staffing issue, and then tell them he will work his 100% and no more.  If they want all the work done, they need to hire more people and each person works only 100%.  Once some of the work stops getting done, maybe the boss will start paying attention as his books no longer look so good.

I am so glad you husband can walk away if needed.  You two have set your family up well and given yourself options!  Good for you!!

LV

LV

big_slacker

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2018, 06:20:23 AM »
DH is now planning to have a serious conversation with his boss to find out what has been done in the past to weeks about the resource situation. And if he is not happy about it, he will talk with the boss at the level above. He eventually wants to threaten to quit, if they don't replace his boss with a better manager. We have the impression that the company needs DH more than they need his manager. But management teams also tend to support each other... DH will have to do these conversations on top of his already full plate of work, so this causes extra stress.

We have a good pile of FU money. We are almost FI, if we manage to get a good price for our clown house. We can easily live of less than my salary. So I gave DH my blessing to play it hard, after first trying to play is softly.
Not having DH's (higher than mine) salary this year would be a set back. But his health and his sanity are more important. He is currently extremely demotivated to start working again and has been demotivated in the past half year to have to do everything alone. Boss has not contributed anything to give DH better working conditions, which  his boss is responsible for.

I am curious how this will end.

Handling it the right way. Have 'the talk' with the boss, if not satisfied with the next level. If still not satisfied draft a writeup and send to the VP level the same time as your resignation. FWIW I did this at a workplace and although I was already gone I followed through former co-workers and it initiated sweeping change including the eventual termination of the manager and director causing the issues.

Your husband had a job before this job I assume, he can have one after. Or not in your case. :D

He can't have another life if his heart gives out, and in any case why would you want to deal with being miserable for any length of time when you don't have to.

PhilB

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 367
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2018, 06:38:25 AM »
Hi Linda,
Sorry to hear you are having such problems and completely agree with the others that his health has to come first and he needs to make it clear that his health won't permit him to work more than standard hours.  If that still doesn't work, then I'd look seriously into the possibility of just getting him signed off with stress.
One final random thought, how much would the 'clown house' rent for?  Could you just rent it out and live in the mountain cabin off the proceeds for a year or two whilst your husband recovers his health and sanity and your FU money stays invested and building itself towards being FI money?

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3011
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2018, 06:40:39 AM »
Handling it the right way. Have 'the talk' with the boss, if not satisfied with the next level. If still not satisfied draft a writeup and send to the VP level the same time as your resignation. FWIW I did this at a workplace and although I was already gone I followed through former co-workers and it initiated sweeping change including the eventual termination of the manager and director causing the issues.

Your husband had a job before this job I assume, he can have one after. Or not in your case. :D

He can't have another life if his heart gives out, and in any case why would you want to deal with being miserable for any length of time when you don't have to.

He is not miserable with the kind of job in general. He likes this kind of work and likes leading other people. It is just the total amount of work that he boss presses his group to accept, that is too much. Also the fact that his boss is hopeless in many ways, like not organizing any strategy meetings ever and focussing on the wrong kind of projects (hard work for little pay). And oversleeping several times a year and being late for meetings at 10AM. And going on a 10!!! week summer vacation without authorizing anyone else to sign bills during that time. Not signing invoices for many weeks, despite reminders. Not creating a team of group leaders to work together on anything at all. Just weekly meeting about whether every group is meeting their goals. DH has the group that makes most profit in the whole company. When DH says during the meeting that it is difficult to cope with the work with the current resource situation, the answer is: I'm sure you can do it! Never any brainstorming/actions about how to improve the situation.

My suggestion is that the first step is telling the company that he is disappointed in how they handled the situation. And what they are intending to do now. Then later threaten with a choice between boss and DH if that doesn't have any effect.

By the way, DH has earlier gotten a direct manager replaced by have a structured meeting with the company, and having support from the rest of the group.

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3011
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2018, 06:43:13 AM »
Hi Linda,
Sorry to hear you are having such problems and completely agree with the others that his health has to come first and he needs to make it clear that his health won't permit him to work more than standard hours.  If that still doesn't work, then I'd look seriously into the possibility of just getting him signed off with stress.
One final random thought, how much would the 'clown house' rent for?  Could you just rent it out and live in the mountain cabin off the proceeds for a year or two whilst your husband recovers his health and sanity and your FU money stays invested and building itself towards being FI money?

The mountain hut has a drinking water issue during the winter. Melding snow is a lot of work. So not really a place to live fulltime.
DH is visiting his GP today and will ask for a 50% of so sick leave for another few weeks. In this way he can start working, but not having to work 100%, which in reality will lead to 150%.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3594
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2018, 07:25:16 AM »
The thing is, his boss can accept any projects he wants.

And your H can choose what projects he actually does.

He doesn't have to quit. He can just put in 40 hours and go home. At the end of each week he can send out a summary email up the chain that says "this week my teacher prioritized xyz. We did not work on ABC. In order to work on xyz and abc, we wiill need an additional 4 team members. Until those people are hired, we will continue to work on xyz unless given different direction."

Then if boss emails "work on all of them", he emails back, cc'ing big bosses, "if we work on all the projects, it will push the completion date out until x date. I will redistribute work to my team members, but please confirm that you understand we will miss xyz deadlines."

He doesn't have to bend over and take it.

SC93

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 618
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2018, 07:30:37 AM »
There is always a great thing about working for someone else..... what doesn't get done today will still be there tomorrow.... or the next day.... or next week. He just needs to slow down and when things get done, they get done. Why worry? Do you know what happens if the worst hits and he eventually gets fired? He can sleep late!!! <<< That's what I used to tell every boss of mine.

Both of you are upset about nothing. Settle down, tell your husband to tell them what the thinks and get everything off his chest so he feels 100% better. Let it be known that he can quit at any time and whom ever is above his boss will more than likely make some changes if your husband really is that important to the company. If they fire him, he was probably more important in his mind than in reality. I've seen this more often than not.

Schaefer Light

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1034
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2018, 07:39:29 AM »
He doesn't have to quit. He can just put in 40 hours and go home.

This was going to be my suggestion.  Just get as much done as you can in 40 hours and let the rest wait until next week.

Dave1442397

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 769
  • Location: NJ
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2018, 10:16:58 AM »
The thing is, his boss can accept any projects he wants.

And your H can choose what projects he actually does.

He doesn't have to quit. He can just put in 40 hours and go home. At the end of each week he can send out a summary email up the chain that says "this week my teacher prioritized xyz. We did not work on ABC. In order to work on xyz and abc, we wiill need an additional 4 team members. Until those people are hired, we will continue to work on xyz unless given different direction."

Then if boss emails "work on all of them", he emails back, cc'ing big bosses, "if we work on all the projects, it will push the completion date out until x date. I will redistribute work to my team members, but please confirm that you understand we will miss xyz deadlines."

He doesn't have to bend over and take it.

This is exactly how I would handle it. I've been lucky enough to not run into this situation more than a couple of times, but I always put it back on management - prioritize!


Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3081
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2018, 10:29:19 AM »
The thing is, his boss can accept any projects he wants.

And your H can choose what projects he actually does.

He doesn't have to quit. He can just put in 40 hours and go home. At the end of each week he can send out a summary email up the chain that says "this week my teacher prioritized xyz. We did not work on ABC. In order to work on xyz and abc, we wiill need an additional 4 team members. Until those people are hired, we will continue to work on xyz unless given different direction."

Then if boss emails "work on all of them", he emails back, cc'ing big bosses, "if we work on all the projects, it will push the completion date out until x date. I will redistribute work to my team members, but please confirm that you understand we will miss xyz deadlines."

He doesn't have to bend over and take it.

This is exactly how I would handle it. I've been lucky enough to not run into this situation more than a couple of times, but I always put it back on management - prioritize!

I just started a new job, and my new manager has commented a few times that this is what she's doing this year, after having workload be very off balance last year. There's some problems with the workload for later in the year. I'm not going to work myself to death because the manager setting the schedule is clueless.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11340
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2018, 10:46:03 AM »
He doesn't have to quit. He can just put in 40 hours and go home.

This was going to be my suggestion.  Just get as much done as you can in 40 hours and let the rest wait until next week.

+1

I think that part of the problem is that your husband has simply taken on too much.  Some managers don't listen to what employees say as long as they keep seeing success.

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3011
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2018, 10:55:49 AM »
The GP has given DH a 100% sick leave for the next two weeks, instead of the 50% he asked for. GP knows from statistics that people with a heart issue can become severely depressed after 4 weeks. GP asked a lot of deeper questions and decided DH should not be working right now.
DH is going to talk to his boss anyway tomorrow, to hear what is done. And talk to a HR person about his boss. Last night, when he was laying awake, he made a long list of factual issues of what is boss doesn't do. He will talk vaguely about it and deliver the list if they ask him to be more concrete. We had a good laugh this afternoon when we discussed how this might end. DH is thinking that if he is fired at the end, that might be a good first step to start his own one man consultancy firm. He wanted to do something like that after FIRE anyway. He already has many customers who always ask specifically for him.

Today, the boss' boss asked the remaining guy in DHs group what he preferred, hiring a Swedish guy (who is unfamiliar with Norwegian rules in the field) or hiring a person from a Norwegian competitor. So something might be happening now to solve the immediate resource problem.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 12:45:21 PM by Linda_Norway »

acroy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1704
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Dallas TX
    • SWAMI
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2018, 11:14:12 AM »
whew!
Hubby needs to take care of his health first. prioritize that for sure. The company will be fine with or without him. Sounds like you are OK on the money front. That is the point of having FU money, right? No need to stress about work!
Good luck and prayers sent your way!

Laura33

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2004
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2018, 01:25:56 PM »
Linda, first, so sorry for this. 

Second, I have experience with bad bosses, and I can tell you that you never make progress by complaining about how bad the boss is -- that sounds like you're whining and forces the bigger boss to decide who is telling the truth, and that decision almost always goes to the person who has the big boss' direct ear.  And unfortunately, it is always the best employees who are the most hurt, because they are the ones willing to go above and beyond to get the job done -- and the bad bosses will take maximum advantage of that willingness for as long as they can.

So you do two things.  First, internally, your DH has to redefine his job as "do the best I can for 40 hrs/week," not "get everything done no matter the cost."  He is being taken advantage of, and the bad boss will continue to do so for as long as your DH lets him get away with it.

Second, instead of attacking with vague, broad claims like how bad a manager your boss is and how you don't have the resources you need, you manage your boss in a way that demonstrates that the problem is his "management" style, not your lack of effort, along the lines of what MayDay suggested.  I.e.:

Every Friday (or Monday first thing), prepare a work plan for the team for the week -- your DH lists his top priorities and identifies the work that can reasonably be done on those priorities in 40 hrs by each available team member.  He then sends this to the bad boss, framed up as his understanding of the tasks/deadlines/priorities, and asks his boss to let him know if the boss would prefer different priorities.  If they discuss this in person, he should follow up with an email laying out the complete schedule. 

Because the boss is lazy, the boss may well ignore this, and your DH is good to go!  But if the boss responds that "everything" needs to be done, then your DH revises the schedule to add some work on the projects your boss wants to include and then pushes the due dates back on everything else.  Rinse, repeat: send it to the boss as his understanding based on their subsequent discussion, and ask him again to let him know if the boss wants any further changes.   

If the boss again responds saying, no, it all needs to get done, the next response is that ok, doing that will require XX more man-hours (if he can break it down by project/task, that would be great), which will require YY more people, and does he have authorization to hire those additional people?  And until he can find those people and bring them onboard, which of the first two options would the boss prefer?  The ultimate point is to always, always provide the boss options -- but all of those options are "things that can be done in 40 hrs/wk." 

As the team is working over the course of the week, if additional work comes in, each new task should be handled by revising the existing schedule to accommodate the new work -- not by adding more hours in the day, but by pushing other work back.  That again goes to the bad boss, and you repeat the process -- this should all be phrased as "here is my plan, please let me know if you would prefer me to handle this in some other way."  Then at the end of the week, he wraps things up with another email summarizing everything that was completed according to the plan.

Of course, the shit is going to hit the fan at some point, because bad boss keeps bringing in more work than they can manage.  But that's ok!  Because when that happens, and the bad boss starts yelling at him about why didn't he do XYZ on project ABC, your DH can just look befuddled and say that he was only working on the priorities and schedule that the bad boss approved (and present the schedule to back it up).

The key here is that he is (1) setting the expectations for himself and his team at a manageable level, (2) demonstrating his own professionalism (calmy focusing on getting the job done and making sure his team's efforts are aligned with corporate priorities), while (3) creating an excellent paper trail of facts that point directly to his boss as the problem here (which is both his own best defense and the necessary first step to getting the bad boss fired -- again, management is not going to fire his boss because someone whines he doesn't have enough resources; but if you have a lovely paper trail showing you executed perfectly on the plan that your boss approved, you are giving the big boss the documentation he needs to fire the bad boss).  That way, if things come to a head, he doesn't need to argue, or get upset, or be emotionally involved at all:  the documents speak for themselves.

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3011
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2018, 02:08:27 PM »
Good advice, @Laura33. I will tell him the strategy.
Yes, he can hire new people, but as the company is not more attractive than the competition, doesn't pay more and doesn't have more interesting projects, it is difficult to get people to change jobs. They either become too expensive, so that their hourly rates towards the customer become too high, or they won't move.
Only option is hiring a fresh person from the university. But it costs a lot of time to make such a person productive. DH managed to hire two people in a different location, which is fine. And he hired a young person. But they all don't start for several months. In Norway you can only leave your job after three full months, compared to the USA two weeks. So the main concern is how to survive until april. Boss thinks april is around the corner, so why do anything immediately.

netskyblue

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 629
  • Location: Midwest USA
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2018, 03:09:38 PM »
the company is not more attractive than the competition, doesn't pay more and doesn't have more interesting projects

So why doesn't he just go to work for the competition?  This company isn't offering him what he wants, and he's not financially dependent on this job to the point where he couldn't keep the lights on if he had to take a pay cut.  He's had his warning - he could LITERALLY die if he can't cut the stress.  Not worth it.

Bicycle_B

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1868
  • Mustachian-ish in Live Music Capital of the World
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2018, 03:39:57 PM »
Sounds like DH wants to get everything done even though there are too few resources.  But his heart is a finite resource too.  The work won't get done if he has a heart attack.

Boss is not going to stop.  DH can choose between his pride and risking death, which includes his wife living the rest of his life without him.  What is the money for if not to give him freedom?  What percentage of customers would it take to complete full FI plan if he leaves and starts his own business, assuming he preserves his health?  Has anyone asked him which is better, salving his pride or leaving you husband-less after a heart attack?

I don't see how they could fire him if he slows down.  But either he or his body will make the decision.  Best of luck to you both.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 04:17:21 PM by Bicycle_B »

NoraLenderbee

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1244
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2018, 03:58:43 PM »
@Laura33gives excellent advice. I will add that the hardest part about this approach is actually living your boundaries. It's one thing to say "I will work X hours and no more." It's quite another thing to actually pack up and leave at the scheduled time, knowing that your desk is piled with work. For a responsible and self-sacrificing person, this can feel like shirking, being irresponsible, letting the team down, and so on, and can generate a tremendous feeling of guilt. DH may need a lot of encouragement and reassurance.

Also remember that unless *he* takes these steps, nothing will change. The bad boss will not change. No amount of explaining to him will change things. *He* has to do it.

Some useful wording:
"I understand new project X is a priority. Which other project do you want me to put aside in order to focus on project X?"
This reminds the boss that DH's time is finite and pushes the responsibility for setting priorites back to the boss.




big_slacker

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2018, 07:13:14 PM »
Handling it the right way. Have 'the talk' with the boss, if not satisfied with the next level. If still not satisfied draft a writeup and send to the VP level the same time as your resignation. FWIW I did this at a workplace and although I was already gone I followed through former co-workers and it initiated sweeping change including the eventual termination of the manager and director causing the issues.

Your husband had a job before this job I assume, he can have one after. Or not in your case. :D

He can't have another life if his heart gives out, and in any case why would you want to deal with being miserable for any length of time when you don't have to.

He is not miserable with the kind of job in general. He likes this kind of work and likes leading other people. It is just the total amount of work that he boss presses his group to accept, that is too much. Also the fact that his boss is hopeless in many ways, like not organizing any strategy meetings ever and focussing on the wrong kind of projects (hard work for little pay). And oversleeping several times a year and being late for meetings at 10AM. And going on a 10!!! week summer vacation without authorizing anyone else to sign bills during that time. Not signing invoices for many weeks, despite reminders. Not creating a team of group leaders to work together on anything at all. Just weekly meeting about whether every group is meeting their goals. DH has the group that makes most profit in the whole company. When DH says during the meeting that it is difficult to cope with the work with the current resource situation, the answer is: I'm sure you can do it! Never any brainstorming/actions about how to improve the situation.

My suggestion is that the first step is telling the company that he is disappointed in how they handled the situation. And what they are intending to do now. Then later threaten with a choice between boss and DH if that doesn't have any effect.

By the way, DH has earlier gotten a direct manager replaced by have a structured meeting with the company, and having support from the rest of the group.

I get it, a good job vs a crappy job could be the same duties but tighter timelines or more work in the queue. This is why one on one meetings with the boss and being clear that he's fine with X, Y and Z being needed but there is only time for 2 so pick which ones are the priority. Whether that meeting is viewed as just normal expectation setting or your husband being lazy depends on the relationship with the manager and the same thing with upper management. I try to always have good working relationships with my managers whether I like them or not. Even a manager that is bad at their job can realize that their 'sergeant' is trying to keep them from stepping on a landmine. :D

If they don't and are truly clueless your husband always has the option of working somewhere else. So projects aren't as exciting, what does that matter? It's better than a f'in heart attack!

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3011
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2018, 11:15:23 PM »
I get it. Setting clear boundaries for how much work you can accept and let the boss choose within the limits.

DH definitively has his pride. He wants to do a good job and keep a good reputation towards his customers. He told me yesterday that he will deny taking on so much work that it will lower the quality of his work. If the company wants him to do it, he will leave. So he was defining some of his boundaries for himself.

I think that otherwise he likes working with his colleagues. He is now also thinking finances. If he tells the company that he cannot work together with this boss, maybe he can leave with a nice goodbye package.

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3011
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2018, 11:17:54 PM »
the company is not more attractive than the competition, doesn't pay more and doesn't have more interesting projects

So why doesn't he just go to work for the competition?  This company isn't offering him what he wants, and he's not financially dependent on this job to the point where he couldn't keep the lights on if he had to take a pay cut.  He's had his warning - he could LITERALLY die if he can't cut the stress.  Not worth it.

He got the good pay and a nice challenge in building up a bigger group. But without these things it is difficult to make people change their job. If they would have had a prestige project, it would be easier.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2018, 12:33:42 AM by Linda_Norway »

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3011
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2018, 12:37:17 AM »
DH said this morning that he has tried to let his boss prioritize his work, without getting any help from that direction. He also doesn't want to do his boss' job by making a prioritized list himself.

We have now agreed on that he will try for 1-3 months to get his boss replaced. If not, he will go or let himself be fired (with a goodbye package). The company has no negative things to FIRE him on, as he has been delivering very good work all the time. It's just that he cannot cooperate with his boss anymore.

Trifele

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1356
  • Location: US
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2018, 04:43:34 AM »
DH said this morning that he has tried to let his boss prioritize his work, without getting any help from that direction. He also doesn't want to do his boss' job by making a prioritized list himself.

We have now agreed on that he will try for 1-3 months to get his boss replaced. If not, he will go or let himself be fired (with a goodbye package). The company has no negative things to FIRE him on, as he has been delivering very good work all the time. It's just that he cannot cooperate with his boss anymore.

Hey Linda. I'm sorry you and DH are going through this.  MayDay, Laura33, and others have given some great advice above. I'll just add one comment to your statement above.  DH making a prioritized list each week isn't doing Boss's job . . .  it's a strategy to set expectations and create a professional paper trail that can be shown to Bigger Bosses.  It could give him exactly the ammunition he needs if his goal is to replace Boss.

Good luck to you both!! 

former player

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3305
  • Location: Avalon
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2018, 05:18:27 AM »
DH said this morning that he has tried to let his boss prioritize his work, without getting any help from that direction. He also doesn't want to do his boss' job by making a prioritized list himself.

We have now agreed on that he will try for 1-3 months to get his boss replaced. If not, he will go or let himself be fired (with a goodbye package). The company has no negative things to FIRE him on, as he has been delivering very good work all the time. It's just that he cannot cooperate with his boss anymore.

Hey Linda. I'm sorry you and DH are going through this.  MayDay, Laura33, and others have given some great advice above. I'll just add one comment to your statement above.  DH making a prioritized list each week isn't doing Boss's job . . .  it's a strategy to set expectations and create a professional paper trail that can be shown to Bigger Bosses.  It could give him exactly the ammunition he needs if his goal is to replace Boss.

Good luck to you both!!
I agree with Trifele.  In an ideal world, DH would be right that the prioritised list is bad Boss's job.  DH has apparently still not internalised that he is not working in an ideal world, he is working in a world in which bad Boss has been throwing him under the bus for years.  In that situation, DH isn't doing bad Boss' job by making a list, he is putting in place essential defences against bad Boss.

I hope that you will ensure that DH limits his working hours to 40.  Don't let him work late in the evening: phone him at the end of the normal working day to get him to come home if need be.  Don't let him bring work home or work on the weekends. 

As to the time DH is at work, every Monday morning he needs to send bad Boss, copied to bad Boss's manager, a list headed "projects on which no progress will be made this week because of lack of resources".  As he is conscientious, he may wish to suggest that bad Boss or bad Boss' manager should perhaps contact the clients to keep them updated on the lack of progress.  And then DH should forget about what he is not doing and each week just take on and complete the reasonable amount of work which he has planned for him and his team.

Dave1442397

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 769
  • Location: NJ
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #26 on: January 25, 2018, 05:48:35 AM »
If his manager can't prioritize, it sounds like your husband is easily capable of making his own list of projects and prioritizing things. I would make a list of all projects in progress, arranged in the order that they will be worked on. Send that to the manager with a note that says "This is my list of projects for the week/month/quarter, and the order in which I plan to work on them. If you wish to make any changes, please let me know asap", or words to that effect.

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3011
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2018, 11:16:01 AM »
DH talked today with his boss. Reaction was as usual. Then he talked with a HR lady. She concluded with that the company had treated him wrongly. She said she would understand if he didn't bother to come back. She also said he is considered very valuable by many employees. So it seems that he has an ally in her and we hope she is heard by the management.

Laura33

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2004
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2018, 11:53:50 AM »
DH said this morning that he has tried to let his boss prioritize his work, without getting any help from that direction. He also doesn't want to do his boss' job by making a prioritized list himself.

We have now agreed on that he will try for 1-3 months to get his boss replaced. If not, he will go or let himself be fired (with a goodbye package). The company has no negative things to FIRE him on, as he has been delivering very good work all the time. It's just that he cannot cooperate with his boss anymore.

Hey Linda. I'm sorry you and DH are going through this.  MayDay, Laura33, and others have given some great advice above. I'll just add one comment to your statement above.  DH making a prioritized list each week isn't doing Boss's job . . .  it's a strategy to set expectations and create a professional paper trail that can be shown to Bigger Bosses.  It could give him exactly the ammunition he needs if his goal is to replace Boss.

Good luck to you both!!

+1.  This is not "doing the boss' job."  This is "CYA 101" and "how to get the bad boss fired."  Refusing to do this because you shouldn't have to is called "cutting off your nose to spite your face" -- because 9 times out of 10, you're the one who bears the blame when things go wrong if you can't affirmatively prove that the other guy did it.

More broadly, "managing up" is a critical business skill.  Even when you have a great, proactive boss, you want to make sure that the boss knows what you are working on and that you are meeting the boss' expectations -- that is part of your job.  And the best way to do that is exactly what we have talked about here -- regular emails saying this is what I am working on, and then periodic updates to demonstrate that you met the schedule. 
« Last Edit: January 25, 2018, 11:55:31 AM by Laura33 »

trollwithamustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 521
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2018, 12:08:19 PM »

Every Friday (or Monday first thing), prepare a work plan for the team for the week -- your DH lists his top priorities and identifies the work that can reasonably be done on those priorities in 40 hrs by each available team member.  He then sends this to the bad boss, framed up as his understanding of the tasks/deadlines/priorities, and asks his boss to let him know if the boss would prefer different priorities.  If they discuss this in person, he should follow up with an email laying out the complete schedule. 



This is outstanding advice. I would add that the work list should always have below it the total work list/backlog list... A lot of disorganized companies end up with multiple lists. one of my client bosses has a compliance projects list, a safety projects list, a special maintenance items list, and a general capital projects list. But his company never looks at all 4 together since they are in different databases so its hard for him to explain why he is always behind.

The Work list also helps one take pride in what one got done and what extra got done, even if the backlog remains.

NevermindScrooge

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 44
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Noord Nederland
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2018, 03:26:51 PM »
Hi Linda,

So sorry to hear about these troubles. I have no advice or insights to add, the good people of the internet have provided some really good stuff! (I'm taking notes, seriously).
I just wanted to sent some internet-support as I know how these kind of issues can eat away your happiness and self-esteem. The way I read it, your husband really cares about his work, and to be able to cope with Crappy Boss he would have to care less. But your husband doesn't want to change in a less-caring person! HE (Crappy Boss) should change! It's horribly unfair and now your husband has to do things that don't fit his personality (i.e. assembling a paper trail to get Crappy Boss fired). And when you're already in a sub-optimal state healthwise, this is extra difficult.
I would love to help, but all I can do is point to the other guys who said all the smart things: ^^ "what they said". It will be hard and it will be less-than-fun, but the way I see it it's probably for the best. Try to be as ice-cold and professional as possible, these things take time for management to 1) acknowledge that there might be a tiny bit of an issue; 2) find out that it's one of them that is the issue; 3) realize that this tiny issue could have consequences that will touch them; 4) realize that there is a paper trail so they can't deny it; 5) find someone else to blame; 6) realize that they actually have to do something; 7) delegate the 'doing of something' to someone else (and probably blame them as well). It's not how the world should be, but unfortunately this is how it works (in a lot of cases).

Am I cynical? Can't be, I'm way too young, right? Guys?

Anyway, hopefully this will all end quickly and smoothly, would you mind sending updates? Best of luck!

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3011
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #31 on: February 05, 2018, 09:23:48 AM »
A little update...

Today DH had a lunch meeting with his boss's boss. This higher boss promised that they will hire other resources, no matter the cost. He also promised to solve the problems with the boss, but nothing concrete yet. He also said they don't want to loose DH. The hiring of extra help is now ongoing. DH is now in his last week of sickleave and is still not reading job email.

DH has given him some good reasons to show that his direct boss is not doing his work, like never having a personal chat with people outside the yearly review meeting. And like picking the wrong kind of projects in a branch that is hard to earn money.

By the way, the direct boss did call DH during his sickleave, while in a project meeting, asking wether DH had read his email and could help with the projecs. I asked at my work and you are really not supposed to let a person in sickleave work. You can only make a personal call to ask how things are going.

craiglepaige

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1165
  • Location: Ohio
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #32 on: February 05, 2018, 10:46:25 AM »
Sorry that your husband is going through all this.

As an auto technician I've been in a similar situation as your husband, although in a much smaller scale.  I clock in at 8am and leave at 4:30pm - within those hours, I can only work on so many vehicles - usually 5-6 cars per day.

With that said, and extrapolating by the 10 techs we have in the shop, the front desk should not schedule over 50-60 cars per day. Guess what, new service manager comes in two years ago and he decides to let anyone come in at any time they want within the service hours.  So within a few weeks, we are carrying over 5-10 cars per day. And it snowballs into 10-20.

Most of the techs, being blinded by the extra money, start staying late, coming in on Saturdays and working through their lunches. I keep coming in at 8am and leaving on time at 4:30pm - because MMM ;).  A year later, we have already lost two of our best techs because they got burned out. Too much work and family problems because money doesn't buy real happiness.  They hired a few guys but the new crop of techs is pretty much crap and they leave.

With the lack of techs and the extra work, everyone is feeling the crunch, specially the guys  at the front desk and the service manager himself because now you have  angry customers waiting for their cars. Us techs, we have slowed our pace and hardly anyone stays late or comes in in their days off - it's not worth it. We had a meeting last August where the GM asked about the situation in the shop and we all pretty much said the same, "It sucks and things need to change before we all start looking for other work.". A week later we all got raises and the scheduling has gone down to a workable amount.

There are only so many hours in a day and days in week. Have your husband voice his opinion in an honest manner and be ready to walk if they keep fucking with him. If the people above your husband's boss know any better, they will realize how difficult it is to higher competent talent. If not, they won't give two shits about the extra work and stress your husband and the team is going through. Find another employer.

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3011
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #33 on: February 05, 2018, 11:01:24 AM »
@craiglepaige . Your situation sounded tough. Pity for those two burned out colleagues, but good for the rest of you that it worked out in the end.

DH has now made up his mind that he will leave in a couple of months if things don't change. He has hinted this very clearly to the higher boss.

craiglepaige

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1165
  • Location: Ohio
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #34 on: February 05, 2018, 11:34:23 AM »
@craiglepaige . Your situation sounded tough. Pity for those two burned out colleagues, but good for the rest of you that it worked out in the end.

DH has now made up his mind that he will leave in a couple of months if things don't change. He has hinted this very clearly to the higher boss.

In the automotive world that's pretty much the norm. That's why you have a lot of divorced or alcoholic service advisors and techs.  No lie.

Glad your husband has decided to follow through. Best of luck ;)

Astatine

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3550
  • Location: Australia
  • Pronouns: they/them
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #35 on: February 05, 2018, 10:07:28 PM »
Just found this thread. Good luck! I hope your DH gets the best possible outcome, and that his stress goes down. Health is important.

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3011
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #36 on: February 14, 2018, 11:30:34 AM »
DH was back at work from yesterday and is today totally frustrated.
The company has given the most complicated and prioritized project to a Swedish experienced person, which is good. But DH's young colleague is sitting alone with 15 projects and did not receive help prioritizing. He is doing what is easiest. Deadlines are piling up. The whole department is a big chaos.
DH has had 4-5 meetings with the company during his sickleave. Still, almost nothing has been done. Tomorrow he plans to become unpolite to his boss and telling him he is angry and can't work this way.
By the way, when DH appeared at work again his boss sent an email, asking him if he could look at a new project. Boss didn't ask any personal question at all. Typical...

dandarc

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3139
  • Age: 35
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #37 on: February 14, 2018, 11:39:07 AM »
I'd suggest "Here's my resignation" as the next communication with boss.  But then I'm nearly to "quit without another job lined up" territory myself, so I may be projecting my general displeasure with my own work situation onto your husband.

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3011
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #38 on: February 14, 2018, 11:44:38 AM »
I'd suggest "Here's my resignation" as the next communication with boss.  But then I'm nearly to "quit without another job lined up" territory myself, so I may be projecting my general displeasure with my own work situation onto your husband.

That is what I asked, whether he was willing to pull the door behind him tomorrow. It would be an unmustachian decision. But he is willing to make it a choice to the boss above: DH or boss.

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2666
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #39 on: February 14, 2018, 03:43:38 PM »
I'd suggest "Here's my resignation" as the next communication with boss.  But then I'm nearly to "quit without another job lined up" territory myself, so I may be projecting my general displeasure with my own work situation onto your husband.

That is what I asked, whether he was willing to pull the door behind him tomorrow. It would be an unmustachian decision. But he is willing to make it a choice to the boss above: DH or boss.
If DH's boss is not accepting responsibility for setting DH's priorities, then DH needs to be more forceful, and give Boss a clear choice.  I.e.

DH: "We have 50 projects.  Here is how much work is required for each.  Which would you like us to work on first?"
Boss: "Um, do them all."
DH: "I can only work on one project at a time.  Which do you want completed first?"
Boss: "We'll hire more people, so don't worry about it."
DH:  "It takes time to find, hire, and train new people.  In the meantime, which project do you want first?"

Just keep asking the question until you get an answer.  I had a similar situation a few years ago.  I have two bosses (it's a partnership), and there are times when they both have given me high-priority work at the same time.  I called them together and asked them to work out between the two of them which was the higher priority.

Boss apparently doesn't recognize that his employees are a finite resource, and hasn't (yet) experienced the negative consequences of poorly managing that resource, nor has he been challenged strongly enough to recognize that he actually needs to make decisions as a manager.

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3011
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #40 on: February 15, 2018, 11:38:48 AM »
DH talked to his boss today. Boss said he had no idea that this was going on... So during 5 weeks and after five meetings that DH had during his sick leave about this subject, the boss has not managed to organize anything more than 1 project. He also didn't organize anyone else to manage the projects. Just left the young colleague alone. DH thought there was no point fighting with his boss today, as the man is a hopeless case. He just shook his head and walked out.
DH has made an appointment with the HR lady tomorrow and will tell her that when he comes back from vacation after next week, he won't be working with this boss. That they can either remove this boss from him during next week or give DH a good severance package. He doesn't think it is reasonable to quit by himself, as that will cost him money, without it being his fault. It is not easy at all for him to find a job in a similar position with similar pay.

NoraLenderbee

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1244
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #41 on: February 16, 2018, 03:18:42 PM »
Good for him. Please let us know how the meeting with HR Lady goes.

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3011
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #42 on: February 27, 2018, 09:59:33 PM »
Today DH had his talk with the big boss and the HR lady. They were in defend-your-own-back modus. They said the had offered the unexperienced guy help from Sweden and blamed this young man for not taking more initiative to use it. Obviously it is was okay for them to not follow up this young guy closely during 5 weeks amd let him be responsible for 15 or so projects on his own.

DH is quite disappointed by the reaction of the big boss. And the HR lady is now backing up the company and not DH. His group will probably be placed under another department, as he told them he cannot work with his current boss anymore. The other guy who had become a parent is now back at work. So they are back with 3 people doing the work of 4.

Now DH will consider his options:
- Continue this current function in another department for approximately 1,5 year and then FIRE.
- Go work for to the competitor as only a consultant, not a group leader. This will pay slightly less and might be less intellectually challenging, but would not delay FIRE much.
- Start his own consultancy firm and accept as much work as he can manage. Maybe hire himself back to some of the good customers at his current company. The downside of being a one-man firm is that you don't have anyone to do the peer review of your reports, which they do in this branch. The other thing is that you need to do all tasks yourself, including the ones that could have been done by a cheaper person. Upside would be that he can build up what will be his side husstle later. The pay might be good, as there is good money to he made in this branch, but more uncertain.
- Do something completely different, like becoming a bicycle repair man. This would pay a LOT less then his current income and would probably delay our FIRE.
- A combination of some of the things above.

I have told him that I would prefer the other options than the bicycle repair man, just to be able to FIRE in 2020.

In Norway we have a 3 full calender month period before your can quite your job after resigning. DH does not want to rush things before the end of February. If he would resign in the beginning of March, that would give hom another 4 months to work. We think they might not let him stay there for the full period, so maybe they will let him leave after a month, while on the paylist for another 3. That would give him time to prepare for his own company.

We will see what he decides...

Astatine

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3550
  • Location: Australia
  • Pronouns: they/them
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #43 on: February 27, 2018, 10:11:48 PM »
I'm sorry to hear he didn't get the answer he wanted. I hope the long term outcome is good for the both of you.

Mustache ride

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 70
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #44 on: February 28, 2018, 06:46:55 AM »
HR works for the company, not the workers. Their job is to limit the company's liability and exposure. It would be foolish to rely on someone who's job is in direct conflict with what you're trying to accomplish.

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3011
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #45 on: February 28, 2018, 07:08:29 AM »
HR works for the company, not the workers. Their job is to limit the company's liability and exposure. It would be foolish to rely on someone who's job is in direct conflict with what you're trying to accomplish.

It was not unexpected. We have experienced HR people before and are very aware that HR is a part of the company management. But the lady behaved in such an sympathetic way in the beginning, telling that the company had failed DH, that she gave the impression of being alright. Obviously now she is back online with the rest of the management backing up the company.

What I don't understand is that they/she are not afraid of DH quitting his job, or don't realize that he really is very close to quitting. DH thinks they might have gotten the impression that he is anxious to keep his job, as he is trying so hard to improve things. It would be very hard for them to replace DH and the company would have a problem. And I really don't understand why they let the direct boss stay in his function, not doing much work at all. That man is not beneficial for the company to keep.

Trifele

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1356
  • Location: US
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #46 on: February 28, 2018, 07:24:59 AM »
HR works for the company, not the workers. Their job is to limit the company's liability and exposure. It would be foolish to rely on someone who's job is in direct conflict with what you're trying to accomplish.

It was not unexpected. We have experienced HR people before and are very aware that HR is a part of the company management. But the lady behaved in such an sympathetic way in the beginning, telling that the company had failed DH, that she gave the impression of being alright. Obviously now she is back online with the rest of the management backing up the company.

What I don't understand is that they/she are not afraid of DH quitting his job, or don't realize that he really is very close to quitting. DH thinks they might have gotten the impression that he is anxious to keep his job, as he is trying so hard to improve things. It would be very hard for them to replace DH and the company would have a problem. And I really don't understand why they let the direct boss stay in his function, not doing much work at all. That man is not beneficial for the company to keep.

I bet that's it Linda -- they probably do not appreciate that he is close to walking out the door.  So sorry you both are going through this.  These situations are tough, but hopefully you'll be in a better place soon. 

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2666
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #47 on: February 28, 2018, 08:00:41 AM »
So...are they calling his bluff?  Then it may be time to lay the cards on the table.

Tuskalusa

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 228
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #48 on: February 28, 2018, 08:22:48 AM »
Agree that itís time to call their bluff and give notice.

One of the greatest benefits of Mustacian life is that you have the power to walk away. In this case, I think itís time to use that power. The company will either recognize that DH is serious and make changes, or DH will be free to leave and find a new opportunity. Either way, you will be fine.

former player

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3305
  • Location: Avalon
Re: DH has a work issue...
« Reply #49 on: February 28, 2018, 08:43:15 AM »
Sorry about DH's experience with HR, but yes, HR work for "the man".

And I really don't understand why they let the direct boss stay in his function, not doing much work at all. That man is not beneficial for the company to keep.

In my experience the reason these useless types are allowed to hang around is that they spend all their time and effort in "managing upwards": that is, they angle everything they do to looking good to management and telling management what they want to hear.   If this is true of DH's boss, then it probably means that you are right: they have no idea how close DH is to walking out of the door, or how much money they would lose (through lost and uncompleted projects) if he did.

Does DH have a trades union?  I'm guessing not and that you would have mentioned it before if he did.

DH might think about writing a memo to Big Boss saying "1) Thanks for the meeting, 2) We agreed useless boss is to be taken off this work as he has failed to contribute value or manage the understaffing in an appropriate manner, 3) Unfortunately the long-term understaffing of this work, combined with my absence due to serious illness and useless boss's failure to manage matters in my absence has left us in an untenable position.  Routine workloads require 4 staff when we only have three, and there is a backlog of 15 projects which can only get worse as long as the understaffing continues, 4) My health does not permit me to take on more than a usual workload for the hours I work.  5)  While I appreciate that the move to a different department is intended to improve matters, it does not resolve the problem that we are understaffed and it does not provide any means for dealing with the backlog of work which has built up.  6)  The medical advice that I have received is that without significant changes to staffing or workload it would be preferable for me to manage my workloads by taking on an appropriate workload as a consultant to the company.  7)  I would be happy to discuss this with you further, and hope that you will be able to find time to schedule a meeting to discuss this in the very near future."

DH's health problems don't sound good.  It would be better to have him a healthy bicycle repair man than an unhealthy or (worst case) dead workplace drone.