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LifeQuestioner's avatar

What is it about people in authority? Do they like throwing their weight around?

Asked by LifeQuestioner (3727points) April 27th, 2023

And I apologize to all the guys on fluther, but so many times these people are men.

I only work part-time, at 18 hours a week. If I work even a few more hours I will lose my health insurance which is based on my income. Of course my job is not offering to make me full-time and provide health insurance, but once again a new person in an administrative role is expecting me to just stay later.

And this is how the typical boss plays games. Email the employee at 9:00 at night, thinking they won’t read their email until the next morning and they won’t have to continue the conversation until then. So I already have about 3 hours work ahead of me tomorrow and I only work a 4-hour day. And even if I was willing to jeopardize my health insurance, they are calling for very heavy rain all day with the potential for flooding, so no, I don’t want to wait until later in the day to be driving home when all the nut jobs will be coming out in force.

So he emails me and tells me that they want to send two letters out to everyone in the congregation and they want to send them out tomorrow. That’s about 100 letters or so, even assuming that they can be sent out together. Now, keep in mind we haven’t done mass mailings in years. We normally print whatever it is, put one in each envelope, and hand them out on Sunday morning. There may be three or four left for people we aren’t able to catch, and we mail those, but that takes a lot less time because we only have to put the name on each envelope. The way the mail is nowadays, I wouldn’t even rely on things being delivered accurately or on time. And we no longer maintain a database of mailing labels because we just haven’t used that method for years.

But what really gets me is that he doesn’t say to me, any chance you’ll be able to get this done tomorrow? Do you think you can do this tomorrow? He just basically says we have such and such to be done and I know it’s last minute but it’s really important.

Do people in authority think that they can just tell somebody they have to stay later and they’re automatically going to? I went through this with the last guy who was administratively over me and he wasn’t able to bully me either and I’m not going to let this guy do so. Getting the letters ready, even if we’re not mailing them but just handing them out, is going to take more than an hour most likely

How would you handle it? I’m pretty mad right now so forgive me if it sounds like I’m venting.

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23 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Does your boss understand your health insurance situation? Don’t assume he knows or remembers.

If he needs you to stay late one day can you skip coming in another day during the week so you don’t go over in hours?

When covid first hit, people were saying people come into work sick because they need the money. I argued that probably half the people who come to work sick, come because their boss makes them or they fear they will get fired if they don’t come to work.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

@JLeslie I’m expecting to have the conversation about my health insurance tomorrow. He is new in the role and doesn’t know the situation, although it would have been nice if the former guy had filled him in.

I can’t really borrow hours from another day, even in a different week, because this is a very busy time of year and as it is, I have to scramble to get everything done every week. So if I stay later tomorrow, even if I wanted to with the bad weather pending, then I would have that much less time to do the things I need to do next week.

I don’t know what the solution is, but I’m not able or willing to stay later tomorrow. And it will be interesting to see if he even suggests that I just work longer because I now attend the church. If he goes there, then I’m going to be done.

I know right now I’m upset, so I’m probably imagining scenarios that will most likely not happen, but it’s just that the last guy that worked in that role tried to bully me a couple times and I’m not going to go through the same thing again.

snowberry's avatar

I guess you could ask him if he will do the jobs you won’t be able to do if you do this other job for him. Let us know how it goes.

I agree that you need to let him know about your insurance issues,

LifeQuestioner's avatar

@snowberry he wouldn’t even know what to do for the other things I have to do tomorrow, and those are my primary responsibilities, so I’m not going to not fulfill them to finish his project that he decides to let me know about at the last minute.

snowberry's avatar

@LifeQuestioner Probably, but he’ll be hearing that often enough if he continues to act this way.

jca2's avatar

I would say no, I’m not able to stay late and I wish you had told me earlier in the week because then maybe I could have juggled my schedule and worked less hours a previous day. Maybe you don’t want to do that because maybe you don’t want the hours you work and the days you work to be subject to his whim, I don’t know, but if you’re flexible, it could be a way to make it work.

Tell him you’ll do what you can within four hours. This will teach him that he needs to plan better in the future. Maybe he will come up with a creative solution.

You also definitely need to let him know about your health insurance being income based. Maybe they want to increase your hours and offer health insurance, or maybe not but at least he will understand why you don’t have the ability to just put in extra hours whenever he comes up with some new task at the last minute.

@JLeslie I used to say one good thing that came from the pandemic is all of a sudden, when an employee would call in sick to work, there was no argument from the boss, to try to compel the employee to come to work anyway because work had to get done or there was nobody else there to fill in. No more angry attitude from the boss when people were sick. All of a sudden, when you called to work and said “I don’t feel well” the boss just said “ok!”

LifeQuestioner's avatar

@jca2 you might not have read my earlier response, but even if I had known earlier in the week, it wouldn’t have helped to juggle my hours. I have more than enough work to do in 18 hours as it is. So if I had left earlier another day this week, then I would have had all the more stuff to do tomorrow.

I will do what I can tomorrow, but I need to get my regular duties taken care of first. And I will let him know about the health insurance situation, but despite that, a person shouldn’t feel pressured to stay later if they don’t want to. Especially if it’s a part-time position. They don’t want to put out the money to make me full-time and provide health insurance, so they don’t get to decide that I will just stay later on a whim. One major flaw at this place is that everybody does everything last minute because they don’t know how to be organized. I am the kind of person who is very proactive and gets stuff done as much ahead of time as possible in case unexpected things come up. Unfortunately, I’ve had so much work piled on me lately that I’m not ahead at this point. However, if there were no unreasonable expectations for tomorrow, I would have my work done. I have too many health issues to be stressed out this much from a part-time job.

jca2's avatar

Good luck tomorrow, @LifeQuestioner! Stick to your guns!

JLeslie's avatar

The boss doesn’t know, so we can’t be too annoyed. Maybe whatever he wants done can wait a few days or a week to be finished, and you can just get it started for now.

Do you use a mailing list in the computer and just print envelopes or labels? Or, hand write names, or no names and just hand them out?

Forever_Free's avatar

This is not a gender based issue first off. This is an issue of respect for you and other people.

You know what parameters you need to work under. Make sure they are clear again if you need to remind them.

Draw your line and keep it. Disconnect yourself from email until your shift starts as even reading an email in your own personal time is taking away from you. If it is an emergency, they have the responsibility and get paid for that and not you.

I hope you can find peace and respect in this.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

@JLeslie he already stated in his email to me that they want these sent out ASAP. After today I don’t work until Tuesday so I doubt he wants to wait till then. Anyway, Tuesdays are already really hectic and I doubt I have extra time to work on it then.

We haven’t done mass mailings in years because it just wastes too much postage. Plus, people are constantly changing their address and it just becomes too time-consuming to constantly be updating the mailing list. We have been handing them out to people in church on Sunday, which is pretty successful, and ends up producing about three or four letters of people we missed that have to be mailed out, but obviously that’s not as time-consuming.

I did suggest to him that we do that last night but he didn’t sound like he was on board with it, so we’ll see today.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

@Forever_Free I know it’s not a gender issue overall, but one of respect. But it’s been my experience that people that like to lord it over you are generally men.

There’s no issue about me sticking to my guns. I’m going to do that no matter what. And I’ve never answered email after work hours from a sense of obligation. I answer emails when I feel like it and if I feel like an after-hours response would benefit all parties. The other day a church member had an emergency and had broken her hip and wanted the pastor to call. It was my day off but I still texted him to let him know. And to clarify, she called the church office and I was able to access the message from home. I’m not going to be put off from answering things like that just because one or two people want to act like jerks. I genuinely care about the people at the church I work for, but I won’t be taking advantage of either.

jca2's avatar

At work, I used to describe the day like a pie, the pie being the number of work hours in the day. The pie (the number of work hours) doesn’t get bigger. The more tasks that are put in the day, the less hours can be spent on each task, like the more pieces of pie that are cut, each piece gets smaller. So if he wants you to spend hours doing this new task, he has to understand you can’t also do the other tasks. if the other tasks are a priority, then the new task has to wait.

I’d explain to him that there’s no way you can do all of it within your work hours so ask him which he prefers to be the priority and which he wants you to wait on. Once he realizes that throwing new tasks at you doesn’t mean they’re all going to get done, he will start to realize how to look at it.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

@jca2 that’s a great way of thinking about it. And it’s a concept that I have no problem grasping but most people who are in charge of others, seem to think that you can defy the law of physics and just get more done in the same amount of time. I am always striving to think of more efficient ways to do things, but at some point you reach your limit for things you can accomplish in x number of hours.

Forever_Free's avatar

@LifeQuestioner Try to disconnect from the gender and focus on the situation. Else you become biased and may not see the situation happen during other times in your life.

I have worked for many years and for many organizations. I have found that i have the most happiness and respect when I can disconnect fully outside my core hours. I get hundreds of work emails a day. I do not read a single one after I log off.
I respect myself better for being able to enjoy my own time and also focus completely on work during those hours I dedicate to them.

jca2's avatar

Two ideas that I have for the office, if they need more help but don’t want to pay health insurance, is they can hire another part time worker, or they can ask for a volunteer (maybe a high schooler) who can in return, get volunteer hours or community service hours which helps toward college applications, or maybe someone in the congregation wants to volunteer a few hours. The pastor can always put it out there that the church is looking for some office volunteer help.

Good point by @Forever_Free about not looking at work emails when you’re not at work. If it’s going to possibly piss you off, for example like it did because you spent hours Thursday night and now time Friday morning, your own time, thinking about it, it’s not worth it. I remember being emailed when I was on vacation about something my boss wanted me to do when I returned, and it really affected my time away. We used to use our personal emails without thinking twice and it blurred the line between work time and not work time, but it wasn’t good. I know it’s a common issue now with everyone texting and emailing.

JLeslie's avatar

I was a manager for years, at one point I managed 30 people. I also was a business owner employing a small staff. Additionally, I worked as an admin and salesperson.

Some managers suck and the power goes to their head, but mostly that is not the case in my experience. Most managers just have the pressure of deadlines and goals and pass that pressure onto the staff as well.

I always considered my staff a team, and we were all working towards the same goals.

I agree with @jca2 to point blank ask your manager what you should prioritize out of everything that needs to get done when you tell him you can only work 4 more hours this week (or whatever the amount is). I’d rattle off the various tasks you have on your plate, so he knows full well what will likely not get done, or he has to help you with it, or assign to someone else.

Aren’t there volunteers who would help with the letter? It’s church, I would think a few people would volunteer for an hour or two. Especially if it’s the type of work they can talk and do at the same time.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

I don’t answer work emails through my personal email but through the church’s email site. And while I agree in general with people’s comments about having your personal time, I will decide what is best for me and what is important to me as far as responding to emails outside of work.

I don’t think other church members can come in and assist with these duties because apparently it is a sensitive topic that the letter addresses and they wouldn’t want other people to be privy to the letter before everybody else has it in their hands.

It’s a moot point anyway. The guy sent the letter early this morning and I had proofread it and started printing it, when you email me back and asked me not to print it because he had more changes to make. I’m now an hour into my shift with no new letter sent to me, so I’m just sitting here and working on the stuff that has to get done. He says he is coming in about a half an hour and then we’ll see what happens.

jca2's avatar

@LifeQuestioner What members of the congregation or a high schooler might be able to help with, in the future, if the content of the letters is sensitive, is maybe they could print the address labels, put the address labels on the envelopes, put the postage on the envelopes, and update the address list(s). They might also be able to type and print the flyer for the Sunday service and other tasks that are not confidential.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

@jca2 so, in your job, would you be willing to allow high schoolers access to your files and to do the work that is ultimately your responsibility so that you would take the flack if it wasn’t done correctly?

At any rate, and this is to everybody, the guy came in and I guess he thought about the ridiculousness of what he was asking me to do. So I was able to finish my work and then help him with the tail end of things, but he did do a lot of work himself. I also talked him into not mailing them out which shaved a lot of time because then we only needed the names on the envelopes. But I’m glad I set the boundaries early on.

jca2's avatar

@LifeQuestioner In my job, whenever an entry was made in the computer, it would show the person who made the entry so there were no misunderstandings about who did the work.

If it’s an address list and the task is assigned to someone, they could do the work and you or someone else could check it to make sure it’s done right. Then access could be taken away if that makes everyone more comfortable.

Did ou discuss with the boss how your health insurance is income based and that’s why you are not willing to work extra?

LifeQuestioner's avatar

@jca2 we don’t have that kind of setup, and I really don’t want just anybody accessing my files at any rate.

I know, I didn’t have that conversation with him today. It didn’t end up being an issue and I didn’t feel like belaboring the point.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I wouldn’t say it’s gender specific.
Some people are just assholes…

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