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Saturday, August 27, 2005

thoughts on employee relations

i am starting to learn that as i age, i am not the only one who's changing. this fine saturday morning, i went to help an old friend/bride-to-be pick up her dress form a local bridal store. she hasn't asked much of me as her wedding approaches, so i was happy to help, but i hadn't spent much quality time with her in the last few years. it was fine overall, but i was somewhat surprised by her attitude toward her employees. she's still under 30, so she's a young boss with her own relatively new, but quite successful small company. she was telling me a rather entertaining story about how her friend (and other bridesmaid/bride-to-be) fell into the gap between the subway and platform while shuttling to her bridal appointment with her dress and manolo blahniks. her friend had asked her to join her at the hospital when she went to get stitches (after her fitting, of course), but my friend couldn't go because she had her own fitting, so she sent her assistant instead. granted she didn't tell her assistant that she had to go with her friend but asked if she would. if i were her assistant, though, i would have been royally peeved. you can't exactly say "no" to your boss, but you can resent her for the rest of your employ. being in the "assistant"category myself, i was quick to point out that i would have had interesting things to mutter under my breath if my boss had asked me to do such a chore. she seemed surprised... she felt that the assistant was freeing up her time which was more valuable for the company. i replied that that's fine, so should she do your laundry because that frees up more of your valuable time?

she then told me another story about another new employee. apparently, this employee was told when she was hired that my friend would be busy planning her wedding for the first few weeks but would later have a chance to train her and get her more involved. my friend was put off however when this new employee who spent most of the day cutting cards for the wedding, asked if she would be done by 6:30pm (yes -- 6:30!) because she had plans to go out with her boyfriend. i really didn't know how to respond. i was disgusted by my friend at this point. had she totally forgotten what it was like to be a grunt? i mean it's one thing if you told the employee when she was hired that she would be expected to do personal errands, but if not, then you are totally taking advantage of your situation as the employer. yuck!

so i ask you, am i over-reacting? should employees of small firms be expected to run personal errands for their boss? (i'm still bewildered by the whole idea that my friends have assistants.)

2 comments:

metsfan said...

You are not over-reacting. I'm sure the employee goes home at night and bitches constantly about her boss (your friend). I don't feel like I could ever treat people that way, but unfortunately I think you have to in order to get ahead...which your friend seems to have done. I hate how life works.

moosk said...

me, too... this is where i hope karma comes in to level the playing field.